The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines.This is one of the many constants of modern presidential races. According to the Republican candidate, whoever they are, our military is always one step away from shambles. Whatever benefits we may have seen from ending that whole Cold War business is moot, because there is always a new threat that makes those old nuclear threats look like a game of Chutes & Ladders, and we must immediately buy many, many craploads of the most expensive possible war machines or we will die at the hands of … somebody. Usually, some isolated tinpot dictator and his minions, groups that are hard pressed to import the latest music CDs, but nevertheless poses a grave threat to our current fleet of nuclear submarines. What precise threat Mitt imagines will be mitigated by the arbitrary decision to build 15 ships a year is, of course, unclear; he promises to do it anyway.
There's one particularly gaping hole in Mitt's claim, but it can be easily explained by simply noting that Mitt Romney is a huge freaking liar. Huge!
The current level of ships, 285 in fiscal 2011, is actually not even the lowest since 1916. The historical list shows that the lowest ship force was reached during the Bush administration, when the number of ships fell to 278 in 2007. Given the change over time in the composition of the naval force, that probably is the most relevant comparison — and the trend line is up.Well, there you go. Even if you go with the obvious Mitt logic that one 1916 rowboat equals one 2012 aircraft carrier, the core premise isn't even right. The number of ships in the fleet has increased, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and is increasing further. No, it's not increasing by 15 boats per year just because Mitt Romney wants them, but that's because austerity and deficits and all that other horseshit. (Just kidding: Everyone knows austerity and deficits do not apply to military spending.)
So once again, Mitt has placed a nice, fat lie right at the center of his argument. The main reason few people even care is because, I strongly suspect, there are precious few people either in politics or in the media who actually think Mitt Romney gives a flying damn about any of this foreign policy stuff in the first place. The speech was a generic regurgitation of the very constant talking points of the usual neocon suspects, to whom Romney has outsourced his foreign policy thoughts entirely. (If he had any substantive opinions about foreign policy before hiring them on, he certainly kept them even more hidden than his tax returns.) Now that he's expected to have those opinions, he brings on Bush hacks like John Bolton, Dan Senor, etc., etc., and, boom, instant foreign policy that looks uncannily like everything they've been saying for the last decade, rain or shine, wars or no wars, shrinking military or expanding military. A group of aging chickenhawks who keep forgetting to say Russia instead of Soviet Union, all itching to get their war on … again.