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November 2, 2009

The “U.S.S. World Trade Center” in Front of… Well, You Get the Drift

USS New York.jpg

(Click for larger size)

I’m in awe of the military industrial complex marketing geniuses on this one.

Think anybody is going to bat an eye about a new amphibious transport dock ship when you name it the U.S.S. New York, melt 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel into it, then preview it in the New York harbor in line with where the Trade Towers stood (in this case, also parking 9/11 victims family members in the foreground).

Like a giant Transformer playing on the massive ego blow to the city and to the United States — you get the subconscious hit that the ship, literally embodying the remains of the victims, could actually be the reincarnation of of one the towers, except now doing its thing horizontally, morphed into a man o’ war, and ready — for a mere $1.2 billion dollars — to kick the ass of the next 11 guys who dare try it again.

All too patriotically heavy-handed slide show here.

(photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images. November 2, 2009. New York City.)

  • DennisQ

    This knee-jerk patriotism as a response to the September 11th attack has about run its course. Time should have made us able to process those events without all this fussy sentimentality.
    I’m not a conspiracist as such, but I think we need to know more about what happened that day. Why did our air defense system completely fail? We also need a more sophisticated understanding of the attackers’ motives. They didn’t do it because they were jealous of our freedoms.
    It’s been eight years. Let’s ask questions that we didn’t ask before, and this time get some convincing answers.
    By the way, that’s an boxy-looking ship – it looks like a cross between a destroyer and a tug boat. How does an amphibious transport dock ship symbolize New York’s ordeal on September 11th?

  • mona

    This seems like a much more productive way to have channeled our patriotism, than the way we did.

  • Rafael

    Ironically it is a reflection of what happened after September 11th. After all an amphibious support ship can only be used for one thing, invasion.

  • KingElvis

    I have had this theory kicking around for several years about the MIC.
    These are not Implements of war, they are literally monuments. These monumental superships with their monumental price tags serve mostly as REALLY expensive moving statues.
    These mega price super ships represent global super power, yet they couldn’t protect us against 20 guys with box cutters and a willingness to die.
    Terrorism as anarchists of the late 19th Century developed it was an end around run in the era of the ‘dreadnaught’ or battleship – so this SHOULD be no surprise. Just ask McKinley or for that matter, Theo Roosevelt, both of whom were shot by anarchists. You could say we got all this from WWII, but the reality is that the losing side had all the “gee whiz” futuristic weapons. The side that really ‘won’ the war was Russia (D-day was small potatoes compared to the Russian front) – they had the crudest weapons.
    What is the purpose of the jet fighter today? It’s purpose is to fly over NASCAR races and fill us with some kind of awe or bloodlust or – even sentimentality.
    To incorporate Trade Tower wreckage into them is surprisingly candid. It feels like they consulted with me and took my advice that these really are just monuments, rather than implements of power.
    Super weapons are world’s most useless and expensive act of public relations.

  • ratfood

    Hard to make out in the above photo but the ship features two (twin) towers. Looks like they’re multi-purpose comm and utility. One of the two features a vertical mast antenna…
    Sticking a mini replica of the WTC on the deck of a ship might seem like an appropriate 9/11 tribute to a student in a grade school art class, which is apparently where the design concept originated.

  • Bill

    I’m a pretty conservative hawk, having made a career in the military/industrial complex. But this just somehow seems so wrong. Aren’t we supposed to be beating our swords into plowshares? This says nothing but revenge. But on who?
    I believe we need a strong military presence in the world, but we don’t need to turn it into symbol-laden militarism. I doubt history will look favorably on this.
    Meanwhile, in other measures of power, we seem to be sliding:

  • mcmama

    They (amphibious transports) all have two towers. That’s not unique to this ship.
    Just sayin’.

  • mjfgates

    But which one is Isengard?…

  • thomas

    I have a hard time ascribing purely cynical motivations to the project. I mean, for a lot of people 9-11 became a sort of permanent trauma; a violation of something so sacred that they dropped what they were doing and joined the military. A goodly number of otherwise normal, well-adjusted people in this country took it all very, very personally, went apeshit crazy and haven’t yet recovered their senses. I’m not saying that they’re correct in their interpretation of the world, only that they’re true believers. The advertising and marketing people who sell car insurance and potato chips are by comparison largely cynical working stiffs; this thing reads like a sincere expression of that true-believer mindset. It’s like a Sarah Palin rally: mortifying in its wrongheadedness but very real and very genuine. The remark above about its function as a monument, an event of cruel powerlessness transformed into an expression of impotent strength seems close to the mark.

