Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

First, responding to the previous post: Have you noticed that the Navy is down to about 40 percent of its peak under Reagan? The Army shrank, too, which is why we have this misuse of the National Guard and Reserves!

The biggest problem with funding on today's major new weapons systems is that they take up to fifteen years to actually produce. In WWII, such end-of-conflict items as the jet plane and the atomic bomb were both on the drawing boards by 1936, and actually used only nine years later.

So, in voting against a new item, you have to be guessing at the geopolitical sitution and needs of at least twenty years or more in the future. Even the time that it takes to produce the next generation of older systems carries a risk with that kind of delay.

Example: when the Kaiser was newly defeated, you would need to have something in progress to defeat Hitler and Tojo, who had yet to become significant.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jun 18 2008 - 3:45am

Web Letter

The only beef I have with this article is the notion that tax receipts are a finite or fixed pool of funds. It's relatively easy to so restrict the flow of nutrients to a plant that you produce a bonsai tree many times smaller than its natural parents. The same process can be applied to an economy, and by the same restrictive procedures drastiacally reduce the size of the result. But which one would you want to harvest from (which is, analogically speaking, what taxation represents)?

The idea that there are a fixed, finite set of resources in the world is a very perniciously dangerous--and totally wrong--conception. Resources are not things that occur absent any human presence. Without a man to devise an engine that burns petrol, crude oil is simply a mildly interesting form of mud. Without a man to devise a nuclear power plant, uranium is just another rock. Thus, nothing becomes a resource without the presence, and liberated ingenuity, of man.

Therefore, the most precious resource on this benighted planet is the mind of man. Ironically, it is the strangulation of this resource, and its pernicious consequences, that your article addresses. Please do not concede ground to our ideological enemies by conceding to their perverse premise that any resource is fixed and finite--and therefore must be fought over.

Denver Fletcher

Freiburg, Germany

Jun 16 2008 - 9:39pm

Web Letter

When the Soviet Union collapsed we were promised significant cuts in military spending. Thanks to Bill Clinton and Dubya, nothing happened. Why should it happen now? Don't believe it.

As Bertolt Brecht wrote in <>The Three-Penny Opera, the army is always re-forming (not reforming).

Norman Ravitch

Savannah, GA

Jun 13 2008 - 6:12pm