Is Bataan the right ship to host college basketball game?


This is a tricky and touchy subject. As Americans, we want to support our troops at all costs.

The inaugural Navy-Marine Corps Classic game between and Florida-Georgetown on Nov. 9 will be hailed as an event to thank and salute our armed forces. The game aboard the deck of the USS Bataan off Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville will serve as a big-game opener for what projects to be a promising 2012-13 Florida season.

But the amphibious carrier Bataan V, commissioned in 1997, has had a mixed past. It has provided humanitarian aid and relief for victims of both Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the earthquakes in Haiti (2010). But it also been reputed as a ship that has illegally held and tortured terrorist suspects from throughout the globe.

The U.S. Navy vehemently denied the allegations, all the way up to current President Obama. But according to the British Daily Newspaper “The Guardian”, former President George W. Bush in 2006 admitted the Bataan was used as a prison ship off the coast of the Middle East from December 2001 to January 2002. During that time, then-President Bush said “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used. The Council of Europe said the interrogation techniques were “essentially a euphemism for some kind of torture.”

Terrible things happen in war, and the Machiavellian nature in us would say the end justifies the means. Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are both dead. The war on terror is ongoing, though the Middle East has stabilized somewhat an al-Qaeda resources and leadership have taken a hit in the last decade. But there also is the matter on whether proper, legal techniques were used during interrogations or if basic human rights were violated.

Does all of this matter, or do you simply view the Bataan as a neat place to watch a college basketball game?

What are your thoughts?





  1. Keep the politics out of your column, and clean up after your bleeding heart. So what. Who cares if jihadis were kept on board as prisoners? I don’t care if enhanced interrogation was used or not. I do care about liberal ideology seeping into my bball coverage.Keep your “progressive” views out of my sport blogs.

  2. The game played on the ship is a great idea and an excellent way for UF basketball to garner even more national attention. We just signed the #1 class for next year, who wouldn’t want to come play here for Donovan.. all he does is win, and place ballers in the NBA. As for our views on the controversy regarding the ship, who cares! It is only a basketball game, meant to entertain…. Go Gators

  3. Basically, the ship is historical in many ways and am glad to have been educated more about it. The meaning of this game would not be as important if we did not know the facts nor history of the USS Bataan. Kris, I would bet a majority of folks would be more interested in history, that also care about this game, than not…you don’t do much to dispell the “dumb jock” stereotype.

  4. Kevin given the angle you decided to pursue in this article is it possible you may be struggling with whether to attend this event? If you are, can I have your ticket to the game? I would love to fly down from Northern Virginia and shake the hand of every uniformed service member in attendance and cheer on my Gators in what will prove to be an electric atmosphere. What these young men and women do every day in securing our freedoms around the globe deserves better than what The Guardian regularly dishes out.

  5. The USS Bataan is an appropriate venue for the basketball game. The Bataan amphibious ready group (ARG) recently completed a 10 1/2 month deployment, one of the longest in modern naval hlstory. Jacksonville is proud that the Bataan ARG will soon be homeported at Mayport. As for the prison ship red herring, the Navy responds to civilian direction. Any beef you may have about rendition is with civilian not naval authorities. Your article links to an article that compares rendition with the Bataan death march. The only similarity is that both jihadis and the japanese beheaded prisoners.

  6. I wish you would keep politics out of sports. Bad things happen during war – and the WWII survivors of the infamous Death March that began in a town named Bataan (in the Philippines) could attest to the horrific things the Japanese Imperial Army did to American and Filipino prisoners-of-war. So, when you’re looking at the history of the ship USS Bataan, remember where she got her name from – it is a place where a lot of American blood was spilled!

  7. The Manchester Guardian is an extremely left wing publication which vigorously opposed our actions in the Gulf war and their charges should be taken with a grain of salt. They’ve been known to embroider the facts to support their political views. Maybe we should worry more about the crew members who gave their lives in defense of the country than a bunch of terrorists who engage in killing innocent people.

  8. This is my issue, should we have to pay for 4 military personnel to attend the basketball game and jaguars on the thursday night foot ball game just for the privilege of getting two tickets to the game? Isn’t this game on a U.S. navy ship that was paid for by our tax dollars and aren’t we paying the salaries of our all volunteer armed forces? Can’t the navy fill their seats with uniformed seamen to use for recruiting purposes without tax payers getting raped to the tune of $1050 for entry level packages for two tickets? We are funding a hundred Navy tv commercials. It is a transparent exercise in nationism at our expense. In reality, we paid for the ship and it’s employees, there should be a raffle for FREE tickets!

  9. So, a military vessel was actually used for war purposes? I never thought I’d see the day. Next thing you know, they’ll be using guns to shoot at enemies or something ridiculous like that… I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this article.

  10. Thanks for bringing this up Kevin.
    I think it is worth discussion, especially the “there also is the matter on whether proper, legal techniques were used during interrogations or if basic human rights were violated.”

