I think Charles Brown (“Find something else for BIW to build,” Oct. 18) needs to study up on our history. He states that through World War II, we weren’t prepared for any of the wars we fought but were still successful.

Mr. Brown, how many airmen, Marines, sailors and soldiers do you think would have survived if they hadn’t been thrown into battle poorly trained and with inferior weapons? Do the terms “Bataan Death March,” “Kasserine Pass” and “Task Force Smith” ring a bell?

I’m trying to figure out how we were unsuccessful when we “invaded” North Korea. Not only did we recover from being driven all the way down the Korean peninsula to Pusan, but we pushed the North Korean army back across the 38th parallel and nearly all the way to their border with China.

Even though China got involved and the lines changed several times, by the time the armistice was signed, South Korea had regained all of its pre-war territory. Considering that was the U.N. forces’ main objective, I’d say we were quite successful.

We didn’t lose in Vietnam because we were prepared for war. U.S. forces won every battle they fought, but our leadership wouldn’t let them use the proper tactics for the enemy they faced. The war in South Vietnam was a counterinsurgency, in which battalion-sized maneuver elements have no place. We should have taken notes from how the British successfully fought insurgencies in Malaya and Kenya.

I’m sure BIW would love to have more work building commercial ships or railcars, and the state’s economy would greatly benefit from it as well. However, these should be done in addition to building warships, not instead of. We need to be prepared for war in order to have peace.

Phil Smith

Windham

 

In response to Charles Brown, I believe he is incredibly shortsighted. To say that our defense budget “‘is one of the major causes of our financial crisis” is naive. Imagine all the jobs lost if our defense budget were cancelled; we might even speak a different language because of that decision.

We never invaded North Korea – that was a United Nations action after North Korea invaded South Korea. The U.N. was unprepared to support South Korea; the U.N. had to rearm. We did not intervene in Vietnam – South Vietnam requested the aid of the Southeast Asia Treaty. All parties left after a peace treaty was signed in 1973.

We never removed Iraq from Kuwait – that was a U.N. decision and involved 34 nations against the Iraqi aggression. Iraq was jointly invaded by United States and United Kingdom in 2003 and Afghanistan by us in 2001.

To say Afghanistan was not in “the common defense” as described in the preamble to the Constitution boggles the mind. Remember 9/11?

Yes, we were unprepared for the American Revolution. Only because of the perseverance of George Washington, and no one else, against tremendous odds, did we succeed. Before Pearl Harbor, we had virtually no army, air force, or navy. After Pearl Harbor, our armies and allies were able to delay the enemy as we re-armed because of the vast distances of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In order to defend a nation, a country needs a standing army, as our country finally realized after Pearl Harbor. It was reinforced after the South Korean invasion. When we were attacked Sept. 11, 2001, we were able to respond immediately against the enemy. Yes, we spend a lot on defense, but we still speak English in this country and we sleep comfortably at night.

Christopher D. Chamberlin

Parsonsfield

 

A bold gentleman from Brunswick complained that it made no sense to build more warships at BIW as the Navy has enough already.

Well, this is really the tip of the military iceberg. It is recognized that our Navy is larger than the combined navies of the next 17 nations. Occasionally, the odd admiral lets slip they do not need more aircraft carriers or destroyers.

We also do have the largest stockpile of atomic weapons, the largest air force and the best equipped army.

The fact is, all the politicians talk about “the defense budget,” but in reality it is “the offense budget,” used almost exclusively since World War II to attack and make war on other shores, taking tens of thousands of the lives of our young men and women.

Back to the Brunswick question: Yes, slash military spending for a good few years and use the savings to partially pay down debt and leave our nation with the existing social systems, which are already by comparison the poorest in the Western world.

Rather than purchasing billions of dollars of armaments each year, build high-speed rail systems and hardware and fix the crumbling infrastructure, which will take up the slack in employment for defense (sorry, offense) contractors.

How about BIW building new ferries to replace the country’s archaic fleets? Give the old ones to the likes of Bangladesh instead of the usual dollars that will be squandered.

This plan should go some way to giving us back our pride in the nation’s greatness, unless we truly believe we should be the good policemen of the world, with an ever-diminishing quality of life on the home front for the silent majority.

Andrew Evans

Raymond

 

Coastal drilling won’t help reduce oil costs in Maine

 

Republicans have held three debates so far and it appears their solution to the current high rate of unemployment is to drill for oil. Now just this past week Texas governor (and former front-runner of the Republican hopefuls trying to check into the White House) Rick Perry has determined we can drill our way out of these hard times by opening up all our federal lands and our entire coastline to exploration.

This is a myth. According to the Department of Energy, developing oil resources from our coastal waters would reduce our importation of foreign oil by no more that 2.5 percent by 2030. Let us not forget any oil pumped off our coast would be sold on the open market to help reduce our debt, not lower the cost of oil here at home.

Maine’s greatest resource is its magnificent coastline. It is the basic element of our economic engine. Lets not gum up the works by exposing this important resource to the risk of shortsighted greed. Mainers have taken the first few steps in developing alternative energy with the research and development of wind power. An array of spinning blades generating clean energy is a way to protect our pristine coast while meeting our ever-growing need for energy. Forget Drill Baby Drill I say Spin Baby Spin!

Haig Tufankjian

Portland