Magazine December 3, 2018, Issue

Letters

The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Jackson departs San Diego, Calif., June 5, 2017. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

A Seaworthy Navy

Jerry Hendrix correctly urges an increase in the number of ships in the Navy in “The Navy We Need” (November 12).

The reasons for the Navy’s present state are many, but I want to highlight two. First are the “clubs” of the Navy. Aviation, submarines, and surface warfare are its three career-enhancing fields. Any aspiring naval officer has to belong to one of the three clubs if he or she hopes to wear stars. Any other area is basically a career dead end. One need only look at the parlous state of mine warfare in the Navy to see this at work. The competition among these clubs drives most decisions, whether they relate to acquisitions, operations, or deployments. There is rivalry for money and careers among the officers who serve. This must stop.

Second, Hendrix talks about the “peace dividend” and other reasons for the reduction in ship numbers. Another important reason is the Navy view that only new is better. Too many admirals in the Navy are like children in a toy store when it comes to ships, always grabbing new and shiny things when there are perfectly usable toys at home. There is no reason a ship cannot serve 30, 40, even 50 years if it is maintained correctly.

And there is the rub. Again, ship maintenance and shipyard assignments are avoided at all cost by naval officers. Additionally, maintenance is an activity constantly kicked down the street in terms of money spent. If the Coast Guard can keep ships in use for as long as it does, why cannot the Navy? An example is the Oliver Hazard Perry class of frigates recently retired in great numbers. Admittedly, they served for decades, but I have to ask: If they were in such bad shape, why were foreign navies lining up to buy them?

Greater numbers, yes, but let’s see some structural changes in the way the Navy makes decisions, too.

Harold N. Boyer
Berwyn, Pa.

Commemorating the Great War

Allen C. Guelzo’s “The Great War’s Great Price” (November 12), an otherwise excellent piece claiming that “Americans have chosen to forget World War I,” overlooks one point. There “is no monument to the First World War on the National Mall. . . . Nothing there memorializes the [first] great American war of the 20th century,” Guelzo asserts. But there is a monument, in a poorly maintained, wooded area not far from the Reflecting Pool. It’s hard to find, rarely visited, and modest compared with the other war memorials, but it does exist. Which is the worse sin, forgetting to honor, or making the honor forgettable?

Colin Calhoon
Via email

Allen C. Guelzo responds: Yes, there is a monument along Independence Avenue, but it’s to the Washingtonians of the war. It’s not a national monument, which is what I was referring to when discussing the national memorials on the Mall to Vietnam, World War II, and Korea. There has been off-and-on-again effort in Congress to convert and expand the D.C. memorial into a national World War I monument, but nothing has so far developed. Oddly, there is a national World War I monument but it’s in Kansas City.

Correction: “A Better Test” (John J. Miller, November 12) referred to an alternative scholastic-aptitude test as the “Classical Learning Test.” Its correct name is the “Classic Learning Test.”

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

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The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More

The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More
Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More

John Wayne: The Hero We Need Now

America fits into John Wayne's filmography, and this does not make America small. It makes John Wayne huge. The coronavirus has brought us back to the Wild West. Lonely lives, deserted streets, looks of distrust, and whiskey for throat disinfection; the scientific community has not made an official statement as ... Read More

John Wayne: The Hero We Need Now

America fits into John Wayne's filmography, and this does not make America small. It makes John Wayne huge. The coronavirus has brought us back to the Wild West. Lonely lives, deserted streets, looks of distrust, and whiskey for throat disinfection; the scientific community has not made an official statement as ... Read More
World

‘Professor Lockdown’ Modeler Resigns in Disgrace

Neil Ferguson is the British academic who created the infamous Imperial College model that warned Boris Johnson that, without an immediate lockdown, the coronavirus would cause 500,000 deaths and swamp the National Health Service. Johnson’s government promptly abandoned its Sweden-like “social ... Read More
World

‘Professor Lockdown’ Modeler Resigns in Disgrace

Neil Ferguson is the British academic who created the infamous Imperial College model that warned Boris Johnson that, without an immediate lockdown, the coronavirus would cause 500,000 deaths and swamp the National Health Service. Johnson’s government promptly abandoned its Sweden-like “social ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Biden’s Progressive Gamble

A few hours after this column appears on the Internet, more than 30 liberal activists will meet online to plan your future. The gathering is called the “Friday Morning Group.” It comprises, according to the New York Times, “influential figures at labor unions, think tanks and other progressive ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Biden’s Progressive Gamble

A few hours after this column appears on the Internet, more than 30 liberal activists will meet online to plan your future. The gathering is called the “Friday Morning Group.” It comprises, according to the New York Times, “influential figures at labor unions, think tanks and other progressive ... Read More