In regards to the column “Advent vigil at BIW shows this is a time for peace” (Nov. 23), the authors raise a number of important issues, but weaken their argument by resorting to hyperbole and specious reasoning. Full disclosure: I worked for the U.S. Navy in Aegis and Ballistic Missile Defense for over 30 years.

The labelling of Arleigh Burke Destroyers as WMDs is overblown. It is true that the ships can carry nuclear capable Tomahawk cruise missiles, but this is not the standard loadout for deployment.  The armament of any individual ship is classified, but in my experience the vast majority of deployed ships are not so equipped.

As for the charge that the weapons are used to “kill indiscriminately,” I can attest that the U.S. Navy has continually refined its weapons capability to engage hostile targets while minimizing any collateral casualties. As for deploying U.S. assets in the Pacific to “threaten China and perpetuate an arms race,” U.S. Navy vessels operate in international waters. Clearly, China’s construction of artificial islands and expanding claims of territory in the area are far more provocative than any U.S. actions.

There is a valid concern about the size and composition of U.S. military assets, including U.S. Navy ships. My personal opinion is that there is a lack of clarity in the country’s mission in the world, causing a buildup of military might to cover any and all contingencies. This is not necessarily the best use of the country’s resources.

Finally, I would remind the authors that the person Jesus found to have the most faith (Luke 7:9) was a senior non-commissioned officer of an occupying force (i.e., a Centurion). It would seem our Lord was less judgmental than the authors towards those who hold differing views.


Joseph E. Blackwell


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