Greens senator asks last century’s question

Photograph of USS Kitty Hawk in Sydney HarbourI like The Greens. They’re funny. They make me laugh. Haw. Haw. Haw. Snort.

There’s a bloody great aircraft carrier in Sydney Harbour. The whole city’s stopping to gawk at it. One of the most potent, visible symbols of Australia’s alliance with the US — and, by extension, our involvement in the War on Foreign Men with Beards and, you know, that Iraq thing — is sitting right there in front of us. So how does Senator Kerry Nettle use this opportunity?

Senator Kerry Nettle reacts to the Big Bad N-word with all the predictability of a cuckoo clock. Senator Kerry Nettle reckons us Sydneysiders have “a right to know” whether USS Kitty Hawk is carrying nuclear weapons. If it is, Senator Kerry Nettle reckons any accident on the ship could be a “catastrophe”.

No shit, Sherlock! It’s a goddam warship! It’s chock full’o jet fuel, ammunition, lubricants, rocket fuel, missile warheads and a thousand other things that are either as toxic as all get-up or go boom. Got that? Warship. So a couple of nukes buried down in some well-protected hidey-hole is the least of our worries.

And besides, Senator Kerry Nettle, what do you reckon? A US aircraft carrier, based out of Yokosuka, Japan, near that place, oh… what is it again? Yeah, North Korea. And with the job of…? Oh yeah, act as the core of an independent task force in the event of global war, whether conventional or nuclear.

Uhuh.

So, Senator Kerry Nettle, do you reckon the Kitty Hawk might be carrying perhaps just one or two nuclear weapons? Maybe just little ones? Yeah, me too. I reckon there just might be a couple’o nukes here.

While we don’t have a “right to be told” — hey, this is America we’re talking about, they’re answerable only to God — we do have a right to use our brains and figure it out for ourselves.

Or, come to think of it, see if that other Greens guy, Andrew Wilkie, has something more contemporary to say. Apparently he knows about stuff.

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4 comments

  1. Richard’s avatar

    ‘The War on Foreign Men with Beards’ – ooh, well played Sir!

  2. Zhasper’s avatar

    Given that the largest artificial explosion in the world (other than nuclear) was an exploding warship… I don’t think it needs nuclear weapons to be pretty scary

  3. jason’s avatar

    It’s funny.

    Without big ships like that marshalling the world, we’d probably be in trouble from various fronts.

    Without big ships like that causing trouble, we’d probably have less trouble on various fronts.

    But, it’s probably more of the former. Yes, yes, America is bad and Bush is Satan. But we could do a whole lot worse. Lets wait to see how bored China gets after its Olympic party is over. All us greenies might be shouting “quick, get those big ships over there!”

  4. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Richard: Thank you.

    @Zhasper: Excellent pointer, ta! That Halifax explosion and all the other big bangs do make for sobering reading. It’s also interesting to read what really happens when an oil terminal catches fire, as opposed to what Bruce Schneier calls movie-plot terrorist scares.

    There’s two others I found particularly interesting:

    • The Minor Scale tests, essentially “let’s pile up a lot of explosives and see what happens”.
    • The wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, which has been sitting in the Thames Estuary since 1944 with 1500 tons of explosives on board. “Got a light, buddy?”

    @jason: I get the feeling that many of the less-sophisticated critics of foreign and military strategy have no understanding of how the Pax Americana of the last half-century has contributed to their luxurious Western lifestyle.

    Oh, such rich veins of thought to mine for this weekend’s essay(s)…

    But… “‘us’ greenies”?

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