I have a healthy cynicism when it comes to the U.S. military, so when this morning I read that the U.S. Navy was sending a warship it used in the Iraq War in 2006 filled with Navy doctors, nurses, dentists, medical technicians, veterinarians and Seabee construction sailors to Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru for a mission called Continuing Promise 2008, a humanitarian mission, you’ll pardon me if I laughed a little.
The mission is supposed to change Latina America’s stereotypes of the U.S.
“It’s amazing sometimes the misperceptions that people have of America and the American people,” said the Boxer’s skipper, Capt. Matt McCloskey. “They think of America as ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ or ‘Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.’
“This is a chance to show them the real America and the real Americans, trying to be good neighbors.”
Except that this one ship comes at the same time the U.S. Navy has decided to set reestablish an entire fleet in the region, and not for a humanitarian mission.
It’s like the U.S. Navy is trying to pull a fast one.
Admiral Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said the decision to establish a separate fleet for the region “recognizes the immense importance of maritime security in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere.”
“This change increases our emphasis in the region on employing naval forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests,” he said.
The navy said they will conduct contingency operations, counter “narcoterrorism” operations, and military-to-military interactions and training with countries in the region.
So Latin America, don’t pay attention to the whole fleet conducting military maneuvers off your shores. We brought doctors on one ship!
Color me not impressed or surprised.