Gregg Easterbrook’s past writings have never particularly impressed me, but his Weapons of Choice piece in TNR today reveals that he’s even more of a tool than I had thought.

In World War II, freedom beat dictatorship by a decisive margin in combat, even though dictatorship began the conflict with a significant advantage. Think about the situation in the summer of 1940, when England was the sole nation left actively resisting tyranny in all of Europe

Ummm…hello? Remember the Russian front? The one to which Germans were afraid of being sent? The one where they sustained most of their casualties? Who was running the Soviet Union at the time? Another dictator, and one whom many consider just as bad as Hitler himself. World War II in Europe was largely about one dictatorship fighting another, not about some fictional freedom vs. tyranny script. The folks throughout eastern Europe certainly didn’t feel very liberated when it was over.

Strong as the United States military is, it increasingly relies on worn-out stuff. Most American fighter aircraft are 20 years old or more; most of the Army’s tanks are more than 15 years old

So what? So they’re old. How old are potential opponents’ weapon systems? How numerous? How well maintained? How effective? Why pursue “modernization” for its own sake, when our Navy and Air Force – by Easterbrook’s own claim – “already exceed in strength the power of all other navies and air forces in the world combined” and our ground forces are not far behind? There are improvements to be made in our military, but more in the areas of training, tactics, communications, etc. If we skip a generation of unnecessary hardware, we could use the money saved to improve in these other areas, increase military pay and benefits, improve homeland security, and probably still reduce the military’s contribution to budget deficits. We’ve become addicted to high-cost weapons systems, and to having the economic strength to pursue every admiral or general’s pet project. Countries that have fewer military dollars do a much better job stretching what they do have. We’re ahead in volume, but we need to catch up in efficiency.

With such a stunning display of both ignorance and illogic, I can only wonder who paid/persuaded Easterbrook to write this piece. It’s just impossible to accept as a sincere and diligent exercise of a journalist’s or commentator’s role.