United States Navy
LATE ON THE MORNING of July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart climbed into the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra airplane on a small grass runway in Lae, New Guinea. She was 22,000 flight miles into her daring attempt to fly around the world, a journey that had captivated Americans since she lifted off from Miami a month earlier. Now Earhart was facing the most dangerous leg of the trip: a 19-hour, 2,556-mile flight to a tiny speck in the Pacific Ocean known as Howland Island. Earhart’s celebrity had grown formidable in the decade since her transatlantic flight, the first ever by a female pilot.
An order announced yesterday by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will install breath-testing machines on all of the U.S. Navy’s ships and submarines and on Marine Corps bases. The move, according to The Washington Post, “is part of a broader new Navy program designed to improve the physical and mental well-being of those having difficulty coping with the stresses of a decade of war.” As Mabus tells it, the Navy is trying to proactively address a range of alcohol-related problems, from poor fitness to sexual assault and suicide.
Today, the Pentagon announced the rescue, by the U.S. Navy, of 13 Iranians who had been held captive by Somali pirates since last November. The Iranians are on their way home, and the pirates are in U.S. custody. How can the international community crack down on piracy? A 2010 report from the Council on Foreign Relations offers some suggestions. The report gives reason to doubt the efficacy of onboard deterrents. For one, crews on most ships aren’t trained in the use of weapons, and they fear that if the ship is attacked, the people holding guns will be targeted.
On Sunday May 1, 2011 at 11:35 p.m., speaking to a larger audience than at any other time during his presidency, Obama stated that Osama bin Laden was dead. Earlier that day, in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs had descended on bin Laden’s compound and, after a 40-minute firefight, shot and killed the leader of Al Qaeda. Over the course of the week that followed, The New Republic unpacked the implications, symbolic and substantive, of bin Laden’s death.
This past week saw a marked escalation in the ongoing struggle for geopolitical preponderance in East Asia between the United States and China. Twenty years ago, at the close of the Cold War, U.S. forces in the region had enormous advantages over their Chinese counterparts. Using ships, aircraft and troops forward-deployed at facilities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore, supported by others dispatched from Hawaii and the West Coast, the United States could defend its friends, deter its enemies and move its forces freely throughout the western Pacific.
You may recall that, during the Bush presidency, Dubai World, a flagship corporate asset of the emir and his kin, had been discovered servicing and actually owning some U.S. ports on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. You will not be surprised that I wrote against this. Or that Tom Friedman wrote for it. Frankly, I didn't trust the emirate to serve as guardian to the ships going in and out of the docking facilities or, more generally, to patrol sensitive entry points to great harbor cities like New York, Baltimore, Miami and 19 other municipal areas.
Retired Navy Admiral James "Ace" Lyons, speaking at CPAC yesterday, charged: You know in the Navy in the late nineteen hundreds, homosexuality was rampant in the United States Navy. It was so bad that mothers would not let their sons enlist in the Navy until the Navy cleaned its act up. Andrew Sullivan suggests that Lyons might have been referring to the late 1800s, not the late 1900s. I'm not sure. The late nineteen hundreds was the Clinton years, remember. Maybe cleaning up the homosexual Navy was yet another unappreciated way George W. Bush Kept Us Safe.
Click here for Margo Howard’s Week One coverage of the Clark Rockefeller case. WEEK TWO, DAY ONE There is great anticipation about Sandra Boss’s appearance. A larger than usual number of still photographers are hanging around on the courthouse steps, since only one pool photographer is allowed in the courtroom.
Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.
The governor of the Indonesian province of Aceh, Abdullah Puteh, easily survived the tsunami that killed more than 173,000 Indonesians last month. At the time, he was safe in his cell at Salemba Penitentiary in central Jakarta, 1,000 miles away, awaiting trial for a million-dollar scam involving a gubernatorial helicopter. The aging, Russian-made Mi-2 now gathers dust in a remote hangar at the airport in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, a Cyrillic-script instruction manual helpfully stuffed into its lifeless console.