  • KingElvis

    We’re living in the era of “asymmetrical” warfare. That is, mighty martial states like the US and Israel being brought low by a few determined men – in our case by 20 guys with box cutters.
    Knowing this, the Pentagon just doubled down on super weapons – y’know, the ones that DIDN’T WORK because our enemies just step around them.
    I agree with you that there really are true believers – and maybe the Navy has them in spades.
    Knowing that they might feel really sincere about it – yet our ‘defense’ is still about super weapons – the ones our actual enemies ignore – that smacks of a kind of pathos.
    It’s literally a pathetic display of impotent grandeur in that light.

  • KingElvis

    My brother’s in the AF reserve. He teaches on the T-38. These guys are practically knights in armor. But they’re knights circa 1500 AD when the blunderbuss and canon were making them obsolete.
    You hate to tell them that they’re already being replaced by these remote control drones, driven by 20 year old’s with no college or officer’s commission. The harsh truth is, they’re much more effective and precise than roaring in on an F-15.

  • nordmend

    7.5 tons of wtc steel…. that’s like 4 minivans.
    ie, .034% of the gross weight of the ship. (22,000 tons).

  • tora tora tora

    It would be kind of funny if somebody flew a plane into it and sunk it.

  • DennisQ

    In the early days after September 11th, after the initial shock had worn off, the aura of reverential silence had still not settled on Ground Zero. Christmas tourists would pose with beer cans in front of the smouldering pile. This is unthinkable now that Ground Zero has become the Holy of Holies.
    I still think that reverential awe is the wrong response. It’s not more appropriate than a cold anger that such a thing was allowed to happen. Why weren’t we protected? And more importantly, who did this?
    The reverential attitude is keeping us from from a healthy skepticism that would lead to convincing answers. The situation is similar to certain fundamentalists’ refusal to investigate claims of miraculous events. Bernadette of Lourdes has been dead for 130 years, but her body looks today as if she had died yesterday. No, you may not look to see how it was done.

  • magurakurin

    This ship shows how shortsighted and half-assed the Bush Administration was about everything. It is what the Japanese call “chuutohampa.” A real show of strength would have been to build an enormous, biggest in the world super carrier bristling with giant prick like missles of doom and destruction. Not that I would have wished that, but that is what a real he-man warmonger would have done. But that would have cost time and money and entailed work, so naturally the bushies couldn’t have been bothered. They made a transport ship. Sc-a-a-ary monsters!!!!
    But building a military ship of any kind also shows how shortsighted they were and how much the didn’t get it. They should have built a hospital ship and sent it to Somalia and treated people for free and dared the pirates to attack such a ship. Or perhaps some huge cancer research facility backed with massive funding. It would have been PR gold and helped to turn world opinion. And then if they had been smart they wouldn’t have conducted their half-assed war in Afghanistan and of course not Iraq, but instead, quietly worked with the Pakistanis, Jordanians and even the Syrians to send Special Op’s missions to kill off the “terrorists” one by one. But they weren’t smart. They were stupid and cheap as this half-assed display of “power” clearly shows.

  • Crabby

    Yep, they are trophies for the bloodlusters. Like a stags head on the den wall, a ready conversation about the kill. Quite morbid and the opporsite of patriotic.

  • thomas

    I think those are really astute observations; particularly as these sorts of gestures are oriented around mastering our collective anxiety about sudden, incomprehensible death. The ship isn’t just a tool, because tools are practical and their effectiveness can be dispassionately evaluated. The ship is a charm; impractical, mysterious, emblematic, magnetic.

  • assgaard

    relicw(e)ar y

  • ratfood

    Thanks for the info. I guess sometimes a tower is JUST a tower… :-)

  • We Are The 801

    Using the steel from the WTC for a warship. Nope, no lessons learned here! Depressing…

  • FC

    Yes, but also deliver humanitarian relief. But this is indeed the US military industrial complex marketing at work. No one present that day would dare say anything expressed on this website. “Why do you hate America?”

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