From the "Why Aren't We Doing This By The Crap-ton" File:
"One of the more frustrating parts of blogging occasionally on hospital ships is having the usual suspects chime in somewhere in the middle of the comments section telling us how "These are of little use in how we practice modern medicine. They take ..."
Bla, bla, bla, bla.
They are both correct and 100% wrong at the same time.
They have a primary mission (in Salamanderland at least) and others seem to see it more than we do;
As a statement of soft power, a floating hospital packs a punch with a helping hand to poorer nations in need.Our hospital ships are larger and better, but MERCY and COMFORT are only two, and they are a bit aged."
So much so that in the Pacific region major powers are increasingly flexing their humanitarian muscles by sending hospital ships and similar aid missions to the region.
China's 10,000-ton medical ship, the Peace Ark, has cut a broad arc through the Pacific, stopping off in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji and Tonga.
The raw numbers alone are impressive. According to Chinese state media, the ship has 300 beds, eight operating theatres, and can conduct 60 surgeries in a day.
The Peace Ark said it has so far provided free medical treatment to more than 4,000 people in PNG's capital Port Moresby, 4,500 people in Vanuatu, 6,000 in Fiji and more than 5,500 patients in Tonga.
As usual, CDR Salamander gets it, and speaks wisdom on the topic.
And frankly, we should be running not just 2, nor even the 4 CDR Salamander recommends, but more like 10 or 12.
There should be as many of them as we have carriers, because the only thing better than parking an airfield off a hostile enemy's coast in war or near-war, is parking a hospital off a friendly or wobbly neutral country's cost, so that you don't get to needing the carrier in the first place.
Call it the No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy Plan. I think SecDef has some experience with that.
This is the same reason you paint your house, fix your roof, and repair your fenceline: to prevent much bigger problems down the road.
It would simultaneously give us the ability to do good unilaterally, shutting up the frothing moonbat harpies at home, and silencing wobbly allies.
In fact, if the President were to announce tomorrow he was cutting out funding to the UN to nothing, and pouring the money instead 1:1 into building 2-10 more ships like Mercy and Comfort, he'd probably only get 100M congratulatory telegrams the next day, and 400 votes in Congress for the plan.
Now imagine that we could also pull them back inshore here at home, in the aftermath of the annual hurricanes and natural disasters we face routinely.
And unlike sinking money in corrupt regimes, and hoping they use it right, these ships are totally ours, 24/7/365, pay dividends beyond counting, can be relocated at will anywhere there's an ocean, and last for 20-40 years.
And not to put too fine a point on it, but like the Coast Guard, and unlike the Navy, they will be fighting on a wartime footing every time they go out, because like the sea itself, Death never takes a holiday, so every penny we spend on them will be money well-spent, during war and peace.
And to steal a march on our most incompetent president ever:
We should do that, because This IS Who We Are.