Mark Steyn on Robert Kagan's new book:
Kagan would counter that America won what he calls "the war that never happened," the one with the Soviet Union, but, given the way the others turned out, it is perhaps just as well it never happened. A great scholar of the American way of war, he's fascinated with every aspect except victory. "The United States remains unmatched. It is far and away the most powerful nation the world has ever known. . . . The superior expenditures underestimate America's actual superiority in military capability. American land and air forces are equipped with the most advanced weaponry, are the most experienced in actual combat, and would defeat any competitor in a head-to-head battle."Loren Thompson, military analyst at the Lexington Institute on the U.S. Government's reducing the cost of military hardware:
But put 'em up against illiterate goatherds with string and fertilizer, and you'll be tied down for a decade.
However, as has been evident in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. enemies can blow up even the best armored vehicles with homemade bombs made from cheap fertilizer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience in an address at Harvard in April.
"The issue here is not whether it costs $10 million or $17 million," says Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute and defense industry consultant. "When an enemy can destroy it for a couple hundred dollars, that's the worst cost-exchange ratio I've ever seen."
Thompson points out that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren't fought against front-line foes.
"We need to understand that we have been fighting very under-resourced adversaries," Thompson says. "They nearly fought us to a standstill. What would a country with real capabilities do to us?"