Sigh. I really don't want to write this article, but we have too good a case study of contemporary Western foreign policy reporting, debate, and elite attitudes toward international affairs to ignore. Doing a better job here is vital, as this task involves the fate of millions of people, matters of war and peace, the most basic interests of the United States, and the decency of intellectual discourse.
I refer, of course, to Thomas L. Friedman's latest effort: "The Belly Dancing Barometer." (Tens of millions of lives are at stake -- that's worth a flippant title and goofy concept, right?)
Since the start of the 2011 revolution in Tahrir Square, every time the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood faced a choice of whether to behave in an inclusive way or grab more power, true to its Bolshevik tendencies it grabbed more power and sacrificed inclusion. [President] Morsi's power grab will haunt him.
The Brotherhood needs to understand that its version of political Islam -- which is resistant to women's empowerment and religious and political pluralism -- might be sustainable if you are Iran or Saudi Arabia, and you have huge reserves of oil and gas to buy off all the contradictions between your ideology and economic growth. But if you are Egypt, you need to be as open to the world and modernity as possible to unleash all of the potential for growth.
So, let me get this straight.
Friedman is saying that you cannot trust the Brotherhood, as it seeks total power and is anti-democratic.
Hmm: what's Friedman been saying the last two years? Well, he has been an apologist for the Brotherhood, a cheerleader for the course taken by the "Arab Spring," and has constantly insisted that the "democratic" revolution is going well. Indeed, in January 2012 I wrote an analysis of Friedman's coverage titled: "Friedman Cheers as Egyptians are Enslaved."
Now, when it's too late? Friedman is supposedly outraged to see what's going on there.
Now, he concludes that the Egyptian regime is not democratic at all.
However, he draws no conclusions about how U.S. policy should change to adjust for his discovery. Does Friedman now favor -- as he hints in the article -- using real pressure on Egypt if the regime continues to be repressive at home? Will he criticize Obama for not doing so?
If Mursi [I'll stick with my transliteration] has "Bolshevik tendencies," might that not also lead to his doing something nasty to U.S. interests?
It's like identifying a mass murderer, and then asking him "Do you really think you can get away with this without a vast criminal organization behind you?", rather than hollering: "Help! Police! There's a mass murderer over there!"
Our foe is every bit as ruthless as the Gestapo and every bit as devious as the KGB. Like Stalin and Hitler, the thugs who kill in the name of Islam seek to rule the world.
Some of the Irish seem to get it. Our forefathers came to America to escape the tyranny of the Church of England and to practice freedom of religion as outlined in our 1st Amendment. They didn't come here to be subjugated by Islam in the 21st century. The 1st Amendment is not a suicide pact.
If you're gonna use em the way we used Marines on Midway, or at the Chosen Reservoir, then yeah, they'd be handy to have. Sometimes you just run out of warm bodies to throw at an enemy. Men have to leave their jobs, homes, relationships and kids behind when they get drafted, so I really don't see what the difference is.
In the true nature of lowering standards, they're already covering their culpability in drafting Julia's daughter by proposing to end Selective Service.
I've posted before this is the indirect attack to end the 2nd Amendment. Selective Service is the selective activation of the federal militia. Do away with the Militia Act (ie Title X USC, para 311) and the arguement will be advanced that the 'justification' for the 2nd Amendment is mote as the 3rd Amendment.
The problem with 'alternative' service is 'involuntary servitude'. The militia, and thus selective service, is specifically identified as a power under Article I, Section 8, for regulating and organizing. Anything else is not. Of course, the Constitution is just a wad of paper to those now exercising power behind the fig leaf of its existence.
A new, unprecedented study of the demographics of terrorists reveals that America's enemies are not coming from a distant land with foreign beliefs, but are created within a U.S. society that makes them prime targets for al Qaeda recruitment.
More than half of the convicted terrorists studied in "Al Qaeda in the United States" were college educated, 57 percent were employed or in school, almost half received terrorist training, and four out of five were U.S. residents. The data within the report is not new, but marks the first time it has been compiled to reveal terrorist trends, says former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, who authored the report's foreword.
The study, released Tuesday through the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was conducted through the London-based think tank The Henry Jackson Society, and repeats a similar analysis performed for the British government.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
Rob, when all you've got is a hammer everything looks like a nail. They found that it has nothing to do with a particular religion or the communities (the ummah) of mosques. So nothing to see here, just some alienated yuffs, move along. Islamic terrorism has more to do with social alienation, a propensity for crime, and gang culture than any one religion, Hayden said.
"This isn't about communities. It's not about large monotheistic religious groups," said Hayden. "It's about individuals who, for one reason or another in a small group, are attracted to the symbol of 9/11 rather than repelled."
