Sunday, August 21, 2005

San Francisco goes to war... 

... against war:
The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.

Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.
Senator Feinstein, that well known hawk, called it a "very petty decision" and opined that "This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in." Well, that's probably taking a bit too far. Not for nothing, after all, did Jeanne Kirkpatrick way back in 1984 distilled everything that was wrong about the Democratic Party's approach to foreign policy in these three words: "San Francisco Democrats". True, the Dems merely happened to hold their convention in SF that year, so it's not all fault of the local Dems, but the fact that the party did so at that particular point in time is also quite indicative.

In the meantime, feel free to offer city supervisors some ideas on how to recognize war in a peaceful sort of way. Try sinking the USS Iowa to make it a defeated sort of an attraction, perhaps. Or maybe invest in a giant white flag to be flown over the city hall.


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