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Links I found interesting for 20-11-2012


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Nov. 20th, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
The inquiry team has seven members. Its chairman, Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s Hospital, University of London, said it was important to have representatives from Galway University Hospital on it to allow the panel to compare the guidelines in use there with the national and international guidelines.

It sounds as if he has got the concepts of 'panel' and 'witness' mixed up there.
Nov. 21st, 2012 09:05 am (UTC)
The "Shrinking Modern Military" piece leaves out the capability side of the equation, the obsolescence of some of their comparators, and doesn't give enough depth to the costs of manpower.

For example, the fact that the French Navy had 7 battleships in 1939 means little - battleships being made obsolete by the demonstrated effectiveness of the aircraft carrier. Also, the aircraft carrier in 1939 - the Bearn - was an obsolete experimental ship from the 1920s. Hardly a good comparison for the Charles de Gaule that graces the Marine Nationale today. In a similar fashion, the MNs frigates and submarines are so much more capable than the rest of the ships in the 1939 list. Rather tellingly, the author leaves out the 20 French light frigates and corvettes. Exocet-armed, they would be more than capable of sinking a pre-war French cruiser.

The same points could be made for the rest of the technological markers the author uses. He also forgets that whilst riflemen might need eight times more money to equip than his WWII predecessor, the equipment makes for a more effective (and survivable) soldier. It also has to be noted that US GNP has increased by over a factor of 10 since WWII.

Whilst there are some good points of costs of manpower in the piece, I feel that a comparison with the US, with its ridiculously over-priced care and benefits industry is perhaps not the best illustrator to be used.

As for small forces, Norway's Hercules loss whilst seeming great (25% of the Hercules force), is again not a great comparator - from 1969 to 2008 they had only six of an earlier type of Hercules, which were replaced by the 4 mentioned in the article. It is hard to see how a move from 6 of an older type of aeroplane to 4 of a more modern type is a loss of effectiveness as asserted by the author.

All in all, this article needs more depth - rather than cherry-picking some points to support its main thesis.
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