Opinion | For Coronavirus, Trump Is Not the Wartime President We Need – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Rice is a contributing Opinion writer.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Donald Trump declared himself a “wartime president” just three weeks ago. On Twitter, he proclaimed “WE WILL WIN THIS WAR.” At last, he seemed to grasp the gravity of the Covid-19 crisis facing the world. Bluster aside, Mr. Trump is correct: This is war, the most consequential since World War II, and he is in charge.

Unfortunately, few of his actions display the leadership we need from a wartime commander in chief who is confronting a viral version of World War III.

The United States military develops detailed war plans for combat scenarios and exercises regularly to prepare for contingencies. The Defense Department gathers intelligence, scans the globe for impending threats, pre-positions forces and equipment, stockpiles supplies and trains its forces. Maintaining readiness is the military’s most prized prerequisite for battlefield success.

In the case of coronavirus, the Trump administration shelved the war plan, or pandemic “playbook,” prepared by the Obama administration. It disbanded the National Security Council office established to provide early warning and ensure preparedness, and disregarded the intelligence community’s warnings that a global pandemic was likely.”

Acting Navy secretary apologizes for scathing rebuke of ousted captain – NBC

By Courtney Kube

“Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly on Monday delivered a scathing attack against the captain who sounded the alarm over the spread of the coronavirus on his ship.

Speaking in Guam to the crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Modly said Capt. Brett Crozier was guilty of a “betrayal of trust” in choosing to express his concerns to a broad audience in an email that ultimately was leaked to the media, according to a recording of the speech obtained by NBC News.

“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose.” “

Source: Acting Navy secretary apologizes for scathing rebuke of ousted captain

David Lindsay:  I found this article and NBC news clip at the Facebook page of Seth Bates. Donald Trump rumbles he doesn’t like the optics.

Opinion | Captain Crozier Saved His Crew From Coronavirus. He Is a Hero. – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Roosevelt is a great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Institute at Long Island University.

Credit…US Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System/EPA, via Shutterstock

“On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to the Navy pleading for permission to unload his crew, including scores of sailors sickened with Covid-19, in Guam, where it was docked. The Pentagon had been dragging its feet, and the situation on the ship was growing dire.

“We are not at war,” he wrote. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

After the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Navy relented. But on Thursday, it relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

Captain Crozier joins a growing list of heroic men and women who have risked their careers over the last few weeks to speak out about life-threatening failures to treat the victims of this terrible pandemic. Many of them are doctors and nurses, and many of them, like Captain Crozier, have been punished. All of them deserve our deepest gratitude.”

The Navy Fired Captain Crozier After His Letter on the Coronavirus. Hear How the Crew Responded. – The New York Times

Please note, this is my second posting of this ariticle, in order to highlight the section below. I read it to Kathleen Schomaker, who replied, this story, and that scene, are going to make a hell of a good movie someday.

“. . . .As part of his extended explanation of why he removed Captain Crozier, Mr. Modly asserted at a news conference Thursday that the release of Captain Crozier’s letter had panicked the crew and family members, and embarrassed the Navy’s leadership.

It undermines our efforts and the chain of command’s efforts to address this problem and creates a panic,” he said. “And creates a perception that the Navy’s not on the job, the government’s not on the job.”

But videos taken by crew members aboard the Roosevelt and posted on social media on Friday seemed to contradict that assessment.

The sailors on the Roosevelt did not look panicked. Since Captain Crozier’s letter first surfaced, the Navy had evacuated hundreds off the ship, with more each day. During Captain Crozier’s final walk off the ship, many sailors could be seen with their bags packed on the floor next to them as they cheered their departing captain.

It was a surreal scene, beginning with Captain Crozier’s solemn walk through the massive ship’s sprawling hangar bay — a snaking procession that wrapped around a pair of dormant F/A-18 fighter jets and into the cool Guam night.

There was the ship’s bell, and then its whistle. The crew, hundreds of them, some in civilian clothes, others in uniform, slowly saluted as Captain Crozier walked past with a black backpack slung over his left shoulder.

“Captain, United States Navy, departing,” a voice piped in over the loudspeaker. As Captain Crozier reached the gangway, the slender ramp that stretched from ship to shore, he turned back toward his ship. His crew cheered.

The nearly half dozen videos posted to social media, all from different angles amid the throng of sailors, include thundering cheers of “Captain Crozier.” One crew member yells, “Hooyah skipper!” In another video, someone says, “Now that’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had … the GOAT,” using the acronym for Greatest Of All Time. “The man for the people.”

How the Theodore Roosevelt’s Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump’s acting Navy secretary, in a profanity-laced reprimand delivered Monday, criticized sailors aboard the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their captain, who was removed after he appealed for help as coronavirus spread throughout the warship.

The Navy’s top civilian, Thomas B. Modly, delivered his message over the ship’s loudspeaker system and deepened the raw us-versus-them atmosphere that had already engulfed the carrier. It also exposed the schism between a commander in chief with little regard for the military’s chain of command and the uniformed Navy that is sworn to follow him.

Like much in the Trump administration, what began as a seemingly straightforward challenge — the arrival of coronavirus onboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has now engulfed the military, leading to far-reaching questions of undue command influence and the demoralization of young men and women who promise to protect the country. At its heart, the crisis aboard the Theodore Roosevelt has become a window into what matters, and what does not, in an administration where remaining on the right side of a mercurial president is valued above all else.

The crew of the Roosevelt had already registered its discontent with the Trump administration’s decision to remove the commander, by cheering for Capt. Brett E. Crozier as he walked down the gangway last week and left the ship.”

He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected. – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — For days, he fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired.

By Sunday, friends said, he had come down with the coronavirus himself.

The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic.

But colleagues say the mistake that could cost Captain Crozier his career was charging headlong into the Trump administration’s narrative that it had everything under control.

Pentagon officials said that although President Trump never ordered Captain Crozier dismissed, he was displeased with the captain’s actions and let the Navy know — a

Even so, the Navy’s top brass clashed about what to do.

Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, privately urged against dismissal and argued that, per usual Navy procedures, an investigation into what went wrong on the Roosevelt should be allowed to play out. But the acting Navy secretary, Thomas B. Modly, overruled the Navy’s top admiral, saying Captain Crozier had cracked under pressure.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said on Sunday that he supported Mr. Modly’s decision. The Washington Post first reported the differing opinions among Navy officials.

Navy officials acknowledged on Sunday that tensions between Captain Crozier and his immediate boss, Rear Adm. Stuart P. Baker, the commander of a multiship task force including the Roosevelt, most likely complicated the Navy’s response to the viral outbreak and prompted the captain to send a four-page letter pleading for help. Officials said the letter, sent as an unclassified email, went only to other Navy personnel, but it leaked to the news media last week.”

The Navy Fired Captain Crozier After His Letter on the Coronavirus. Hear How the Crew Responded. – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — It was a send-off for the ages, with hundreds of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt cheering Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the commander who sacrificed his naval career by writing a letter to his superiors demanding more help as the novel coronavirus spread through the ship.

The rousing show of support provided the latest gripping scene to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic: the rank and file shouting their admiration for a boss they viewed as putting their safety ahead of his career.

The memes were quick to sprout on social media. On Reddit, one depicted Captain Crozier forced to choose between rescuing his career or his sailors from a burning building; he chooses his sailors. On Twitter, a slew of videos showed Captain Crozier’s walk down the gangway in Guam, most of them depicting him as a hero struck down by his superiors for trying to save the lives of his crew. “Wrongfully relieved of command but did right by sailors,” wrote Twitter user Dylan Castillo, alongside a video of Captain Crozier leaving his ship.”

Navy Removes Captain of Aircraft Carrier Stricken by Coronavirus – The New York Times

Navy Removes Captain of Aircraft Carrier Stricken by Coronavirus

 

WASHINGTON — The Navy removed the captain of the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, only days after he implored his superior officers for more help as a coronavirus outbreak spread aboard the ship.

In a letter that leaked to news organizations on Tuesday, Capt. Brett E. Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding on the warship, with almost 5,000 crew members, and described what he said were the Navy’s failures to provide the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel and disinfecting areas on board.

About 114 sailors have been infected so far, a number that is expected to rise by hundreds as the vessel remains docked at Guam.

Senior Defense Department officials were angry that the letter found its way first to The San Francisco Chronicle, and then to other news outlets, where it was widely reported.

Opinion | A Plea to Save the Last Nuclear Arms Treaty – By Madeleine Albright and Igor Ivanov – The New York Times

By Madeleine Albright and 

Dr. Albright is a former United States secretary of state and Mr. Ivanov is a former Russian foreign minister.

Credit…Yuri Kadobnov/AFP via Getty Images

“The relationship between Russia and the United States has been mired in crisis for much of the past decade. Communication once considered routine has been cut off, deepening mistrust and making it more difficult to reduce tensions and avoid miscalculation. The current state of affairs does not serve the strategic interests of either country, and it puts global security at risk because Russia and the United States are the only countries that possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy each other — and all of humanity.

Rebuilding mutual confidence and putting United States-Russian relations on a safer track will be a challenging long-term endeavor, given the political climates in Washington and Moscow. But the two countries have a chance to head off even more instability by extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in one year, on ‎Feb. 5. While 12 months may seem like a lot of time, in diplomatic terms and in the present environment, the clock is ticking fast.

The United States and Russia can avoid a senseless and dangerous return to nuclear brinksmanship if they act soon. There is no reason to wait, and extending the treaty, known as New START, is the place to begin.

With the unfortunate dissolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, New START is the only agreement still in place that limits the size of American and Russian nuclear forces. It also provides vital verification and transparency measures, including on-site inspections, that have helped foster strategic stability. The treaty allows for a five-year extension if the leaders of both countries agree. President Vladimir Putin and President Trump should seize this opportunity.”

Opinion | Suleimani Is Dead, Iraq Is in Chaos and ISIS Is Very Happy – By Ali H. Soufan – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Soufan is a former F.B.I. special agent and the author of “Anatomy of Terror.”

Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

“In 2016, Donald Trump, then a candidate for president, described Barack Obama as the “founder of ISIS.” In the end, it may be Mr. Trump who comes to be known not as the terrorist group’s founder, but as its savior.

The Islamic State has been weakened considerably since its peak in 2015, when it controlled a territory the size of Britain, but the Trump administration’s targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani may have poised the group for a comeback. Just as the misguided American invasion of Iraq in 2003 revitalized Al Qaeda, some 17 years later, a return to chaos in the same country may yet do the same for the Islamic State.

Granted, the White House was correct to identify General Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, as an enemy of the United States. Using the militia groups he cultivated and controlled, he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of coalition soldiers in the late 2000s and early 2010s. But war in the Middle East is nothing if not complex; General Suleimani’s proxies also indirectly served American interests by fighting the Islamic State — to great effect.

Still, contrary to the breathless eulogies to him in Iran, he was not some indispensable hero who single-handedly defeated the Islamic State. Other commanders will fill his shoes, if not in star power then at least in strategic expertise. The real boon for the jihadists will be the second-order effects of his death.