America is lacking a genuine naval military crisis. There’s no foreign navy that threaten us, and our modern Air Force doesn’t truly rely upon ocean-going aircraft carriers. Military aircraft can be refueled in the skies, and even without such capabilities, we know how to get airplanes over the oceans without need of aircraft carriers anymore.
So why has the U.S. military just finished spending 62 billion dollars on a super-gigantic aircraft carrier – The USS George H.W. Bush? Just what is it supposed to protect us from? The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Hamas? Terrorists with suitcase bombs? The Pirates of the Caribbean?
There is no need for the USS George H.W. Bush. It might as well be renamed the USS Pork H.W. Barrel.
I was struck by the contrast of this obscenely extravagant piece of military waste with the $725,000 in federal funds given to programs to combat coral reef degradation.
While there is no significant military threat to the USA from the oceans, there is a severe marine environmental threat. Seafood populations are crashing as marine ecosystems are falling apart. Fishermen are going out of business because they can’t catch enough seafood to even pay for the fuel they use to get out of port.
Coral reef degradation is a big part of the problem. Deep sea reefs are being destroyed by poorly-regulated fishing operations, while tropical reefs are suffering from a combination of pollution, overfishing, increasing sea temperature, and ocean acidification resulting from increased atmospheric CO2 levels.
The degradation of coral reefs is having a strong negative impact on the American food supply and general economy right now, and the problem is rapidly getting worse. $725,000 in federal funds isn’t going to hack it.
What if that gigantic, 22-story aircraft carrier weren’t built, and that 62 billion dollars was used instead to deal with the problem of coral reef degradation in American waters? That 62 billion dollars would pay for 85,517 years of coral reef protection grants, funded at current levels.