The silver lining to the fog of war is that hostile acts of destruction
enable the military to order new weapons systems. The self-inflicted sabotage
of the battleship Maine rallied the American public to build new steamships
to capture Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines from Spanish control.
The sinking of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor sparked the biggest naval
expansion in world history. Human lives are merely a part of the price.
As put by the Beat poet Allen Ginzberg: “War is good for business. Invest
Today, the greatest threat confronting the U.S. Navy does not come from
Russia, China or even the outlands of North Korea, but arose from the
Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in spring 2011. Six years of continuous radioactive
releases into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean have seriously contaminated
dozens of American naval vessels and their personnel, at least 16 warships
and 70,000 servicemen by the Navy’s own count. Based on closer examination
of naval records of voyages, the total number is at least double that
rather low official estimate.
The Pentagon is now facing a hard choice: to scrap its radioactive fleet
and dump the mess at Hanford nuclear site and inside veterans hospitals,
or arrange a naval war to sink the lethal vessels and their human cargo
in foreign waters.
Considering the rising cost of health care and burden of student loans,
American taxpayers are in no mood to finance the scrapping of supercarriers
and missile destroyers or paying to build replacement vessels. The only
way to rally the public to trade in their paltry savings accounts for
armaments procurement is the outbreak of war with a supremely evil enemy.
With Syria now relegated to a minor-league battlefield for jihadists,
and the Mediterranean shore with its luxury hotels on Israeli beaches
being unsuitable for naval warfare, the Pentagon has found a distant villain
in North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who talks tough and fires short-range
rockets in the general direction of the USA. Therefore, its one-reactor
nuclear program is being promoted as the casus belli for a coming war.
Never mind that the North Koreans are merely trying to build a minimal
deterrence capability against the vastly bigger nuclear programs of Japan
and South Korea, which go secretly approved by Washington DC. The logic
goes: If only Tokyo had dropped its nuclear load on Pyongyang instead
of dumping it into the Pacific, none of this would be happening.
Ducks in a Shooting Gallery
Three USN supercarrier strike groups are now heading for the Sea of Japan,
a narrow (1,000 kilometers at the widest point) enclosed body of water.
There in its calm dark waters, a dozen big ships along with some 130 naval
jets and dozens of helicopters will be parked like ducks in a row inside
a shooting gallery.
If the North Koreans hesitate to open fire, for obvious reasons of national
survival and common sense, there is a back-up team of shooters, namely
the Maritime Self-Defense Force of Japan. A volley of Mitsubishi anti-ship
missiles should do the job of sinking the U.S. Seventh Fleet and drowning
the American sailors. The news media will assign the blame on Pyongyang
for the dastardly deed. The Second Korean War will ensue, leaving millions
dead from explosions and smoke, and in the chaos and fright nobody will
notice the treacherous charade that sparked the brutal massacres of friends
and foes alike.
Donald Trump has promised a huge increase in defense spending for new
equipment so the Navy will not be rendered toothless. Half of its carriers
and destroyers are now dangerously radioactive but, if current policy
holds, these damaged goods will soon be sold off as scrap metal to South
Korean and Taiwanese shipyards, eliminating any residual evidence of high
treason. Shinzo Abe and Trump will emerge as victors over totalitarianism,
much like Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta. Since the media applause will
be thunderous, drowning out any and all critics, I am compelled to quietly
write this near-term history in advance.
Paying back the US by killing Americans
The Japanese government is eager to oblige in the elimination of the seaborne
evidence, since it was its reactors at Fukushima that hold liability for
irradiating dozens of American warships and their crews. Tokyo has been
obligated to the American side to sink the USS Ronald Reagan ever since
the Japanese authorities failed to issue a warning about the weapons-grade
plutonium released during the Reactor 3 meltdown in mid-March 2011. The
unrepentant revanchist Abe, in any case, will relish the coming spectacle
with a hearty “banzai” to avenge the Imperial fleets lost at the Battle
of Midway and in the Coral Sea.
