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Ship names: Dump the politics
The U.S. Navy employs certain conventions when naming its ships. Until politics intervenes.
The Obama administration has upended these conventions from time to time to make political statements. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has named two Lewis and Clark-class supply ships after activists (labor activist Cesar Chavez and murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers), a San Diego-class docking ship after former Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., and most recently a littoral combat ship after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
Murtha, a former Marine, joined Barack Obama in opposing the Iraq war. In 2005 he accused Marines of intentionally killing Iraqi civilians. The ship bearing his name is used by Marines. How thoughtless.
The Washington Times reported this week that the Navy is shifting back to its regular naming conventions after taking a lot of criticism for naming ships after activists and Democratic politicians instead of U.S. cities or, say, war heroes. That's a welcome change. But the fact that the administration ignored the conventions as it did is yet another example of how deeply it is driven by politics. It rarely misses a chance to use its power to push a political or social agenda, even in areas where they do not belong.
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