- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately the Dewey Award for screwing up the news goes to the New York Times for a story yesterday that stated that the U.S. Army would be cut to its pre-World War II size. This was technically, narrowly correct and yet, at the same time, quite misleading. In fact, it is a mess, and not just on timing, because it leaves out the Air Force.
Yes, if Defense Secretary Hagel’s proposed cuts go through, the Army will be trimmed to its 1940 size of about 450,000, and at that point the United States had not entered World War II. But it was rapidly getting ready for it, and had been since George Marshall had taken over leadership of the Army in 1939, when the Army, including the Army Air Force, was at under 200,000. That is the real pre-World War II number.
So, in fact, if the proposed Hagel cuts go through, the contemporary U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, combined, will be close to 800,000 — that is, roughly four times the size of their pre-war counterpart. Hence the Dewey Award.
Here’s a good summary of what the SecDef actually had to say.
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| The Complex |
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |