It would seem to be difficult to impugn the motives of the U.S. government, the mission of the U.S. Navy and the policies of President George Washington in one short note, but a recent letter managed to do all three.
The assignment of the aircraft carrier George Washington to the gulf for potential use against the rogue nation Iraq was exactly the kind of action that would have been taken by President Washington.
In 1794, Washington requested, and the Congress authorized, the building of six state-of- the-art warships. This founded the U.S. Navy. These ships, like the carrier Washington, were desiged to be the biggest and best-equipped ships of their class in the world.
They were specifically requested to suppress the depredations of the Barbary pirate, the Bey of Tunis: the Saddam Hussein of his time. He captured U.S. merchantmen, held their crews for ransom and asked for ever-larger bribes to insure his future good behavior.
Building such ships required overcoming many technological challenges, but they were ready to sail during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Their deployment taught the pirates a lesson they never forgot.
George Washington did caution his country from becoming entangled in the political struggles of Europe. He did not want the United States to become swallowed up as a minor participant in an issue not directly related to its future. On many occasions, he said the United States needed to develop its own independent capabilities.
George Washington would have been proud of the actions of our government, and his namesake.
COL. LARRY HILLEBRAND, USAF (Ret) Williamsville