Fake News 101

The Countess and I were reviewing today’s news events when I spotted this story from the Los Angeles Times

Carrier strike group wasn’t headed to Korean peninsula despite Trump administration claims

The premise of their opinion is that President Trump is lying about sending an aircraft carrier task group to North Korea, or the US Navy is unclear on what it is doing.

They never actually cite anyone who says the carrier task group was headed to Korea. The closest they came to evidence was this statement attributed to President Trump:

“We are sending an armada, very powerful,” to the waters off the Korean peninsula, President Trump told Fox Business News on April 12.

We both reacted to this line – there is a quote from Trump followed by a paraphrase or an assumption, with the entire sentence attributed to Trump.

What did President Trump actually say?


“We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier,” Trump told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “We have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: he is doing the wrong thing.”

So the President was saying the opposite of the implication put forth by the LA Times. Aircraft carriers have little to offer in this scenario since we have B52 bombers on station in South Korea. B2 bombers would be the weapon of choice.

In 2009, China let it be known they have a ballistic missile designed to sink an aircraft carrier by flying at Mach 10 up to 2000 km (1,200 miles) and attack vertically, going straight down. It is a weapon for which the US Navy may have no effective defense. An improved model called the DF 26 has a longer range and the ability to detonate a nuclear warhead on the carrier, guided by satellite targeting. It is very hard to hide an aircraft carrier from an adversary who has satellites.

With advances in pilotless planes and cruise missiles, an aircraft carrier is of limited use when friendly airbases nearby (primarily Japan) are available.

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4 Responses to Fake News 101

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Today’s fake LA Times controversy of the day…


    “We are confident that the president will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court, if not the 9th Circuit. So this is a huge matter. I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions said.

    Perhaps the reporters don’t understand the meaning of “sitting” in the context of judges in a courtroom. Sessions is making the statement that a single judge took it upon himself to assert jurisdiction over the entire country.

  2. briand75 says:

    Fred/Countess: Excellent analysis! I spent years in submarines and you nailed it. The Aircraft Carrier is used to project force by putting attack capabilities in theater where needed. In North Korea, these aren’t needed as you so eloquently point out. The damage can be done by bombers and the submarines can launch any number of weapons platforms including nuclear.

    One fail with ballistic missile submarines – they are mostly undetectable – until they launch. Once a SSBN launches missiles, it’s half-life shrinks substantially.

    If China can stay out of NK, it would be short and sweet. Someone in the Leadership of the Army can take over the nuclear weapons and the military could force dillweed to step down or otherwise depose him. That seems to be a viable best option.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      To me, the underlying question is whether NK is a genuine loose cannon or just China’s sock puppet. My sense is it is the latter.

      What you say about the SSBN becoming vulerable is only if the opponent is capable of tracking and responding. I really doubt the NK Navy has the skills to locate the US subs if China doesn’t feed them data. They got lucky once sinking a surface ship with an unexpected unprovoked attack.

      The purpose of the aircraft carrier being on station is probably mostly to provide air cover so NK doesn’t get lucky and hit one of the surface ships that allegedly have 200 cruise missiles, but even they are incidental. A MOAB is not going to be delivered flying off a flight deck.

    • TheChairman says:

      Interesting that you bring this up. I’ve been thinking about the issue for awhile and gleaning what I can from our filtered American ‘news’ on the matter (Radio Havana is probably a better source). This is another Obama/Hillary/Kerry legacy… ignoring or down-playing the problem only made matters 10x worse.

      What I see in Kim Jong-Un is the incarnation of Khmer Rouge with regard to Sino-Korean relations.

      In other words, they were an ‘unsanctioned’ proxy for Chinese agitation, but have since become a rogue actor… dangerous and unpredictable enough to warrant Chinese action. i.e. Stalin & Adolf were ‘partners’ until the Panzers kept rolling eastward.

      Khmer Rouge didn’t have the ability to nuke anyone, Kim Jong-Un does. If you’ve seen any recent photos, he appears to be mimicking Mao, right down to the haircut.

      Too many analysts look at North Korea’s ICBM capability through the lens of U.S. or Russian technology. They should consider Kim Jong-un only needs a couple of V-2 style hits to create global chaos. ‘Close enough’ IS good enough with nuclear weapons. Missing the actual target and hitting open desert or ocean is still a detonation.

      I suspect the bomber of choice might actually be the B-1B Lancer bomber

      If you start a blog pool, I’ll place my wager on B-1B’s based in S. Korea. 😉


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