I received a package in the mail two days ago from a friend in Hawaii. She sent me the front-page story from the Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper that screamed with the headline "War machines touted as agents of mercy". A large photo carried the caption that began with "US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers toured the USS Anchorage at Pearl Harbor".
Hagel is on a mind-washing trip throughout the Pacific in order to sell the notion that Obama's 'pivot' of 60% of Pentagon forces into the region is a "sign of the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief the US military can provide."
As evidence of this kind and gentle spirit Hagel's public relations team suggested that the amphibious assault landing craft they toured "works well for humanitarian assistance" because it has two medical operating rooms and a six-bed intensive care unit. So next time there is a tsunami or any other kind of natural disaster where hundreds of thousands are impacted - have no worries because here comes the assault landing craft.
"The US is not retreating from any part of the world. There is no indication of that, especially in the Middle East," Hagel said, adding America has a "tremendous resource asset base" there.
Hagel noted that America has 300,000 men and women stationed or deployed abroad in almost 100 countries.
It was interesting that even the craven Honolulu Star Advertiser (the name of the paper reeks of corporate control) could not entirely buy the elixir that Hagel was peddling. Their screaming headline reeked of skepticism and cynicism. But in the end the paper fell into line and ran a four-picture spread that helped promote the Pentagon's message.
When I was in the Philippines last year I heard the same story about expanding US military operations there - except those using the "humanitarian and disaster relief" lingo was the Filipino government. Already the US war machine has its regional puppets repeating the mantra.
So will the Navy's new Zumwalt destroyer, set to receive the "blessings of christ" on Saturday here in Bath, be a $4 billion "humanitarian and disaster relief" warship? How many hospital beds does it have?
Why not end the pretense and just build hospital ships with hundreds and hundreds of beds and send them into the Pacific to deal with the coming ravages of climate change? Why not change the name of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to the 'Natural Guard' and just be done with it?
We are told the Zumwalt will be home ported in San Diego, which confirms that the mission of the destroyer will be to sneak up on China and prepare to blast them. Maybe after the war with China ships like the Zumwalt can stitch up those maimed by the battle so they can be sent back to work in the sweatshops run by the mega-corporations who make our stuff these days.