    As a nation we should only expect the best from our leaders and its clear the Bush presidency was not our finest moment as a country in terms of our treatment of others regardless of your political affiliation.

    I see most of these posts as an attempt to shot the messenger without addressing the issue. Like any wartime vessel it has many stories contained within it, but all are fair to discuss; the good and the bad.
    That said, I’m looking forward to the event if only for the novelty of it.

    Thanks again Kevin


  11. Thanks for the info about the ship, Kevin. People always get riled up when you bring to light their wrongdoings. Illegal torture most likely occurred on that ship, and I think we’d all agree that following the law only when it’s convenient is not a good policy for humanity.

    Despite that, in regard to your question, I think we’re dealing with a systemic problem–the whole US policy and justification for “Operation Iraqi Freeedom” was weak, and wrong in some cases. It doesn’t matter which boat we play on, because they’re all part of the same system that created the whole fiasco.

    It’s not a left-right battle. Our engagement in Iraq (which led to Afghanistan) was predicated on known lies. Our own President lied to us. People, our own President, whom we elected, lied to our faces. You know why? Because we’re all bleating sheep, too fascinated with entertainment and fighting our stupid ideological battles to really care about what happens. So we feel powerless, which makes us take comfort in the idea that “Democrats are always right” or “Republicans no matter what.”

    You don’t have to have a cemented opinion about everything. Your worldview will not crumble if you let it go. It’s possible, healthy, and fulfilling to consider that you are wrong and the other person is right.

  12. For the sake of argument let’s agree with Kevin and the Guardian – TERRORISTS were held and “tortured “on BATAAN. I would be willing to bet they would rather have that happen to them that what is taking place under Obama – getting a hellfire missile dropped on your head. I find in interesting the left got all bent out of shape on rendition and detainment- which keeps the terrorist alive – but doesn’t hardly have a thing to say about killing terrorists with drone strikes. Which brings us full circle to this article. This kind of drivel is why I cancelled my subscription to the Sun fishwrap and find myself only reading Dooley’s column 99% of the time online. Folks, Kevin is just writing for his lefty audience in Gainesville that is still buying the paper!

  13. Kevin did not introduce politics into this basketball game, the blame for that is whoever scheduled this game with an agenda to glorify the military. Who was that? Why would they do that? How does this help Gator basketball? It was a bad idea from the start and Kevin brought up an important question in a very reserved column. I would imagine that ESPN was happy with the positive press the NC game generated last year because it was a novelty game that many let pass. In a fleet designed to kill, torture and threaten friend and foe abroad, it would be difficult to find a good place to play a college basketball game. US Navy ships (and those who choose to man them) are inherently political tools, not basketball arenas.

    Now as for all the two-dimensional (right-left) political junkies who have posted silly rants on this board supporting anything and everything the US Federal Government does “overseas” to “them” because “they” threaten “us”, just really? Seeking to justify inhumane acts to innocent people with a mixture of arrogance, anger, paranoia and righteousness, by calling considerate people names reveals a profound naiveté about the world and/or a lack of intellectual curiosity. I hope you guys are just trolls and not real Gator fans, much less alumni.

  14. Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Kevin? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for al-Qaeda and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that al-Qaeda ‘s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

    Go Gators! CDR, USN Retired UF Alumni 1986

  15. KB, I cannot express the depth of my disappointment in your choice to put our military and the University of Florida together in a such a bad light. What was your motivation? Did you really need to stir up controversy to pad your readership? Did you have a bad day at the office? Wife cheating on you? What? Seriously, why would you throw this out there? I won’t ever read your articles, blogs or whatever you ever put in print after this fax paus, my friend. Poor form.

  16. John, my favorite movie, thanks for the quote!
    Mark, I believe the fleet is designed to protect freedom, not kill, torture and threaten.
    If prisoners were on that ship, I’m sure our interrogation techniques weren’t enhanced enough since it took so long to bring down Hussein. Regardless of your beliefs on foreign policy, the men and women in the military protect your right to complain every day. So, if ESPN and UF want to join together to put a basketball game on the Bataan, I think it’s great! The soldiers deserve a nice outlet from the life they’ve been dealing with on the seas.
    Go Gators!!

  17. Whatever happened on the Bataan, they were following orders – so politics shouldn’t be applied to the ship and its crew.

    BTW – If I’m not mistaken, the Bataan is an amphib. The Navy’s nickname for an amphib is a “Gator Freighter.”

  18. I weep for this country and the future of (your) children growing up with this type of rhetoric induced blind following. If you ask any questions you are vilified. This is AMERICA, blindly follow it or leave it you stupid, N.Y. lib. You people are the same type that followed Hitler. Easily led, never ask questions and wrap yourselves so tightly in the flag that it cuts off circulation to the brain. Very sad because there is absolutely no help or hope for you. I see a history of defense contractor led wars for absolutely no logical reason for the indefinite future of America. You fools can send your kids off to be heros to make Blackwater and Haillburton stockholders rich. Congratulations sheep! Baaaa.