USS Gerald Ford – $14 billion lethal creation

Obama – another aggressive act against the world

By TONY SEED, Revised on Nov. 18, 2013 and Dec. 20, 2013

2013.USS Gerald Ford launchAT A TIME of massive cuts in social spending, a record debt of $17 trillion USD, a decaying economy, and mass poverty in the USA and throughout the world, the Obama presidency has launched its lead ship in the U.S. Navy’s next class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers at an estimated cost of some $14 billion USD.  With that money, the lives of millions of children could have been saved.

Described as “the most technologically advanced aircraft carrier the United States has built” by Associated Press and, in the same breath, “truly a technological marvel,” by U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the USS Gerald Ford was inaugurated on Saturday, November 11, at Norfolk in the state of Virginia. Some 20,000 spectators were assembled from the Newport News Shipbuilding yard owned by Grumman Northrup and from the US Atlantic Second Fleet, whose headquarters are in Norfolk and whose commander also heads the NATO fleet, for the triumphal ceremony.

The modular built, nuclear aircraft carrier – also dubbed the “deadliest” ever built – is a lethal, offensive creation. Capable of long deployments thousands of miles from the American continent, the supercarrier constitutes a virtual seaborne military base – the flight deck is five acres – that can lie like a fortified island just outside the territorial sea of the target country, the twenty-first century equivalent of twentieth-century nuclear blackmail and nineteenth-century gunboat policy.

“She will carry unmanned aircraft, joint strike fighters, and she will deploy lasers,” the American admiral boasted. It’s designed to get more fighter planes in the sky in less time and to be ready to incorporate unmanned aircraft into its air wing, AP reports. With electromagnetic catapults and an enhanced 5-acre flight deck, it has two runways that can handle significantly more flights than current aircraft carriers. It will be equipped with stealth technology to help cloak its movements. It is designed to carry 75 aircraft, including the F-35s when the advanced jet fighters are ready. It will be manned by 4,660 sailors.

No other country in the world can boast of a warship like this, equipped with sophisticated nuclear weapons, able to get within a few miles of any of its target countries. Until the Ford comes online, the U.S. Navy currently boasts a 10-carrier fleet – 10 Nimitz aircraft carriers whose parameters, more or less similar, are the following: maximum load capacity of between 101 and 104 thousand tons; 999-feet-long and 230.4-feet-wide deck; two nuclear reactors; maximum speed of 35 miles/hour; capacity for 90 war planes. The last to be commissioned bore the name of George H.W. Bush. It has sufficient reserves to triple or quadruple the power of any of its naval fleets in a given theatre of operations. China, incidentally, has just one used aircraft carrier, Liaoning, bought second-hand from the Ukraine and now undergoing sea trials.

The imperial project is the first carrier redesign in four decades and is scheduled to join the Pacific Fleet in 2016. It will be followed by the John F. Kennedy and new Enterprise carriers. In contrast, the USS Gridley was launched in the port of Miami in February, 2007 at a cost of a mere $1 billion USD. That warship was also deployed to the Pacific Fleet. The USS Ford is the lead ship of a new class of warships, the c class, the first of three new aircraft carriers being built by Northrup Grumman that together are expected to cost more than $43 billion.

Menacing China

What is the declared objective of this warship?  The U.S. has already designated the countries that the USS Ford will menace. The “New $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier Is Part of Nation’s Strategic Shift Toward Asia,” heralded the Wall Street Journal in a headline – without mentioning Obama’s “Asia Pivot” strategy unveiled last January by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “The Ford will be one of the leading U.S. warships to be part of the continuing efforts to shift political and military power to Asia, where China and North Korea are viewed as growing challengers to American power around the world.”

Obama’s Asia-Pacific strategy sets a new direction for the U.S. military, shifting the focus of American forces from the two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (but where the U.S.-led NATO force occupies more than 450 bases) to seas and skies of the Pacific – at whatever risk or cost. Since then, Chuck Hagel, Panetta’s successor, has aggressively pushed that plan, making repeated trips to the area to meet with military counterparts and reinforce military cooperation pacts.

