So this is LCS 10: the U.S.S. — ugh — Gabrielle Giffords. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus sure was a politician in his previous job.
It’s bad enough the Navy’s taken to naming ships after living people (the George H.W. Bush, the Jimmy Carter) and members of Congress (the Carl Vinson, the John C. Stennis). But the U.S.S. Gabrielle Giffords is a new low, reeking of shameless exploitation of a tragedy.
The Littoral Combat Ship is the neither-nor of the Navy. It’s a minehunter that will not survive — by the Navy’s own admission! — a blast from a mine. It’s brand new and corroding. It does too many missions and none of them well. Oh, and it’s way, way over budget, after the Navy promised Congress a cheap ship. Don’t worry, the Navy only wants 55 of them.
So. You’ve got a clunker — a floating Bradley Fighting Vehicle — that you’ve invested much of your future in buying. Might there be a national hero and symbol of resilience to name it after? Maybe a member of Congress, even? Someone that, by association, would make a legislator who questions the value or utility of the LCS shut up, real fast?
After all, no one wants the headline, “Senator Bashes Gabrielle Giffords” — let alone “Senator SLASHES Gabrielle Giffords.” It’s all in the game, Mr. Mabus, so I suppose I can’t hate the player. But what happens when a mine disables the Gabrielle Giffords?