The Shock of Fukushima
The retreat of the USS Reagan from the coast of Sendai was a memorable
event worthy of a disaster movie, as helicopters delivering aid to the
tsunami survivors raced back to the carrier after weapons-grade plutonium
in the air set off their isotope-detecting geiger counters. At the time,
the U.S. commanders were not clued into the fact that the mixed-oxide
fuel at Fukushima was involved in plutonium production for secret underground
warhead facilities in nearby Hirono and Haramachi. Their understandable
assumption was that a foreign power had exploded a hydrogen bomb over
Fukushima, and so the good ship Reagan made a U-turn and fled to the open
sea, but sadly too late since its air vents were by then heavily irradiated.
Unbeknownst to captain and crew was that the carrier’s desalination system
was filling up with radioactive seawater flushed out of the Fukushima
No.1 plant’s cooling system. Every cup of coffee, shower and any food
boiled in water was lethal for crew members. A consequent flurry of odd
cancers, miscarriages and defects in newborns motivated many of the crew
members to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for failing to alert them
to the radioactivity threat and not decontaminating the ship. Instead
of admitting the mistakes, the Pentagon has stonewalled the victims.
After its return to San Diego, the USS Reagan was towed to the Bremerton
Naval Shipyard in Puget Sound where all its innards, from venting and
pipes to electronics and computers, were stripped out, piled aboard a
train and dumped at the Hanford Nuclear Site. The hulk was then towed
back to San Diego where it idled until its internal systems were patched
together into a semblance of battle-readiness. Built a a cost of $6 billion,
the USS Reagan is overdue for scuttling, and unfortunately the crew with
The carrier USS George Washington, which retreated before reaching Fukushima
for the Operation Tomodachi (Friend) relief effort, was pulled out of
its home port of Yokosuka and is now sitting in a Virginia dockyard, supposedly
for nuclear fuel replacement.
The clueless admirals, left out of the loop by the Department of Energy
(DOE) about the continuing threat gushing from Fukushima, unwisely allowed
the supercarrier USS Nimitz to patrol off the China coast and then sail
home along the North Pacific Current, the conveyor belt for radioactive
releases from Fukushima to the American coastline. It, too, ended up at
Bremerton shipyard for a year, and has since been parked in Everett, Washington
State, under showers of radioactive rainfall.
Meanwhile, the carrier Carl Vinson was in the Arabian Sea where the body
double of “Osama Bin Laden” was laid on its flattop deck and unceremoniously
tossed overboard in a supposed “Islamic burial”. Under Muslim custom,
believers’ bodies are laid in proper graves in expectation of the Second
Coming. Presumably Osama, version 2, knows how to snorkel and swim on
the Day of Reckoning. Then, the Navy made the fatal decision to the send
the Vinson to the Philippines, just in time to be hit by high-level nuclear
waste aboard barges sunk by the Japanese in to the Philippine Trench.
An Easter Blasphemy
At the time of writing, Easter Sunday 2017, the three aircraft carriers
are plying their ways from Australia, San Diego and Hawaii toward Davy
Jones’ Locker. The American sailors will soon reenact the destruction
of the Russian Tsar’s Baltic Fleet at the entrance of the Japan Sea in
the Battle of Tsushima. My grandfather in his youth celebrated that stunning
victory, so why am I already mourning the coming slaughter at sea when
the sailors, pilots and Marines are already doomed by radioactive exposure?
I suppose it is more heroic to die from friendly fire than to waste away
inside a veteran’s hospital. And better for the bottom line and big investors,
just ask the shrewd Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin of Goldman Sachs.
In eulogy before the shooting in the back begins, let us sing the U.S.
“Stand Navy out to sea, fight our battle cry!
We'll never change our course so vicious foes steer shy-y-y-y!
Roll out the TNT, anchors aweigh!
Sail on to victory, and sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!
“Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!
Farewell,to Foreign Shores we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay;
Through our last night ashore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more.”
Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor with The Japan Times group, is a science
journalist based in Hong Kong.