Trost’s column brought to mind a quotation of Albert Einstein: “You cannot simultaneously prevent war and prepare for war.” At the same time that our State Department is charged with reduction of arms, we find that the military-industrial complex is working to prepare for war.
I realize that the Navy brass feels an obligation to keep their Annapolis graduates supplied with command positions, however, Trost’s arguments contain some statements which shake me to the core. In case it colors my opinions, I should say that I flew 35 bombing missions in World War II, received the Air Medal with four clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Trost is defending the need for 15-carrier battle groups as he says: “For our Navy to meet its global peacetime requirements at a prudent level of risk to our country, 15 is the minimum number we can deploy.” This sounds as if the United States has been designated as the police force and protector of civilization.
Suggesting the danger from the Soviet Union, Trost says, “The growing Soviet navy is clearly offense-oriented with global reach.” Just what distorted logic makes the Soviet navy offensive and the U.S. Navy defensive? Which navy shot down an civilian air liner?
Trost continues, “If we intend to secure our national security interests, freedom of the seas is still a primary requisite.” Since the U.S. has no maritime fleet, it would seem that the only force to be protected by its Navy is the Navy. And perhaps this is the reason that our Navy is often called a “banana-boat navy,” not that it consists of banana boats but because it protects them.
My considered opinion is that the Navy could serve well with 10 groups, 5 in the Pacific and 5 in the Atlantic, with a rotation plan which put 20% of each fleet in port at one time. And the savings could be used to build a fourth academy to train State Department officials how to work for peace through understanding!
ELWOOD M. JONES JR.