WSJ on Navy sonar and Pacific whales

by Walter Olson on June 19, 2008

The Wall Street Journal’s editorialists weigh in on a story we’ve been covering for a long time.

{ 9 comments }

1 matt 06.19.08 at 11:07 am

at the risk of being rude to the navy (i mean no offense) if whales and dolphins could talk they would probably teach the navy how sonar should really be used for hunting!

2 tim 06.19.08 at 11:22 am

I have no issue with the navy using sonar and I agree these lawsuits and the judges opinion stopping the use are completely idiotic. Saying that – I am getting really tired of the phrases “We are in a WAR!!!!” (we are not) and “activist judges!!” (defined as judges who’s opinion you don’t agree with). If you can’t prove your point by not invoking those two phrases you don’t have an argument.

3 Bob Neal 06.19.08 at 11:31 am

Activists judges are very real. They ‘read’ intent that in non-existant and ignore statute and precedent.

4 Deoxy 06.20.08 at 10:52 am

If you can’t prove your point by not invoking those two phrases you don’t have an argument.

OK, “We are in active hostilities involving the possibility of taking fire from hostile foreign vessels.” (which is accurate) and “judges that ignore plain language and in some cases publicly admit that they will rule however they feel, law be damned” (which is also accurate).

Both of those are completely accurate, all I did was properly lawyer them up. Does that make you feel better?

Of course, BS like that is one reason so many people hold lawyers in contempt – every little thing has to be drawn out to the Nth degree, to be absolutely clear… so that certain judges (who shall not be referred to as “activist”) can just ignore it, anyway. :-/

5 William Nuesslein 06.21.08 at 7:13 am

As to Deoxy’s post. I didn’t know that the Taliban had submarines.

6 gitarcarver 06.21.08 at 10:49 am

I didn’t know that the Taliban had submarines.

If that were the only use of this particular sonar, you would be right. However, it is not the only use as it can detect things such as mines (individual and minefields), single swimmers etc. It is also the type used in sonar bouys which allows submarines to train against it for the putpose of evasion and detection. If the sub can avoid detection, it can enter waters for special ops, etc.

Also, while the idea that we are in a war as complete justification for this may be slightly off the mark, what is not off the mark is that you train to fight all potential advisaries. The Taliban may not have submarines, but Iran, China, North Korea, etc all do.

7 jb 06.22.08 at 11:36 pm

“We have to prepare for a war, so we should do this” is a good argument, and a true one. “We are in a war, so we should do this” is a specious one that, since the enemies we are fighting don’t have navies, is substantively identical to those used to justify the thousand and one useless “security measures” we’ve had to deal with.

Even if you’re right, you have to make good arguments, or you look like a doofus.

8 gitarcarver 06.22.08 at 11:57 pm

since the enemies we are fighting don’t have navies…

Just out of curiosity, the navy of which nation attacked the USS Cole?

9 Richard Nieporent 06.23.08 at 1:03 am

Let’s do a little math exercise. The size of the world’s oceans is about 129 million sq. miles. If we assume that the size of the test range is 30 miles by 30 miles that is 900 sq. miles. Thus the ratio of the test range to the total ocean size is approximately 900/129000000 = 0.000007 or 0.0007%. If we are to believe the environmentalists, somehow this minute area is going to have an impact on the whale population. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

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