People Need To Settle Down
I wasn't surprised this weekend when a meme spread through the "progressive" side of the 'net that resurrected the "we're about to attack Iran with the Eisenhower and Enterprise Strike Groups" pre-election scare. This seemed to get a new jump-start from an article by former Gary Hart military advisor William Lind saying that:
Sources indicate increasing indications of 'something big' happening between the Nov. 7 congressional election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.This was coupled with an article by someone named Dr. Elias Alkeh that said:
The US and NATO countries had amassed the largest military armada in the Middle East. The US armada consists of Carrier Strike Group 12 led by nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Eisenhower Strike Group – another nuclear powered aircraft carrier with accompanied military vessels and submarines, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 with multiple attack vessels led by aircraft carrier USS Boxer, the Iowa Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, and the US Coast Guard. Canada has sent its anti-submarine HMCS Ottawa frigate to join the American Armada in the Persian Gulf. On October 1st the USS Enterprise Striking Group had crossed the Suez Canal to Join NATO armada at the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.Emphasis mine. As usual, the moonbats had no clue about how normal military deployments actually work, and decided that a routine Strike and Expeditionary Strike Group relief indicated that we were about to attack Iran. Interestingly, the wailing and gnashing of teeth continued throughout the 'net throughout the weekend, despite the fact that the Enterprise pulled back into her homeport of Norfolk on Saturday.
I'm not surprised that the tin-foil hat crowd continued to bray about the issue without regard to the facts, but I'm kind of surprised that the very respected Hugh Hewitt asked about the "four carriers in the Gulf" reports, and as of this posting, none of his commenters had mentioned that the Enterprise had come home.
For those who were still wondering -- no, we're not about to attack Iran. If we were, there would be warning signs that people experienced with the military would recognize. I'm not seeing any of them.
Somewhat off topic, the aforementioned William Lind used to be fairly influential before his tinfoil hat cut off circulation to his brain; I remember him addressing the NROTC unit at the University of Kansas when I was there back in the mid-80s. Back then, he talked about how we needed to switch from nuclear subs to diesel ones. He's still pushing that point (using the recent Kitty Hawk v. Chinese Song-class sub encounter as a goad) in an article he put out today. In it, he says:
Another lesson is that diesel-electric subs can be as effective or more effective than nuclear boats in same situations. The U.S. Navy hates the very idea of non-nuclear submarines and therefore pretends they don't count for much. You can buy four to eight modern diesel-electric submarines for the cost of a single American "U-cruiser" nuke boat.Normally, I'd feel the need to argue against his thesis, but based on his demonstrated idiocy discussed above, I don't feel it's necessary. If you have the desire to either agree or disagree with him, though, feel free to start a discussion in the comments.
At this point, the Chinese sub's successful interception of our carrier does raise an interesting question: how was that sub in the right position to make an interception? What a nuclear submarine can do but a diesel-electric sub cannot is undertake along, high-speed chase. Was it just dumb luck the Chinese sub was were we were in effect ran into it? Or were the Chinese able to coordinate the sub's movement over time with successful tracking of our carrier battle group? If the latter is the case, the Chinese Navy may be starting to become a real navy instead of just a collection of ships. That transformation is far more important than whether China has this or that piece of equipment. It won't happen fast, but it bears watching.
Or does it? The somewhat regrettable message from the world of real war, Fourth Generation war, is that deep-water battles or prospective battles between navies means little if anything. Speculating about the balance between U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and Chinese submarines is like wondering what would happen at Trafalgar if the French Admiral Villeneuve's van had responded immediately to his signal to wear and support the center of the Allies' line, or Admiral Gravina had led his Squadron of Observation straight for the British Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's column. It's fun to think about -- personally, I enjoyed it immensely -- but c'est ne pas la guerre: It isn't war. Control of coastal and inland waters may play highly important roles in Fourth Generation war, but deep water naval battles like the Glorious First of June, if they occur, will be jousting contests, with broomsticks. In real war, the U.S. Coast Guard may be more useful than the U.S. Navy.
That is the real lesson of the Chinese sub incident: the U.S. Navy, like the U.S. Air Force, without a torpedo fired or a single dogfight, is on its way to Davy Jones's Locker through sheer intellectual inanition. Preparing endlessly for another carrier war in the Pacific against the Imperial Japanese navy, it has become a historical artifact.
Update 2305 21 Nov: For those who like to get ahead of the game, here's the next thing the moonbats will be holding up as "proof" we're about to attack Iran:
Stennis, Reagan Strike Groups Join Forces, Make Carrier Task Force
Here's what they'll say: Two carriers never work together! The John C. Stennis is about to deploy, even though they just finished an overhaul last year! Bush is a warmonger! It's all Israel's fault! (Actually, they say that last one about any news item.)