lucznik, I like you and I think you add a lot to this forum, but I believe we'll just have to agree to disagree here. I neither have the patience nor the finger dexterity to type out a thorough response that addresses each and every one of your points, plus we're on the verge of violating OT rule #4 that states "No religious discussions or politics unless it relates to guns, optics, and or shooting" anyway. Suffice it to say, I believe our action in Iraq was vital to our country's interest and has a direct, completely relevant connection to our nations war on terror. I said the argument about Iraq not being involved in 9/11 is a strawman argument, because that was never a reason for invading Iraq in the first place, nor has ANY administration official EVER made such a claim. Saddam was indeed supporting, harboring, financing, and training terrorists, not to mention had violated the terms of the Gulf War cease-fire, which gave us a legal obligation to act. He was a destabilizing force in the already volatile Middle East. This war is nothing but a continuation of the first Gulf War, and is but one battle front in the ongoing war on terror. We aren't fighting against states and organized militaries; we are fighting against radical Islamic terrorist groups, and therefore, we must take the fight to them wherever they are or they will take the fight to us. We didn't choose this fight; they declared war on us long ago, and pretending they aren't waging war against us is foolish and dangerous. The only way to meet this threat is to kick their asses; killing as many of them as possible before they kill us. War is ugly, but sometimes vitally necessary, REGARDLESS OF COST!!!!!!!!!
Did you read the link I provided at the end of my last post?
I also believe discussions of the pros vs. cons of invading Iraq have absolutely no relevance to the thread topic which is simply that we need to be replacing aged military equipment.
It's very simple:
1. Advanced, cutting-edge weapons systems, be it combat aircraft, tanks, missiles, whatever, are all essential to the defense of our country and the cause of liberty. We cannot afford to NOT use the latest, best technology available.
2. No machine has an unlimited service life, and at some point, it is more cost effective to replace worn-out equipment than it is to continually maintain obsolete equipment.
3. Much of the current generation of aircraft in our inventory has exceeded their service lives and are in need of replacement.
4. Aircraft like the F15 are no longer in production and have been replaced by even more lethal, more capable aircraft in the F22 and F35.
5. Though unit cost may be greater, using more lethal, more capable aircraft is actually less costly, because fewer units are required to do the same job. This is supported by the fact that at the most recent Red Flag aerial combat training simulation outside Nellis AFB, the F22 dominated, with a single F22 "killing" on average 8 F15's each. So, far fewer F22's will be needed to do the same job of our aging F15 fleet, which makes it a more economical alternative. Looking only at the unit cost of any weapon system without taking into consideration the capabilities of that weapon system is very short-sighted.
6. Waiting for our enemies to catch up and develop weapons systems to challenge ours is equally foolish and short-sighted.
7. The F22 is already in service in a fully operational squadron based at Langley AFB, VA.
8. The more time spent working on a piece of equipment, the less time that equipment will be mission ready, and the more units will be required to carry out any given military operation.
9. It is irresponsible to unnecessarily endanger our servicemen and women by expecting them to use worn-out, potentially unsafe equipment when there are better alternatives readily available. Anything less than the very best equipment, training, and tactics available results in lost American lives. Period.
BTW, a minor point... no current aircraft in our inventory is capable of Mach 3. The F15 has a top speed of Mach 2.5 - 2.8.
I find the "playing at Mach 3+" statement a little offensive, and it demonstrates a lack of understanding and/or appreciation for the role of our pilots. They don't strap themselves to multi-million dollar high performance aircraft for the purpose of taking useless, expensive joy rides. They must train constantly to be ready to meet and defeat any threat, anytime, anywhere, which is vital to our nation's security and to minimize the loss of American lives.