Saturday, September 15, 2018

Two More Ships Our Criminally Gutted Navy Doesn't Have...

h/t CDR Salamander

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.

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.
Our hospital ships are larger and better, but MERCY and COMFORT are only two, and they are a bit aged."

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.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the better ideas I've heard in a long time. I have seen the benefits that Med support missions can pay first hand.

My unit supported an Army SF Group and right in 2002-2003 we were assigned to Kabul to help develop and train their Special Forces. A few of the additional things we did while we were there is run humanitarian missions into the surrounding small villages. The MEDCAP were always the best received and appreciated. But we also built schools and handed out clothes and basic supplies that our folks from back stateside sent us for the children. It was the best representation of who we were as Americans. While we were in country we killed a lot of bad guys and blew stuff up, and the bad guys quickly learned to mess with others, not only because we were well armed and prepared, but because the locals liked us and would give us "heads-up" intel whenever any of the bad guys started feeling froggy.

One day as our convoy was leaving the compound we had a group of 20-30 kids at the front gate waving and giving us the "thumbs-up". Happy times

We drove down the road about five miles and went in the gate to the ISAF compound
They also had a group of 10-20 kids outside their front gate, however they were yelling, throwing rocks and flipping everyone off.

I had seen how the ISAF and blue helmets treated the locals and no one was surprised at the reception they received everywhere they went.

I think the Hospital ships could pay great dividends for our country and those we help, besides the added bonus of DE-funding a corrupt and evil organization like the UN.

MSG Grumpy

Anonymous said...

As ever the combination of Sal and Aesop brings good things. I remember seeing the ships building at NASSCO ; if that yard can build them it ain't cold fusion level work.
Love the idea of defunding UN regardless but announcing the money was going to build these ships would make me even happier.

Aesop said...

The idea just popped into my head as I was typing it.
But I liked it too.

lineman said...

A whole lot of other things could be defunded as well and we could build 50 of them...

JT said...

I've been on this idea (to the three people and two dogs who are forced to listen to me) since I toured one when it came into Navy Base Guam. An absolutely top shelf idea: one or two for every carrier. What are the odds a congresscritter would tack that legislation onto a procurement bill....

Question: Would it be possible to add one of those Ebloa beds that are in such scarce supply to a quarantined deck? If so, the US could almost double its bed capacity by commissioning a fleet of these AND they'd keep the virus away from Atlanta - if that is indeed the plan.

Aesop said...

Ebola on a ship would be Snakes On A Plane. With frickin' laser beams on their heads.

If someone wants to ramp up our Ebola ward capacity, the place for that is some completely secluded island far from our shores.
That, or get Lee Van Cleef to wall off Manhattan. Same-same.

I would have suggested Molokai, as that was the traditional leper colony of Hawaii, but those days are gone, and they're trying to move tourists in.

Maybe someplace we have title to in the far Pacific...

Beans said...

Aesop. Wake Island has been used for customs quarantining of snakeheads and their cargo. And it is underutilized.

Johnston Atoll has a history of quarantine work, having been dirty bombed twice and being famous for the main disposal plant for Agent Orange and US nerve gas stores. So it's available.

So there's two islands right off the block that are available with minimal muss and fuss, both reachable from Hawaii via plane or ship, but off the beaten track.

Ominous Cowherd said...

``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.''

I was with you, until you came to the part about Congress. If President Trump announced that he was against the nuclear annihilation of Congress, every Dem and half the GOP would howl that he is a traitor, and would demand immediate annihilation.

Mike_C said...

Y'all are better people than I am.

The other day at lunch we were discussing the public health problems of a certain turd-world shithole and how best to solve them. My one suggestion was "neutron bombs". To my surprise, this contribution was met not with looks of horror and hatred, but wide eyes followed by slow nods.

Aesop said...

You get better PR for dropping bug bombs than neutron bombs, and the results generally last longer.
It's as much a utilitarian argument as a moral one.

@Ominous Cowherd:
Never underestimate the ability of congressweasels to try to get out in front of a good idea. Like sharks with blood in the water, they can smell a press conference a mile away. Not least of which because I'd spread the construction contract pork to 10 shipyards in 10 swing states, and subcontractors in 20 more.

The Democrat or Republicrat who came out against hospital ships would be painted as Actual Hitler, forever.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

waepnedmann said...

Suggesting the possibility of CW2: No problem.
Hospital ships due to moral imperative?
This is the kind of thinking that ends up with you getting your door kicked in.

Aesop said...

Unless I'm in the white porcelain thinking room at that moment, that sort of thing wouldn't turn out the way they plan. >:)

The Gray Man said...

Hospital ships are something we need, because... Look, if someone has a gripe about building hospital ships, unless it's a budget-based gripe, then I have no time for them. The budget comments can be easily solved the way you stated, and also by pulling economic aid away from, well, everyone. We have no need to send money to Liberia. Park a hospital ship there once a year for a month and it'll more good and save us a lot of wasted money, and gain a little bit of goodwill points, with someone.

The Gray Man said...

Hospital ships should be built for CW2, but in the meantime, the moral imperative argument gives our hospital ship staff valuable experience working with third world populations, which is what many Americans would become when CW2 kicks off.

Build them for CW2, but don't let them just rot away in our ports until it happens.