President Obama’s reference to “horses and bayonets” in Monday’s debate while discussing the size of our Navy reveals ignorance. As commander in chief, you’d think he’d have a better grasp of why it’s important to have a navy which surpasses all other navies, not only in quality, but also in quantity.
Prior to World War II, the Navy spent much of its resources on building battleships. It wasn’t until the attack on Pearl Harbor that America fully realized, belatedly, that the aircraft carrier was the “future.” As a result, there was a mad rush to build carriers.
The aircraft carrier offers many advantages to a country like ours. Among other things, it provides our president with options whenever he is confronted with a crises in some remote part of the world. The proverbial question – “Do we have any carriers in the vicinity?” – is a classic example of why carriers are important. They greatly enhance our national security and make it possible for America to project power.
In spite of their usefulness, however, there are problems associated with maintaining a carrier-centered fleet. Not only are they expensive to build and take a long time to construct, they are easily destroyed. During a war with a top-notch industrial power, America would again scramble to build carriers. Hence, the need to provide them with protection so that they are not so easily destroyed.
This is why it is important to have a sufficient number of supporting ships. Without them, carriers are far less effective and far more vulnerable.