After reading (and rereading) this sunday's column
by P-G Columnist Jack Kelly, one has to wonder about his general cognitive abilities.
He's wrong about so many things - especially from his initial sentence:
The Navy needs more ships, Mitt Romney said in Monday's debate. It has fewer now than in 1916.
Factcheck.org has some actual numbers
(numbers curiously missing from Jack's column):
There were 342 total active ships as of April 6, 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I (the number stood at 245 in December 1916). And there were 282 active duty ships as of April 2012, according to a Congressional Research Service report in August. That’s down slightly from the Naval History and Heritage Command’s count of 285 as of September 2011. However, 282 ships is the same number in service during George W. Bush’s last year in office, and a slight increase over the number in 2007 — 278 — when the size of the fleet was at its lowest since the early 20th century.
Remember, Romney said 1916. So we start at 245 - which is less than either the 282 or 285 from April, 2012 or September 2011, respectively.
And did you catch the point about 2007? Let's see now. Who was president then?
While getting these easy facts wrong
, Jack points out:
The facts matter little to liberals.
Huh. You don't say.
Jack then fixates on the president's "Bayonets and Horses" line:
President Barack Obama pounced. "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them ... "
Where Jack dutifully omits the last part (you can find it here
We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships; it’s what are our capabilities.
So the numbers of the ships matter much less than the capabilities of those ship (or bayonets or horses). Let's use the example that Jack avoided: submarines.
According to this webpage from The Navy
, when the United States entered the First World War, we had 42 submarines in commission. What are the numbers now?
By my count that's 62 submarines. By Jack's logic (and Romney's, for that matter) that means that simply by using the numbers of ships, the fleet of 42 diesel-powered ships, all about 200 feet long or less, each travelling about 13 knots or so, equal about 2/3 of the firepower of the modern submarine fleet.
But yea, let's talk about how the Marines use a KA-BAR fighting knife or how the Taliban was taken down by special forces guys on horseback. THAT certainly validated Romney's "facts" about the Navy!
One special note to my friends at the Post-Gazette who's thankless job of editing Jack's columns each week must give them humongous agita: You REALLY need to check Jack's sources and the soundness of those sources. Here's Jack:
In yet another fund-raising appeal on Tuesday, Mr. Obama said he and Michelle would be fine if he loses. If the president's friends are indeed buying him a $35 million mansion in Hawaii, as Chicago blogger Kevin Dujan (Hillbuzz) claims, that's certainly true.
If you didn't already know this by now (and there's no reason you should if your head's been stuck in actual news as opposed to the cesspool of the right wing media) Kevin Dujan's the source of the latest Jerome Corsi Obama Conspiracy theory:
That the president is a secret gay.
It's all there on the pages of World Net Daily (aka birther central).
Shouldn't that have raised a few flags at the P-G? That Jack Kelly's using a wingnut source?
Yea, I know. I giggled at that one myself a little bit.