Best Defense

Why today’s Navy minesweepers remind me of the ancient Melian Dialogue

Submarines and aviation get what they need, mine warfare suffers what it must.

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I nearly turned the page when I saw an article in the November issue of Proceedings about the wretched state of the Navy minesweeping community. Yes, they lack enough hulls. Yes, they are neglected. Yes, no one else seems to care. That all has been true as long as I can remember.

So, I asked myself, what does the state of the U.S. Navy minesweeping community remind me of? Then it came to me: The Melian Dialogue in Thucydides. That is, re-stated in U.S. Navy terms: Submarines and aviation get what they need, mine warfare suffers what it must.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons

 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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