The new Ford-class aircraft carrier, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and the Littoral Combat Ship are the three multibillion dollar weapons programs deemed critical to this dangerous strategy. Added to this is another $3.7 billion the US Air Force proposes to spend over five years developing a new, stealth, long-range, manned bomber specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences. [1]

“Integrity at the helm” and the falsification of history

The nuclear carrier was baptized with a bottle of champagne by the daughter of the former Republican U.S. president – the only President and Vice President of the United States who was not elected to either office – and when the warship is only 70 per cent complete.

In a stunning falsification of history, his daughter Bales Ford declared, without contradiction by any media, “You healed the nation (referring to the self-serving title of Ford’s memoirs – TS). You gave the American people a president that was a shining beacon of integrity at the helm,” she said.

English: Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon ...

Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon his departure from the White House after resigning the office of President of the United States following the Watergate Scandal in 1974. | Wikipedia

The ship’s motto is of course “Integrity at the helm.” Ford, who was appointed by Richard Nixon to take his place, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, ascended the presidency and proclaimed that, “Our long national nightmare is over.” Ford gave Nixon a “blanket” pardon for his dealings in the Watergate scandal – which also forgave anything else Nixon might have ever done.

When Nixon’s crimes are mentioned, what people are led to think of was the wiretapping of the Democrats before the election. What is usually omitted from the official record are Nixon’s war crimes in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is what meant when they say Ford “healed the nation,” a slogan being revived in the present climate of deepening factional warfare in the U.S. ruling class and the sequestarian crisis that impacts military funding. Ford served as President until Jimmy Carter took the oval office in January of 1977. Ford died December 26, 2006, at the age of 93, followed by weeks of self-serving eulogies in the media. [2] With such integrity at the helm, who needs principles?

Cheney and Rumsfeld AGAIN

Republicans also took centre stage at the commissioning. On hand were former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the architects of the “War on Terror” and of the “transformation” program of the Pentagon and the NATO bloc, who also spoke honouring Ford. [3]

Northrop Grumman

What is not being reported so widely by the Pentagon information machine is the fact that the USS Ford (as with the Canadian warship shipbuilding program) has run into serious cost overruns of over $2 billion USD. Furthermore, the navy’s estimate “does not include [US]$4.7 billion in research and development costs”, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The warship is only 70 per cent complete, as mentioned. The massive war machine is expected to get underway on sea trials sometime in 2015 or 2016.

The militarization of the economy takes funds out of the economy and concentrates them in the hands of a few. Newport News Shipbuilding is a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., a division of Northrup Grumman, the arms and drone manufacturer with some $34 billion in Pentagon contracts, whose president Ronald D. Sugar, was also a member of the board of directors of the U.S. oil company Chevron Texaco Corp., one of the world’s largest and most profitable oil monopolies. Northrop Grumman is and has been under investigation for everything from allegedly giving the US Navy faulty aircraft, to one of its subsidiaries turning over source code for Air Force One to the Russians. Fully one tenth of the $10 million in U.S. campaign fund contributions made by military monopolies comes from Northrop, not to mention the corrupt list of Bush administration officials which have been stakeholders in this corporation and used their privileged positions for self-serving benefit. In July, 2013 CNBC reported that Northrop Grumman shares are up, with third quarter revenues of over $7 billion “that surpassed analysts’ expectations” and even exceeded 2003 earnings at the onset of the war against Iraq.

In contrast, the people demand an anti-war government and a pro-social policy whereby money should be mobilized for the reproduction of the economy and for investments in public services and social programs to guarantee the well-being of all and their rights, and to humanize the social and natural environment.

Endnotes

David Axe, “Future War with China”?: New US Bomber Aimed at China?,” February 24, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/future-war-with-china-new-us-bomber-aimed-at-china/23360; Carlo Muñoz, “Asia still ‘top of the list’ of Pentagon priorities, says Hagel,” The Hill, October 28, 2013. Subscription required.

