Monday, July 16, 2007

USS Harry Truman and the Chinese

Bret Stephens, in OpinionJournal:

The Navy operates 11 carriers like the Truman. No other navy in the world comes close. The Chinese, who would love to have one or more carriers of their own, recently sent their top admiral for a tour of the Truman. Adm. Gortney recalls that the Chinese were mainly interested in two things. The first was the ship's arresting gear, the heavy cables that trap landing planes. The second was the way the Navy recruits, trains, organizes and motivates its sailors.

No doubt the Chinese will one day figure out the mechanics of landing planes at sea -- and of catapulting them off the deck. I wonder if they'll ever get the human element right. The men and women of the Truman are here as a matter of their own free will in order to defend our collective right to live freely. That's more than a matter of mechanics. It's a matter of spirit: the true source of the Truman's awesome power, and of its beauty, too.

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