Over the past six years, few weeks have gone by in which analysts could say "Everything went well with the F-35 program." The latest problems involve concerns about aircraft performance,amidst claims by foreign pilots that currently operational competitors (such as the Eurofighter Typhoon) can easily outclass the Lightning II. The same concerns obviously arise in context of comparison between the F-35 and the latest Russian and Chinese fighter aircraft.
F-35 advocates are quick to make the (appropriate) point that future aerial combat is unlikely to require the kind of capabilities that the F-35 lacks. Rather than nifty dogfighting skills, the fighter of the future needs to operate in a networked environment, capable of seeing, talking, and killing at standoff range. Advocates expect that the F-35 will fight under rules of engagement that allow Beyond Visual Range (BVR) engagement, and that advanced, networked sensor capabilities will solve the problems normally associated with BVR (the threat of shooting down civilian aircraft) by effectively eliminating the fog of war.
This is a genuinely fascinating, even compelling, vision of future aerial warfare. On its own terms it makes sense, not so much answering as bypassing the common critiques of the aircraft.
However, this vision has the potential to founder on two political realities. The first is that if, as advocates say, the capabilities of the F-35 metastasize (in terms of sensor reach and communications capability) as the fleet grows, the great cost of the aircraft runs the risk of reducing the numbers below a floor sufficient for carrying out this grand vision. This is especially true of U.S. partner nations, which will fly much smaller fleets of aircraft.
Perhaps more importantly, rules of engagement are inherently political. Civilian leaders, and their politically attuned senior military counterparts, will draw up guidelines for combat in context of political, not military, necessity. If the F-35 can only operate successfully in BVR context (and to be sure the networking capability of the F-35 make "BVR" a different proposition than with past aircraft), and if the civilians restrict the ability of the aircraft to operate under such conditions, then the utility of the fighter comes into grave question. This question is hardly academic, as potential peer competitors of the U.S. (including Russia and China) will undoubtedly take political steps to limit the ability of the F-35 to fight at full capability. Again, this may be even more true of the partner countries in the F-35 program, which often suffer from more rigorous political restrictions that U.S. forces.
The larger problem is that none of today's major players have serious experience with fighting high end aerial combat against an advanced peer competitor. Most sophisticated air forces have invested heavily in experimental learning, in the form of Red Flag and its various clones around the world. These efforts place air forces light years ahead of their 1960s counterparts, which found (in the case of the United States in Vietnam) that actual air combat bore little resemblance either to earlier wars or to extant theoretical studies. Nevertheless, even the best experimental learning settings cannot replace experiential learning; combat in real war conditions, beset by all of the political baggage that necessarily afflicts military operations. Investing in an aircraft that can only maximize its potential in a particular, unusual political environment carries serious risk, and at the very least operators need to work out the implications of operations across the spectrum of political commitments.
I'd appreciate it if someone knowledgable about these things would explain why we have to buy the F-35 as opposed to an upgraded (for example) F-18E. What makes the F-35 worth it, particularly if Mr. Farley is right about BVR?
we badly need an updated fighter, this is the worst design they coulld build, everything including the kitchen sink's included, and not needed.
Far better to build a series of SPECIFIC fighters, Each are designed for a job, not the Pickup-Sports Car, Four wheel-and fancy crap added this is.
You want a plane designed for the job, not an aircraft carrier-ubmarine, speed corvette with Battleship Guns.
Knock it off.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
we have several missions that are supposed to be served, e.g. recon, air to air and air to ground and several take off and landing modes, e.g., vertical, short (aircraft carrier) and conventional and, of course, it is to be used by the Navy, AF and Marines
if all these could have really been done, the manufacturing could have really benefited from economy of scale
Posted by: lord garth ||
In the situation Farley invents for an F-18E would probably be run out of fuel by a land-based Su-30.
Personally, I think this is a lemon. We need to cancel it and start over.
Then in fifteen years we'll have a successful airplane rather like the F-35 is now, more or less, but it'll be portrayed as a failure, more or less like the F-35 is, and on the verge of production we can bitch and moan and cancel _it_ as well... disarmament by bureaucracy.
They're running the LRIP run like they're trying to run out the clock without producing anything.
The F-35 was originally supposed to be a stealthy version of the F-16/F-18 and to compliment the F-22. As in F-22 kills things high and the F-35 kills things low. As originally designed, it was a very good idea.
Mission creep, being designed by committee and multiple nations, too many engineers and not enough riveters, etc. have doomed this project. It will still get built, there are too many nations and too many political futures on the line here, but this has become the example of how NOT to build an fighter.
It will get the job done, but for a shorter time frame, not as expected capabilities and far more expensive price than planned.
The next stealth fighter will be unmanned and will be much, much, much, much better at its job and a hell of a lot cheaper.
