Destroyer Escorts

Perhaps it’s because my late father served in the Navy during World War II, but I have always had somewhat of a fascination with ships and to a lesser degree naval strategy. Mind you, it is a fascination; not an obsession and I certainly wouldn’t claim to know more than the admirals. It appears (probably by accident) that President Trump has structured his administration much like a naval combat group. Let’s explore.

The heart of a naval combat group is the aircraft carrier. It is generally in the center of the formation with more expendable ships ringing it. During World War II those outer ships were mainly destroyers (DD) and the slightly smaller, less heavily armed destroyer escorts (DE). They physically formed a screen through which enemy ships and airplanes had to penetrate if they wanted a direct shot at the aircraft carrier. They were often dispatched to scout for and attack a rival vessel (usually a submarine).

One of Combat Group Trump’s primary missions appears to be the destruction of all progressive achievements post the Civil War and particularly those from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration forward. Trump has selected several Cabinet Secretaries who outright oppose the prime mission of the Departments they will be heading.

In Rex Tillerson he has a Secretary of State who is more concerned with personal enrichment than American security. In fact, Tillerson’s are not the only troubling ties to business or Russia.

Public education is the foundation of our educational system and one of the greatest enablers of the American dream. Yet, in Betsy DeVos he has selected someone who is vehemently anti-public education.

The main purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect the environment. What does Trump do? He nominates Scott Pruitt, who not only is actively suing the EPA; he doesn’t believe in the greatest threat to the environment – climate change.

The role of the Press Secretary is to inform the press of the President’s position, (some spin certainly expected). The press in turn informs the public. A free press is necessary in order to have a functioning democracy. Rumors are that Trump intends to kick the press out of the White House. (If nothing else I took that as a not very subtle “shot across the bow”.) Saturday in his first interaction with the White House Press Corp, Sean Spencer scolded, lied to and refused to take questions from the assembled media.

Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Energy is none other than former Texas Governor (and far from poster boy for brilliance) Rick Perry who famously couldn’t remember that the third agency of government he intended to eliminate if elected President was – you guessed it – the Department of Energy. That may be the worst nomination since George W. Bush made UN hating John Bolton the American UN Ambassador via a recess appointment.

Sunday, Trump’s most frequent media representative and Counselor, Kellyanne Conway told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press that the Trump administration was operatizing with, “Alternate facts”. Conway is a master liar. In fact she is a much better liar than he boss – some of her lies at first glance are convincing. Paraphrasing the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Alternate facts are lies!

Now to continue the fleet metaphor just a bit further, Trump is the aircraft carrier. Among other things the aircraft carrier provides air cover for the rest of the battle group. Trump sucks up the “oxygen” in the media with his outrageous tweets. The media has finite resources, a disproportionate share of which are allocated to the tweets, which are simply too easy to criticize. He is now signing executive orders that are so vague as to give cover to the destroyers at their agencies. Even if the executive orders are eventually declared to be inadequate cover they allow the destroyers to disrupt things for some time to come. (This is a topic for another day(s), but it illustrates the importance of the open Supreme Court seat.)

If the press and the people can sink the destroyers then we can minimize the damage the carrier can do. You have your orders America; now do you duty. If you see something; shout about it!

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