Are US armed forces "the best in the world"? What makes you think so?
Find a response to this conventional wisdom at Foreign Policy's website at http://www.foreignpolicy.
com/articles/2012/10/11/not_ all_that_it_can_be?page=0,0 and
The myth of American military superiority.
BY WINSLOW WHEELER | OCTOBER 11, 2012
involving defense issues, when a defense secretary wants to protect his budget (or his legacy), and when candidate Barack Obama or his operatives defend the administration's national security record: The American armed forces are "the best in the world." It has become such an unremarkable bit of conventional wisdom that the comment is usually prologue to some other point the speaker wants to make. Many think that because the United States spends multiples of any conceivable opponent or even combinations of them, has the largest modern navy and air force, and can operate all over the world, there is no conceivable enemy or enemies that can take on America successfully. The history of warfare is full of this kind of arrogance before the fall; it has occurred from the beginnings of recorded warfare until today. Consider Xerxes
and Darius against Greece in antiquity, the British in America in 1775, the Russians before their war with Japan in 1904, and the United States in 1964 facing Vietnam. History has recorded
these and numerous other conflicts when the "wrong" side won the war, and there are still more examples from campaigns and individual battles. If spending or the size and breadth of forces were the sole determinants of success, the British and French would have won in 1940, the Russians would have repelled the Germans in 1941, the British would have won in Malaysia in 1942, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would not have been the disasters they are. When I have suggested that America's military might not be "the best," the inevitable question is, "Against whom? Name an opponent who can beat us." History is not kind to those who are so sure they know the future, and in today's vapid culture the confident prediction of supremacy is articulated in the absence of anything beyond a superficial bean count of forces and hardware -- sometimes not even that.