The F35 was not designed to be a primary air superiority fighter. That's the F22's job. The F35 was stealthy in order to use limited munitions--because they were carried internally to reduce radar signature--to destroy the enemy's IADS. Once that had been accomplished and stealth was no longer necessary to spoof IADS, it could use larger, externally-carried munition loads to attack ground targets.
The last ground attack aircraft that could do both well was the P36, a P51 with airbrakes on the wings. Used as a dive bomber. But if necessary, it could dump its load and become...voila, a Mustang with all the P51's advantages. Or to put it another way, the last fighter that could do both well was the P51.
So the question is, I suppose, if the F35 has to duke it out with enemy fighters because something murphied and the F22 cover isn't around, are they reasonably survivable? IOW, are they stealthy enough to get away? Or at least present a threat the bad guy has to honor.
Keep in mind that, with the exception of Russia and China, our potential enemies can afford a pretty good IADS long before they can afford state-of-the-art air superiority fighters.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey ||
The good news is that the Chinese have stolen all the plans and are building the J-35. It will bankrupt them.
The design scope creep on the F35 is the same BS that made a hash of the F-111, trying to build a multi mission advanced supersonic fighter and they wound up with a very fast and expensive bomber (where most of the development money was spent trying to get the damned thing carrier landing capable...oh it still has the arresting gear hook but you can't get the thing to land on a carrier in one piece)
This BVR bull crap is the small technobabble that resulted in an entire generation of AF fighters that had nothing but missiles for armament. Funny you put a freaking PILOT in the damned things and they want to FREAKING CLOSE with the enemy. So they retrofitted everything with a GUN so when the missiles were gone and every one got inside the stupid assed BVR to dogfight they had something to fight with instead of having to throw a flashlight at a MIG.
Funny the entire concept of the VTOL is intriguing. Having an aircraft that did not need a runway because the other side blasted your runway to smithereens is a good idea. Of course that adds a lot of weight to the airframe but it does mean you don't need a freaking nuke carrier to field a squadron of fighters, anything with a large enough flat surface would work...beats the old float plane concept.
Anyway, BVR is BS, we have had the stupid AMRAM missile for years...the F-14 was the first aircraft designed around a missile concept....and I seriously doubt if its 50-100 mile range has been used more than once.
To show how crazy our stuff is, the Israeli AF used F-14's as AWACs to vector their F-16's and other stuff to the target.
When are they going to talk to pilots instead of fighter wannabees with stripes and technogeeks playing video games on flight simulators.
BVR is an old idea and its been a pox on our fighter development since the 50's. You don't see Russian fighters with no guns and lots of gizmos...a Russian platform is designed to fight and KILL...I don't know what ours are designed for anymore.
Posted by: Bill Clinton ||
Capabilities metastasize? Experiental learning? Advanced peer competitor? China dictating ROE capability? He writes like an F-35.
Corsair did well in air/ground, at least until the jets showed up.
Didn't they figure a way to rig F-14s for ground support?
I think we have already landed our unmanned stealth vehicle in Iran. And just joshing here, but if this turkey don't fly it is next unmanned stealth fighter ;)
What was wrong with the F-22 again, I forget? I seem to remember some oxygen system issues - you know, when it was up flying and winning spars against aces 1:5.
The Corsair was not a dive bomber with the dive bomber's accuracy. Still, if you have a couple of deckloads off shore and can turn them around fast, they'll do fine. The same is true of any fighter,they can use guns and rockets effectively, but bombing means flying at the target and, sometime after it disappears under the nose, you drop the bomb. Better than nothing.
But they are fighters jury-rigged to bomb. The P36 stands as the best dual role ever.
Problem with the F14's gun, and probably others, is that it is oriented to shoot above the direction of the aircraft to allow for bullet drop. The A10, which has a different role, has its gun oriented below the direction of flight so it can strafe without aiming itself at the ground.
There was an F14 driver in Iraq who got so target-involved that his dive was too sharp which it had to be because of the orientation of the gun. His pullout stressed the aircraft so that he had to land on a strip rather than a deck.
Mixing the two roles gives you flexibility, but it removes the capability to be absolutely fantastic at one thing--like the A10. Which could carry a Sidewinder, I suppose, and if necessary point itself at an air threat and let the missile tell him when to shoot. I heard, couldn't corroborate, that even C130s flying from the UK to the Falklands during the Falklands war had Sidewinders hung on. If you fire one off, the other guy might be in the missile's envelope, or at least he'll have do dodge, which might give you some time. Fighters flying over the South Atlantic couldn't afford to burn a lot of fuel not in the flight plan. Water's pretty damn' cold and the Argies couldn't count on refueling.
