Monday, July 03, 2006

Federal judge outlaws the military

Ok, that is a stretch - but read this and let's take it further:
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday barring the Navy from using a type of sonar, allegedly harmful to marine mammals, during a Pacific warfare exercise scheduled to begin this week.

The order comes three days after the Navy obtained a six-month national defense exemption from the Defense Department allowing it to use "mid-frequency active sonar."

Environmental groups had sued to stop the sonar use during the exercises off Hawaii. The sonar portion of the war games was set to start Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote in her order that the plaintiffs "have shown a possibility that RIMPAC 2006 will kill, injure, and disturb many marine species, including marine mammals, in waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands."
Take that logic in.
- Jet fighters flying low level might kill a California Condor. Stop flying out of Lemoore.
- Warships underway might run over a Humpback Whale. Stop the fleet from getting underway from Pearl.
- Tanks and other heavy armor might kill a Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard. Close Twentynine Palms.

Where do you stop? The science is dubious, but Clinton appointed U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper doesn't care. This should get her invited to a few more parties in LA and HI.

When the next war comes and a few thousand Sailors and Marines are fed to the hagfish, I hope none of them are related to Judge Cooper. They will be to someone.

One other thing that has always had me scratching my head. From ~1940 to 1945 the oceans were drenched with sonar of all kinds and explosions galore.....but the whales seemed to have come through with flying colors. Mmmm..... Don't get me wrong, I love the whales and all, and the sonars now are very different than they were back in WWII...but the science is far from clear on this. The "might" is a strong word when it comes to making a decision. RIMPAC only comes every two years. A unique opporunity to refine something you only get a little chance to get right once in war.

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