Meanwhile, in a related series of moves to bolster military power in Asia, the United States has deployed long-range spy drones to Guam, test-flown a new carrier-launched drone fighter, begun development of new supersonic anti-ship missiles, and – all in addition to the big ticket weapons programmes. These moves include a decision to deploy an initial 250 U.S. Marines – someday to be upped to 2,500 – to an Australian air base in Darwin on that country’s north coast; the adoption on November 18, 2011 of “the Manila Declaration,” a pledge of closer U.S. military ties with the Philippines and a recent agreement on the use of the massive Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Bases as well as other repair and supply hubs from the Vietnam War era; and the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia. Adding to the more than 200 U.S. bases that have encircled China for decades in Japan, South Korea, Guam, and Hawaii, the Pentagon is “considering future bases in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, while pushing stronger military ties with India. Every year in the region, the military conducts around 170 military exercises and 250 port visits. On South Korea’s Jeju island, the Korean military is building a base that will be part of the U.S. missile defense system and to which U.S. forces will have regular access.” (David Vine, “US Empire of bases grows,” November 14, 2013, https://tonyseed.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/us-empire-of-bases-grows/)

2 Gerald R. Ford

According to an article published by a day later by mediamouse.org, an independent website in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ford’s home base, “Ford supported the repressive government in the Philippines in its counterinsurgency war against rebels. During the coup in Argentina in 1976, Ford supported the generals who took power and slaughtered thousands of dissidents. Under Ford the US provided millions of dollars in military aid to the right-wing movement in Angola known as UNITA. He negotiated military bases in Spain with the fascist dictator Franco. Ford maintained the illegal terror war and embargo against Cuba and was president during the final days of the US occupation of South Vietnam.

Ford is an apt name for an aggressive warship to be deployed against the peoples of East Asia. “Probably the foreign policy that best defines Ford was his support of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor,” the article continues, resulting in the slaughter of one-third of the population.

In December 2001 the National Security Archives finally obtained declassified documentation of what took place at a meeting between Ford, Henry Kissinger, and Indonesian President Suharto on December 5th and 6th in 1975. The documents reveal that Ford and Kissinger not only knew of the Indonesian plans to invade East Timor, but that they offered explicit diplomatic and military support for the invasion, which became a multi-year and bloody genocidal campaign. Word of the invasion got out quickly. According to Chomsky’s The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Ford and Kissinger were confronted by reporters when they landed in Hawaii later that day. Ford said “we’ll talk about that later,” but his press secretary Ron Nessen later gave a statement that read, “The United States is always concerned about the use of violence. The President hopes it can be resolved peacefully.” (page 156) Ford’s concern quickly led to more military support as the Indonesian Army massacred East Timorese peasants. Details of the slaughter were discussed on Democracy Now at the time of Ford’s death, the mediamouse.org reports.

3. According to a 2011 Brown University’s “Costs of war” project, that war has now cost up to $4 trillion and 225,000 people “by a very conservative estimate” in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, including men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians. (The study does not include Homeland Security, the NSA, or planned modernization for the US military.) Much of these fantastic sums is gravy for the financial oligarchy and devastation in terms of the production of real goods and services for the economy: “Because the war has been financed almost entirely by borrowing, $185 billion in interest has already been paid on war spending, and another $1 trillion could accrue in interest alone through 2020.” The strategy to dominate and capture Asia is directly in their service.

Related reading on this website

US navy’s latest lethal creation,” LUIS ALBERTO CHIRINOACN Special Service, February 20, 2007, https://tonyseed.wordpress.com

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “USS Gerald Ford – $14 billion lethal creation

  1. Pingback: Hagel: Asia ‘top of the list’ of Pentagon priorities | Tony Seed's Weblog

  2. Pingback: Feverish expansion of the special forces of Obama’s outlaw state | Tony Seed's Weblog

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