Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Yes, vaya con Dios, Puerto Rico

USNS Comfort
Our President loves diversion twittering to deflect snooping eyes from his lack of leadership and disdain for the “common folk”. This past few days his manufactured compassion centered on respect for the National Anthem prior to professional football games over U.S. citizens… hurting... bad.

Many of our people speak only Spanish and many speak Spanish and English. But all live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. They are the 3.4 million U.S. citizens hurting because of the devastation brought down on them by Hurricane Maria, which was preceded just two weeks earlier by Hurricane Irma.

Do your job Mr. President of all the people: Commit our abundant resources and help our people.

Cold Comfort: Trump's refusal to send hospital ship tips his plan to abandon Puerto Rico, 
DocDawg, dailykos.com, 26 Sept 2017.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
- U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Eight hundred and ninety-four feet long, 106 feet wide, and weighing 69,360 tons, USNS Comfort is a complete ocean-going medical facility with 1,000 patient beds including 80 for intensive care patients. Along with 12 operating rooms she boasts a complete dental clinic, optometry lab and pharmacy, X-ray machines, CT scanners, oxygen and fresh water production plants, capacity to store 5,000 units of blood, laundry operations, and a morgue.

She’s the size of a 20th century supertanker. Indeed, she was a supertanker — the SS Rose City — until purchased by the Navy in 1987 and converted to serve her current lifesaving mission. She and her sister ship in the Pacific, USNS Mercy, are among the rare few assets of the obscenely wealth US military devoted exclusively to saving, rather than taking, lives.

But today, as Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million American citizens slowly die with the island’s hospitals without power and in ruins, Comfort remains snugly berthed in her home port of Norfolk, Virginia.

Why? Because, according to a Pentagon spokesperson, it just won’t fit.

Thomas LaCrosse, the Pentagon’s director of defense support to civil authorities, said U.S. officials discussed deploying the USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico over the weekend but decided that it should stay in Norfolk because it could not get close enough to any port to avoid using helicopter support to get patients to and from the ship.

True enough, the behemoth ship’s deep draft of 30+ feet bars it from San Juan harbor’s 32 to 35 foot channels even at the best of times (and these are far from San Juan’s best times). But, unmentioned in the WaPo article quoted above, that’s nothing new for the Comfort, which routinely anchors a mile or two offshore to serve disaster sites, as it did following Haiti’s devastating earthquake or, again, as it fearlessly did in 2007 in the teeth of a “storm of a decade” off Corinto, Nicaragua, where it anchored 1.5 miles offshore to receive patients. It is such a common fact in the life of this ship of mercy that militaryfactory.com notes as a mere aside that

Comfort has a deep draft and, in many ports, she has to stand offshore at least a mile. To receive wounded, Comfort has a large day-and-night helo pad.

Puerto Ricans, like all other American citizens, should be deeply chilled by the Trump administration’s stubborn refusal to deploy the Comfort, buttressed by such a transparently flimsy excuse. Because if they’re lying about the reason for their decision, then we must ask what the real reason is...and the answer is terrifying.

It can only be this: Trump intends to abandon Puerto Rico at the first opportunity, leaving its 3.4 million American citizens in their current Stone Age hell forever.

--- Or, your holding back a U.S. Navy hospital ship pending your diversionary war with North Korea? - RB

Please go here for the whole story.
Cold Comfort: Trump's refusal to send hospital ship tips his plan to abandon Puerto Rico, DocDawg, dailykos.com, 26 Sept 2017.

--- Late Tuesday, 26 Sept 2017, the U.S. Navy announced that USNS Comfort would be sent to Puerto Rico within five to nine days -  the time required to activate reserve Navy medical staff and provision the ship. - RB

Please see: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/26/politics/us-military-response-puerto-rico-hurricane-maria/index.html

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