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post #14 of Old 10-12-2008
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Obviously the subtle and nuanced approach taken by your humble correspondent was ineffective. HS got much more the effect I was seeking.

Dave's last post makes all clear. The US Navy is not engaged in legitimate training exercises; they're out "playing". And their playing should be done far from where their offending presence might meet Dave's sensitive eyes...the fierce visage of the naked war machine and all that.... Never mind that the US taxpayer puts forth a substantial sum of money for every mile further offshore they must go to exercise. Of course, that's it, there's really no need to exercise, let alone exercise arrogantly, so all should be canceled which will save the taxpayer a bundle and free up the ocean for Dave, the dolphins, and the odd endangered gay whale.

Having never actually worked with the Navy, or apparently done any research into what training is conducted in such exercises, Dave still finds their existence questionable and distasteful, especially to potential foreign visitors. The Navy should perhaps resemble something more like the US Forest Service in Dave's world. Obviously the Navy is in need of a more calming image for Dave's taste; perhaps something on the order of Smokey the Bear. And grey? Certainly we could paint those ships a more appealing and less martial color, something in a pastel perhaps?

I'll speak as a merchant ship officer in saying that naval exercise areas, particularly gunnery exercise areas, are generally a feature of most relevant charts. I stay out of them be they foreign or domestic. When I received notice of naval protocol on the approaches to Leningrad, at the eastern end of the Baltic, I complied with Soviet protocol. Had they been conducting exercises offshore, in international waters, I'd have stood clear, way clear. Heck, I put the rudder over for any naval fleet anywhere in the world; nothing but bad things can happen by unnecessarily close encounters with any of them. And other nations have this odd notion that those warships out there flying their national ensign are a direct reflection of not only their national sovereignty but their national pride as well. I can respect that. I can even show a little respect for that. Heck, I'll even dip my ensign out of respect for that. We'll leave flag protocol for another day lest we get off the topic of matters Admiralty.

If one were to look up the USS Liberty one would find that the Israeli's fired upon her for just wandering into Israeli territorial waters. And she was a US naval ship herself! Believe me when I tell you that foreign ships respect naval exercises and the territorial waters of other nations. As do US ships their's.

Dave is correct in the Navy projecting an appearance of arrogance. He inadvertently reveals an historical fact; there has never been a great power that was not a maritime power. (and there never will be.) And the ability to project that power around the world is still largely a naval matter. One might recall Teddy Roosevelt and the Great White Fleet, which he sent on a world tour by way of advertising American naval power. It was definitely designed to have an appearance of arrogance. I'm not at all sure what Dave thinks is the purpose of a Navy.

If you damaged your boat avoiding an area of naval exercise, or through the orders given by the commanders of such exercise, you actually do have recourse through a court of Admiralty. Happens all the time. I suspect, in your particular example, you might have trouble winning or even proving your vessel was seaworthy, but you have that option. You could look it up. Try Black on Admiralty.

I want to conclude with an avoidance of any type of wording that might be interpreted as passive aggressive. Let's just say that I prefer to convey a purely and overtly aggressive and hostile message for purposes of clarity. Dave's above posts reveal more about himself than they do the practice of naval exercises at sea. He's more concerned with the appearance a Navy might create than any possible use to which one might be put. And that merely reflects his apparent belief that the US herself is nothing more than an arrogant nation with a desire to control and order the rest of the world around. That the US is largely desirous of non-involvement with the rest of the world apparently is not part of Dave's experience portfolio. The isolationist tendency runs strong in the US and, while we'd like to trade with most nations, we're mostly content that they run their own affairs as they choose. That we are forced to fund not only a Navy but a large military largely because of the conflicts our allies either start or cannot finish is a bone of contention that rankles almost all Americans. And if we come across as a bit arrogant, it might have something to do with the fact that we've spent the last almost one hundred years bailing out the rest of the world from the troubles it has created. And we've done so, I might add, largely on our own dime with barely a token repayment. A simple thank you is largely what we ask for and receive. Then the rest of the world can get back to ignoring the need for forces maritime knowing that it can just whistle up the arrogant US Navy to bail them out. But you keep on apologizing for the US and her arrogant Navy, Dave. I'm sure it's difficult being associated with such an unenlightened country such as it. In my opinion, your dangerous naiveté is not limited to matters naval, it seems to have no boundaries at all. It seems to be a feel-good emotionalism unencumbered by either facts or a knowledge of history. It's probably best to avoid the high seas.
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