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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Navy versus Whales

First, George W. Bush is not a king, and his signing an order exempting the Navy from compliance with environmental rules targeted directly at the Navy is awful. The order was related to using active sonar.

"An NRDC-led coalition of wildlife advocates succeeded in restricting the U.S. Navy's use of a powerful active sonar system known as SURTASS LFA in 2003." Here is a link to an little video clip, narrated by Pierce Brosnan no less, and an article by the NRDC.

I think protecting marine mammals is very important, even a moral obligation. The one thing that concerns me about the tone of the NRDC's fight, is the idea that nothing is lost by restricting the use of active SONAR. Active SONAR is an important tool in engaging the very quiet diesel electric submarines. Also, using sonar is much more difficult that one may think. For example, it is about a million times more difficult to use that RADAR. To be good at it, sailors have to train on it. And, there are limitations to simulators.

That said, the potential threat may be too slight to justify harming living sea creatures today. That is a worthy discussion.

1 comment:

Matt Dick said...

I am not anti-whale. In fact I am reasonably anti-zoo and anti-aquariums if you're talking about the cetaceans. I'm getting less tolerant of mistreatment of animals as I get older.

I am however, very, very pro-staying-free. I'm so pro-staying-free that I can sacrifice some whales for the purposes of making sure we can find all the old super-silent Russian submarines that are now being put asea by Iran (this statement as a proxy for all sorts of enemies who we effectively combat with active sonar).

I just can't be that nice to animals. Once we have a better way to ensure our safety from those threats, I will advocate for keeping whales safe.

And I really will. I am very against oceanaria.