If the other side doesn't have much air-to-air capability, you can bomb up your fighters and keep going back until you get the target or the democrats decide to lose the war, whichever comes first.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey ||
The F-22 still costs three times as much as the F-35 today; that's why we drew the line at building more of them.
As I understand it, the Air Force had a guiding principle from the early 70s on: they'd have one high priced plane to achieve air superiority and one modestly priced plane to do everything else. That combo was the F-15/F-16 and it worked. Even as the AF adapted each to different roles it was clear that the 15 would rule the skies and the 16 would do the grunt work.
Now for the new generation that was to be the same: we'd have some F-22s to clear the air (not as many as the AF would like but enough) and some F-35s to do everything else -- cheap (comparatively) and capable enough.
That would work, too, if only the AF was the only US customer. But then you add the demand for carrier landings, and the demand by the Marines for VTOL, and the demands of our various allies for whatever they want (mostly cheap, cheap and cheaper), and you can see how this happened.
So I continue to wonder if the right thing to do is this:
1) cancel the F-35
2) build a few more F-22s
3) the Air Force gets F-22s to rule and F-18E (next gen) to do the grunt work (alternately, new, upgraded F-16s), and keep the A-10s for moving mud
4) the Navy gets more Lawn Darts, like it or not, and they get cracking on the X-47 project for naval carrier combat UAVs
5) the Marines get leftovers; they've proven that they do really, really well with cast-off equipment (Harriers, F-16s, etc)
6) sell F-22Js to Japan and a few F-22Is to Israel
7) sell upgraded F-18E (next gen) to everyone else in NATO, Australia, etc
8) sell modest F-16s to allies of convenience like Egypt, etc
It just strikes me that the F-35 is the proverbial camel that was a horse designed by a committee.
Posted by: Steve White ||
swksvolFF, it wasn't a problem with the F-22's oxygen system, it was a problem with the O2 valve on the G-suit.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
Pretty much everything you are reading today about the F-35A is a repeat of what you read in the 80's about the F-18A.
Now the F-18E/F/G are the standard to be measured against.
All the "news" about the F-35 is par for the course of usual Pentagon budget infighting. "If this thing is cancelled think out much money would be available for our program."
Until the F-35 kills more of it users than the V-22 there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, to pay attention to in any of these stories.
Spent 1000+ hours in the backseat of one of the earlier versions of the BVR fighters. Of course it had morphed into an all purpose, do everything adequately but nothing well, fighter-bomber. Loved boresighting the centerline 'add/on' gun by kicking it into alignment between missions. Iron bombing was great and gave us tons of flight time going back to hit the same (undamaged) target over and over again. When we got laser guided munitions, the 'add/on' laser illuminator was stuck on the right side of the rear cockpit. I figured if I ever ejected it would be assumed I would become a left hander. The naval surveillance option was fun holding a four pound Nikon with a 200mm lens while pulling a three g turn around the target. Still have some of those blurred shots at home. Oh, at least the nuclear option seemed realistic, the CEP was very forgiving.
The F-4 was a great plane to fly in, loud and powerful. Just an abused weapon system that reminds me of the F-35. When the first Lighting II pilot gets tapped by an aspiring enemy fighter jock, the fact that it was meant to be a 'standoff' weapons platform will be of little consolation to the pilot as he is coming down in his chute.
Posted by: Total War ||
Y'all beat me to a lot of the points; the F4 was supposed to be a fighter w/out guns. that didn't work out so well. The A36/P51 was a great bird that we almost didn't buy. The F-14 Bombcat was a pretty good air to ground bird, but only had room for 4 bombs, so utility was limited. A-7 was a good light attack bird, both for bombs and guns. F-16 pretty good light attack/fighter, Intruder great truck for taking bombs downtown in any wx, but they all lost out to the glitz of newer bigger one size fits most. A10 is probably the best friend a grunt ever had and the USAF parked them until the cry was too loud to ignore. Even a Spad would be good down low and slow.
(Spoiler alert for Dr. Steve) I 'd even take any of the Lawn Dart variants over the F-35.
And, the manufacturing tolerances to get this thing together have driven costs out of sight; holes to 0.004", any deviation requires a full blown LM MRB review ( a bunch of engineers look around to see ifthe parts are useable) industry standard is 0.030, with line workers allowed to match drill skin panels to frames... not as JIT or Lean cool, but cheaper by a factor of 10, easily, ant the STOL lift fan is going to be a maintenance nightmare. can you imagine the FOD damage in the forward deployed arena, that big fan kicking up rocks and then sucking them in.... and don't forget about 6 months ago or so the tailhool was discovered to be too short on one end. makes you wonder just who is in charge.
at least they canceled the Dorito after spending ONLY 5 Billion dollars......
and nobody mentioned the AV-8, another CAS superstar...