|The Navy's new expensive and provocative Zumwalt class destroyer at Bath Iron Works in Maine gets 'christened' on April 12|
My letter to the editor was printed in our local Times Record newspaper today.
On April 12 there will be a
‘christening’ of the Navy’s new ‘stealthy’ Zumwalt destroyer at BIW. Veterans for Peace, PeaceWorks and other
groups around Maine will hold a rally just across from where the public will
assemble for the Navy show.
The Navy has to put on the good
face for this one, largely because they did not want the expensive Zumwalt
anyway; it was going to eat up too much of the shipbuilding budget. But the corporate forces behind the project
pushed the door open and here we are.
Costs for the Zumwalt are still
mounting (someone might ask about the sagging walls inside the engine room that
are weak because money was saved by ignoring design specs) and will likely come
in over $4 billion per ship. The past
destroyers made at BIW were more than $1.5 billion per copy.
President Obama pushed the Navy
hard to go with the Zumwalt in spite of huge costs and questions about its
One should follow the
interesting thread about the Crown family
in Chicago (who are majority
stockholders in General Dynamics) helping fund and direct Obama’s political
career. There is much to learn there – a real “House of Cards” story.
The Associated Press has
reported, “A super-stealthy destroyer [Zumwalt] that could underpin the U.S.
Navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually
undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic ‘rail guns’ right out of a
sci-fi movie. Using electric pulses, not
chemical explosives, the ‘rail gun’ can shoot a 40-pound metal slug from New
York to Philadelphia at up to 5,600 mph — more than seven times the speed of
sound — with 32 times the force of a car traveling at 100 miles per hour."
In other words, the Zumwalt will
be provocative and destabilizing. We
want war with China now too? Someone is
pulling our chain.
Obviously jobs are the big issue
when it comes to BIW.
the top of the list of states most dependent on the military, last year passed a
law to create a commission to make plans for the conversion/diversification
military production facilities.
or the other 57% of every discretionary tax dollar can’t keep going to the
When military budgets come
down jobs will be cut.
But studies show
that investing those same dollars in any other kind of job creation result in
more jobs in every case.
for a stable transition is imperative.
People across the nation are
demanding funding for social progress, education, health care, and probably most
importantly turning us away from our toxic shock attack on Mother Earth. What is our social priority – a corporate
version of feudalism or real democracy, social justice and sustainability?
On April 12th we’ll
hold our BIW rally from 10am to noon and we will talk to those lining up for the
‘christening’ about the benefits of the conversion process.
Later in the evening on April 12 an International Panel on US
‘Pivot’ to Asia-Pacific will be held at the new Unitarian Church in
Brunswick. Speakers from India, Japan,
Korea and the US will discuss the implications of moving 60% of US military
forces into the Asia-Pacific to “control” China. Potluck supper begins at 6:00 pm and the
panel discussion at 7:00 pm. The public
is warmly invited.
Bruce K. Gagnon