7:16 AM, Aug 26, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
For several years now, PolitiFact has been waging war on anyone who points out that America has the smallest Navy it's had in nearly a century. Mitt Romney pointed out this fact in a presidential debate in 2012 and PolitiFact rated his statement "pants on fire" even though the number of ships in the U.S. Navy dropped below 300 in 2003 and the last time the U.S. Navy had fewer than 300 ships was 1916. It would seem Romney got his facts from no less an authoritative source than the secretary of the navy, who said a few years back, "We have 288 today in the battle fleet: the lowest number since 1916, which – during that time, the intervening years, our responsibilities have grown somewhat."
And yet, PolitiFact called Romney's statement "pants on fire" despite the fact that the very military historian PolitiFact consulted to verify Romney's statement was appalled at their ruling:
I did think [Politifact deputy editor Lou Jacobson's] questions to me were leading. Remember, Mr. Jacobson asked "(2) What context does this ignore (changing/more lethal technology, changed geopolitical needs, etc)?," which both assumes and implies to the interviewees that Romney ignored those specific contexts.
In his final few paragraphs, Jacobson refers to Romney's statements as "meaningless," "glib," "preposterous," and "ridiculous." To be frank, I'm a little surprised by that wording, especially in writing for a site that strives for objectivity.
Politico called PolitiFact's ruling here an "epic fail." And yet, both FactCheck.org and the Washington Post fact checker also claimed Romney's statement was dishonest. While there's a certainly a debate to be had about how relevant the number of ships is relative to the capabilities of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, it's also true that the threats and responsibilities for protecting commercial shipping lanes have grown considerably in the modern era as well. Flatly declaring this statement false under the rubric that media fact checkers somehow know more about the Navy's capabilities and readiness than the secretary of the navy, who clearly thinks the diminished number of ships is a problem, is incredibly arrogant and misleading.
Apparently not sufficently humbled by his previous "epic fail," just a few weeks ago Lou Jacobson wrote another article for the PolitiFact -- "Anatomy of a talking point: the smallest Navy since 1917" -- that rehashes the same tired and unconvincing arguments. This prompted a lengthy twitter rebuke from John Noonan, a consultant to Jeb Bush's campaign and defense expert:
9:24 AM, Jul 31, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Army and the Navy cannot do what they once could and might soon be required to do again. They don’t have enough soldiers and enough ships.
U.S. says report is false.10:51 AM, Apr 28, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Iranian organ Farsnews claims that Iran has seized a U.S. ship. Thirty-four are on board, the outlet claims. Fars claims:
The Iranian Navy has confiscated the American trade vessel with all its 34 crew for trespassing on Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
3:40 PM, Mar 23, 2015 • By SETH CROPSEY
In the middle of March, the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard published a revised version of their 2007 paper, A Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century. The 2007 edition reflected the strong influence of 9/11, U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the global campaign against Islamist jihadis. It suggested broadening the reach of U.S.
Dec 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 15 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook was thrilled to learn that the U.S. Navy finally has a fully operational laser—and, no, not the kind we’ve been using for years with guidance systems, but rather an actual laser weapon.
3:25 PM, Nov 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, is denied access to classified material because, as David Lartner of Navy Times reports, he:
2:06 PM, Oct 22, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Chinese want a modern and formidable blue-water Navy. Hard to be a serious global player without one. Equally difficult, it seems, to create one. Especially the aviation component, where the United State has no equals and, in fact, no other nation even comes close.
9:04 AM, Oct 18, 2014 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
The brief military career of 44-year-old Hunter Biden, Vice President Joseph Biden's younger son, seems to have ended after one month in the naval reserve. Biden is reported to have tested positive for cocaine use, and was immediately discharged. It was "the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy," he has said in a statement, "and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge."
The misbegotten plan to shrink the U.S. submarine fleet. Oct 6, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 04 • By SETH CROPSEY
The U.S. Navy’s latest shipbuilding plan would see its attack submarine fleet diminish from 55 to 41 boats in the next decade and a half. That decision, confirmed in August, was eclipsed by the advance of ISIL, war in Gaza, and sedition in Ukraine. But the Navy’s announcement—the single-largest strategic consequence of this administration’s defense cuts—has the most far-reaching ramifications of the summer’s events.
7:31 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The U.S. Navy released this video of airstrikes being launched against ISIS in Syria:
"The U.S. Navy released video early Tuesday of missile launches from sea toward Islamic State militant group targets in Syria," reads the Associated Press's description.
Sharing carrier secrets is a bad idea. Sep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By STEVE COHEN
The Obama administration very much wants a diplomatic success somewhere in the world. So when the president orders the head of the U.S. Navy to meet with his Chinese counterpart and find areas of cooperation, it is neither surprising nor inappropriate. But the possibility that the Chinese Navy will gain real insight into how our aircraft carriers operate is worrying our Pacific allies and could compromise our security.
8:03 AM, Apr 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The first question that national security types, including the president, supposedly ask in an international crisis is, “Where are the carriers?” Soon, that opening line will be rephrased to something like, “Where are the … oh, never mind.”