Walter Mencken 9:15 a.m., March 28
Yes We Can Send You Back Where You Came From
Following Protest Over Naming, U.S. Navy Agrees to Employ Cargo Ship Cesar Chavez in Mass Deportation of Illegal Immigrants
Representative Hunter: "It's like a free cruise."
One-way to Cabo, trips available year-round except during strawberry season.
HIDING IN A LIFEBOAT, WAITING FOR NIGHT TO FALL - Famed labor leader Cesar Chavez served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1948, a period he described as "the worst two years of my life." To honor those awful years, and to pay tribute to the many Latino shipbuilders who helped to build the last in its Lewis and Clark line of cargo ships, the U.S. Navy decided to name that ship after Chavez.
But the move drew criticism from congressman Duncan Hunter, who thought the honor should have gone to "someone who wasn't famous for whining." Conservative commentator Glenn Beck jumped on board, comparing the decision to naming a ship "the USS Bombing at Pearl Harbor."
"It's like vampires," continued Beck. "Can't you see? It's the Bay of Pigs all over again! Cuba libre is made from limes, rum, and Coke! The brown tide is rising, and a hard rain is gonna fall when the levee breaks! Man the lifeboats!"
Hunter was quick to distance himself from Beck, calling the television personality's comments "unhelpful." But he did write a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, stating that Mabus' "Americanism as a true American" had been "called into serious question" by the decision to honor "a man who, despite his dark skin, was pinko through and through."
Mabus, perhaps still smarting after the outcry that followed his assurance that the Navy would be able to implement the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell faster than other branches of the military because "it's not gay if you're under way," was eager to seek conciliation. Together with Hunter and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, he came up with a plan for Operation Southbound, which would place the ship at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Immigration, "primarily for use in removing deported illegals from United States territories."
In announcing the uncontroversial operation, Mabus noted that if the Navy ever named another ship after a Latino, it would be somebody "safe, like [former United States Attorney General Alberto 'Torture This'] Gonzales."
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