US Littoral Combat Ships a Figurative Disaster

When a branch of the US military starts rolling out a new pet project, it is rarely either cost effective or literally effective. The US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) program is really underscoring that recently, with more ships breaking at seemingly random, meaning four nearly brand new ships have broken down in less than a year.

Just yesterday, the Navy discussed problems with its first LCS, the USS Freedom, which inexplicably was put out of commission back in July when seawater got into the engine and the oil system and started rusting things out. Limping back to home port, the USS Freedom now needs an engine replaced outright, with no timetable for the fix, or the cost.

Today, officials reported the USS Coronado, which only got commissioned back in 2014, has suffered an unspecified “engine casualty” and is struggling back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. It had just left Pearl Harbor on Friday.

That makes four LCS ships that have broken down in the past year, which is a pretty disastrous track record considering that even the oldest ship, the USS Freedom, was commissioned in late 2008, and the US only had a total of six active duty LCS ships in total.

The LCS is a product of the US Navy’s efforts, in the wake of the Cold War, to shift its priorities away from having more large capital ships than the Soviet Union toward just having a lot of stuff that floats about in the water, so they could have a nominal presence more or less anywhere.

The idea was that the LCS would be a low-cost, reliable ship for limited missions around coastlines, but the reality is that upkeep on the ships has been dramatically higher than initial estimates, and an LCS ends up costing more than a larger, and more combat-ready ship like a frigate.

Still, with several billion dollars sunk into the plan and the Navy’s priorities still squarely on quantity over quality, the LCS fleet is being constructed in earnest, even as the few already completed stumble back into the docks, because they didn’t do so great on the reliability front either.

 

 

 

Kaepernick Almost Scores a TD

When I heard about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem, I jumped up and started cheering him on as if he were running for a game-winning touchdown.

Finally, someone in the public spotlight was taking a significant stand on behalf of people of color in the United States. I was pumping my fist when he said, "I have to stand up for people that are oppressed."

But I got a pit in my stomach when I heard a reporter ask Kaepernick if his refusal to stand for the national anthem was disrespectful to the U.S. military.

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Is There a Turkish-Russian Alliance: Why Should We Care?

Are alliance sands shifting in the Middle East? Is post-coup attempt Turkey turning increasingly to Russia and away from the US on the Syria issue? It all may be true but we went down the wrong path back in 2011 when Obama announced that “Assad must go” and dedicated the US to his overthrow. We may not be able to correct the mistakes that have been made, but the only solution to not make things worse is to just come home. Get out of the Middle East. No more regime change. Non-intervention. More today in the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Ron Paul on The USS Gerald Ford – A $13 Billion Boondoggle?

What is $3 billion over budget, two years overdue, and not combat ready? The new USS Gerald Ford “super” aircraft carrier! As the Pentagon together with the military-industrial complex try to justify a trillion dollars in military spending, however, conflicts must be ginned up around the world. That is one reason for the increasingly hostile position of the US against Russia and China. It justifies boondoggles like the USS Gerald Ford. It also essentially pushes Russia and China into each other’s arms and may be making a nuclear war more likely in the future. Is it really worth it just to keep Beltway defense contractors in the money? More on the 13 billion dollar boondoggle and the policies that ensure many more to come in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

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Jon Utley’s Trip Report: Some Hopeful Signs from Belarus

We often think of Belarus as being an authoritarian dictatorship. And it is. But there is some good news. Jon Basil Utley, associate publisher of The American Conservative, recently returned from Belarus and reports on some positive signs. While the government still owns and runs a large segment of the economy, Belarus ranks twelfth in the world for the ease of starting a business. Austria, by contrast, ranks a dismal 106th. And while President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has a bad habit of jailing political opponents, they tend to be released quickly.

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