Last week, the Trump administration announced to the world that it was sending the USS Carl Vinson, a $6.2 billion aircraft carrier, to the Korean peninsula as a show of force. The presence of the USS Carl Vinson, according to sources, would deter North Korean “supreme leader” Kim Jong Un from testing nuclear weapons in defiance of international law. Trump himself claimed that in sending the USS Carl Vinson to the region, the United States was “sending an armada” to thwart the North Korean threat.
The weekend came and went, and North Korea did not test nuclear weapons. Certainly this is a positive development. However, after all the administration’s bluster about the role the USS Carl Vinson would play in the region, a startling new report reveals that the aircraft carrier was nowhere near the Korean peninsula at the time North Korea was expected to test its nuclear weapons.
As reported by the New York Times: “The problem [with the Trump administration’s account] was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.”
“White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to a partially erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea.”
It is almost unbelievable that the administration could be so misinformed as to the location of one of its most important military assets, especially given the stakes in the Korean peninsula. This is just the latest blunder from an administration that seems to redefine incompetence on a weekly basis.