A reader tipped me off to this story by Robert Novak: Marines vs. Military-Industrial Complex:
The U.S. Navy’s last two battleships appeared in December 2005 to have seen their final combat, on their way to being museum pieces. That’s not necessarily so. A decision to be made on Capitol Hill this week will determine whether the USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin are ready for a possible naval confrontation in the Persian Gulf with Iran.
Advocates of maintaining the World War II-vintage warships as troop-support firing platforms fell short nine months ago in efforts to block a provision in the Defense Department authorization bill sending the vessels to museums. Overlooked then was the bill’s conference report requiring that the battle wagons be returned to active duty if the president declares a national emergency. But they will be useless relics unless this year’s Defense authorization prohibits changes in the battleships that “would impair their military utility.”
I thought this was a dead horse. But, hey! Still time to get a few kicks in!
At issue in the conference to resolve Senate and House differences on the authorization bill (continuing to meet this week) is language in the House Armed Services Committee report. It would require that the battleships “must not be altered in any way that would impair their military utility” and “must be preserved in their present condition.”
The potential to use the battleships in a “show of force” against Iran is called a main reason to keep them around. While I’m a bit skeptical that it’s a good idea to retire them old ladies, I sure don’t think that refitting and crewing them in time to avert a potential war with Iran is going to happen.
Speaking of old battleships: Murdoc is going to be taking the Hard Hat Tour of the USS Texas (BB 35) on October 14th. If you’re in the area, stop by and we’ll go crawling through areas of the ship normally closed to the public. Let me know if you’ll be there.