How do you explain to the thousands of American troops now being poured into Baghdad that they will have to wait until the summer for the protective armor that could easily mean the difference between life and death?David Seaton's News Links
Editorial - New York Times - 2006/2/15
To answer the above question from today's New York Times editorial, I suggest reading an article William Pfaff wrote nearly a year ago, excerpted below. It is entitled "Making Things", but it could be entitled, "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire".
Decadence is not just a bunch of shagged out Romans peeling grapes. It sometimes takes historians centuries to figure out all the factors that cause a powerful society to crumble. Losing the ability to do what made you powerful in the first place is one of the most common causes.
I'm sure you'll agree that decadence is a fascinating subject, but I'm sure you'll also agree that it sure as hell reads a lot better than it plays. DS
On the Ability to Make Things - William Pfaff - 2006/3/8
Abstract: Troops continue to complain that while available body armor may be adequate to protect against shrapnel it provides insufficient protection against the growing threat of snipers using rifles with optical sights and high-velocity ammunition aimed at the separations between armor plates in the existing American jackets.
Surely these should be trivial and quickly remedied problems for the most powerful military machine on earth? In 1940, as the second world war began in Europe, the United States Army consisted of 268 thousand men and women. The United States then had some 40% (132 million) of the population it has today. A year later, in 1941, the military draft was in place and training began for a projected force of two million soldiers. Then came Pearl Harbor. Four years later – just one year longer than the United States has already been in Iraq -- the army had eight million men under arms, with more than six million more serving in the navy, Marine Corps, and Army Air Force, all fully equipped. Tens of thousands of aircraft and tanks had been manufactured, thousands of ships, millions of weapons.
In October 1941, four months after Hitler invaded Russia, Franklin Roosevelt wrote to Joseph Stalin to promise to supply some 67 war-essential goods to Russia. This, he added, was just the start. He promised that the U.S. would immediately ship to Russia 5,600 military trucks, and in every subsequent month would ship 10 thousand more trucks. It would send one thousand tons of armor-plate monthly, 10 thousand tons of TNT monthly, and each month supply the Soviet army with 200 thousand pairs of army boots. The other items promised included aircraft and other kinds of vehicles. The United States armed and made mobile the Russian army while doing the same for itself. READ IT ALL