Defense: Instant Armada

Showing the flag is an ancient ploy that has worn a bit thin. Richard Nixon's decision to show American military might last week was an appropriate reaction in the face of severe North Korean provocation. But he may have overdone it somewhat. In response to North Korea's destruction of a U.S. EC-121 spy plane over international waters, the President gave sailing orders to Task Force 71, a 40-ship armada assigned the task of protecting future reconnaissance flights near North Korea.

The force included three attack aircraft carriers and an anti-submarine aircraft carrier, with a total of more than 200 planes, three...

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