To the Editor:
Research and development for the Gerald R. Ford, the first of the Navy’s next generation aircraft carriers, is projected to be 5 billion dollars. Construction is estimated at 9 billion, with commissioning set for 2015. A second ship is scheduled for 2019 and a total of ten by 2058. Skipping past the sheer impact on our federal deficit and and our assumption of the role of international cop, these new carriers are, primarily, attack weapons of war, capable of both missle and air strikes. An argument against carriers is that fully outfitted and armed each would constitute upward from 20 billion dollars worth of floating investment and equipment, a most tempting target. Also somewhat discomfitting is that the Navy is reestablishing its 4th Fleet, headed by just such an aircraft carrier, for operations in the Caribbean “to support counter-terrorism efforts and to protect our national interests” in Central and South America, regions in which our “economic interests” have frequently run counter to sovereign governments. Given our penchant lately for attacking prickly, independent rulers of oil-rich nations, one may question if perhaps Hugo Chavez and the oil fields of Venezuela might be next in our “counter-terrorism” sights.