The U.S. Navy has more ships than any other navy; more in fact, than a bunch of other navies put together. It is nevertheless reported to be dissatisfied and thinks itself in need of a number of new ones now unlikely with Democrats in charge. Folks willing to give a cheer for the Democrats unwillingness to spend on war materiel are fewer than might be since the Dems are quite willing to spend on so many other things that any savings is wishful thinking.
My military years frequently included rest breaks where the command: “Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em” was shouted at us as we sat down. I guess that in the Pentagon, they begin their breaks with something like: “Spend ’em if you’ve got ’em, can borrow ’em or the Fed will print ’em for you!” During my military time, civilians smoked as much or more than the troops did; cigarettes were cheaper since it wasn’t necessary to pay your fair share of the national debt plus a bribe to the government for letting you smoke in those days. Today of course, things are different when it comes to smoking but in spending, the civilians still spend as efficiently as the military, at least in Washington. No one in that city is less than a fully qualified gold medal spender if they work for government.
Such productivity from Washington makes it hard for the military to compete without a war going on; wars help. Untold tons and trainloads and shiploads of stuff have been dumped, lost, stolen and just abandoned in Iraq and Afghanistan, opening the need for new spending to fill the emptied military warehouses.
This has been hard on the Navy, with no one shooting at it and no other plausible excuses to have to replace large amounts of stuff with new. Someone, or a stroke of luck, recently solved this: a Navy Ship went onto a reef and got stuck there. In these cases, the traditional reaction is the standard Navy DWI reflex: shoot the Captain. Well, these days, just fire him on the spot or on the reef or whatever. But this guy proved, evidently, that he was paying attention, following the Navy-issued chart which somehow, didn’t know the reef was there. This is embarrassing for the Navy. After shooting a captain, a navy feels like it’s accomplished something; there’s little satisfaction in shooting a chart. And if one chart accounted for a ship, how many more enemy charts are out there? Losing an entire ship to a piece of paper in these days of GPS, satellite navigation and all that in the mighty U.S. Navy is not to be borne… imagine all the other little navies with inferiority complexes giggling about this?
But it’s worse than that. The ship, USS Guardian, apparently cost $277 million and either a Navy environmentalist or one in Washington, has decreed that damaging the reef to remove the ship will damage the environment too much, so the ship is to be torn into scrap where it sits, and hauled away in pieces.
One must admit, this is brilliant. They Navy has finally found a way to waste stuff on a level allowing it to compete with the other services outside of wartime. Plus, earning points for caring about the environment; a win-win if there ever was one. This will go a long way toward helping the Navy live down its past that included charges of deafening critters in the sea with its sonar and such. And the Navy gained all this without even having to shoot a captain. Now, that’s progress!