By Song Zhongping
US top Navy officers now want their aircraft carrier captain Brett Crozier back in his position after he urged the protection for his navy crew members by whistleblowing the virus via a fraught letter to US Navy leadership.
Crozier should be restored to command of the Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy’s top officials appealed on Friday.
The Navy civilian leadership, under the politics-oriented baton of the White House, may never get back its authority and credibility they lost among Navy troops when they removed and reprimanded captain of the Theodore Roosevelt who strove to save lives of his sailors at the coronavirus-stricken ship.
Crozier was not only made the scapegoat for management flaws in the US military, his firing exposed the long-standing rift between the military and civilian leadership of the US Navy.
The appeal for restoring Crozier’s position brings such escalated contradiction in one of the most important US military divisions to the public again.
Captain Crozier was rudely removed earlier this month by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who resigned days later. Crew members chanted Crozier as their “hero” in a farewell to him, and expressed their frustration about his leaving.
It has been a scandal in the history of the US Navy that rocked its leadership, and also further fanned the angers of the US public who has already been overwhelmed by the pandemic.
Crozier is only one of the military leaders in the Navy system who has been rebuked for breaking the rules set by the civilian leaders, and punished for urging attentions to crew members’ individual health conditions that the White House would prefer to ignore.
The Roosevelt has been one of the largest cluster infections in the US. More than 969 members of its crew have tested positive, including the Crozier himself, with one sailor has died of complications.
Both Crozier and crew members onboard the Roosevelt have been victims of the federal administration’s feckless handling of the COVID-19.
The incident serves as an accurate reflection of how US senior civilian leaders made wrong decisions that can cause losses to weaken the nation’s defense following the principle of political interests coming first.
These civilians prioritize the US President Donald Trump’s personal political interests especially during a presidential election year. This is reflected by how they might have felt reluctant to send thousands of Roosevelt crew members ashore in Guam for quarantine as they worried it impaired the capacity of the fleet sailing across the Pacific, a realm critical to US national security strategies, and discounted its deterrence effect to China.
But they did not realize President Trump may pay for that if the fleet repeated the tragedy of Cruise ship Diamond Princess and kept reporting growing number of infections that demoralize the US Navy members as a whole. The president, after all, is the highest commander in chief of the entire US military.
Calling Crozier back is an open challenge of Navy forces to the rude decision made by the US Department of Defense to press all Navy forces to adhere their mission despite the worsening epidemic situation.
Holding crew members onboard and following through with a mission despite the spread of the COVID-19 mirrors US deep concerns over its inability to maintain maritime hegemony. It may eventually destroy its Indo-Pacific strategy, its capacity to constrain China, as well as its leadership in the Five Eyes alliance.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item