December 15, 2002
My Favorites are CV-6 & CVN-65...

Rachel Lucas, who has readers I would love to bundle up, steal, and join you guys, brings us this representative sample of what Victor Davis Hanson is all about. He's talking about aircraft carriers in this essay, but Carnage and Culture (see lower-right) is just like this. A damned fine academic who is actually proud to be an American.

It took me a long time to realize how special, subtle, and unbelievably powerful our navy is. Here's one fact that brought it home to me:

The "big" aircraft carrier, perhaps defined simply as a ship which allows at least 50 conventional aircraft to operate from its deck, is an invention not much more than sixty years old. Without question, it is by far the most effective method of conventional power projection in any navy's arsenal. In all the world, in all of history, only five nations have ever fielded them. Of those five, only three operate them today. Of those three nations, the second-most numerous operator is Great Britain, with three.

The first-most numerous operates twelve. Three guesses as to who that nation is, and the first two don't count.

It must totally infuriate tinpots abroad and socialists at home that, in actual fact, it doesn't really matter if you give the United States access to your airspace or airbases. It doesn't matter if you manage to browbeat your neighbors into denying the United States the same. It doesn't even matter if you manage to stand in your minaret and foment the ignorant street into making it too expensive for us to use bases your own government has allowed us to use.

Because in less than two weeks we can park our own goddamned airfield off your coast, and operate seventy aircraft of such sophistication and performance you can only hope to knock down one or two if you're lucky. If you piss us off enough, we'll bring two or three more. They'll be able to stay out there until we get what we want because we have ten more where those came from

And there's not a goddamned thing you can do about it.

Posted by scott at December 15, 2002 07:23 PM

eMail this entry!

Damfine article.

I saw one of those ships pull into dock once. I was pretty sure if they bumped the anything, the island I was on would have moved. Those things are impressive.

I'm glad they're on our side!

Posted by: Kathy K on December 15, 2002 08:58 PM

I know people that have been on those "floating cities". Six months of 12 on and 12 off, sharing a bed in shifts, constant readiness, missing wives/husbands and kids, and limited outside contact; yeah, I'd say we owe them all a thanks.
It's a tough job, but their doing it; and we should all do our part here at home too.
Could you image how much more manpower and time could be spent keeping America safe if ALL Americans wanted to be kept safe (and I'm referring to the criminals). But that's a whole other issue in itself.

Posted by: Cindy on December 16, 2002 12:15 AM

One of my friend's son served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, primary carrier during the Afgan war. He worked on the flight deck, a 21 year old kid responsible for landing those multi million dollar planes. That is scary stuff. I am certainly glad I am on the right side!!

Posted by: Pat on December 16, 2002 01:00 AM

no posts so far for the 16th? you guys are slow.

Posted by: nina on December 16, 2002 11:37 AM

Aircraft carriers are extremely impressive.... I was going to put this up here, but it's far too long for a comment, so I'll make it into a post.

Posted by: Jim S on December 16, 2002 12:04 PM

here's the link: Aircraft Carriers.

Posted by: Jim S on December 16, 2002 01:03 PM

Hrm, this entry disturbed me for some reason. Just because you can blow countries up doesn't mean you should. Maybe that was it. Maybe not.

Posted by: Pam on December 16, 2002 02:34 PM

Historically the United States has in fact not blown countries up when we could. However, there are lots of other states who have quite a long and storied tradition of blowing everything up whenever they could. The aircraft carrier is a prime tool in preventing such countries and peoples from running amok

Posted by: scott on December 16, 2002 02:50 PM

I did four years on the USS America CV-66. I think at one time we had even more carriers...

Posted by: Dave on December 17, 2002 01:39 PM

Interesting post. I would add that anyone who wants to see what Hanson is all about would do well also to read "The Western Way of War" and "The Other Greeks." The former deals with ancient Greek infantry battle and its cultural underpinnings, while the latter deals with the agrarian roots of ancient Greek society including (but not limited to) its fighting methods. In the latter in particular, Hanson draws upon his experience as a farmer in central California to illustrate his arguments.

Posted by: David on December 17, 2002 11:09 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?