CONSEQUENCES OF EXPANDING MILITARISM
- Michael Hadfield, Professor of Biology, University of Hawai'i, writes: "Pagan Island, one of a
string of volcanic islands that make up the Commonwealth of the Northern
Marianas [in the Pacific Ocean], is an ancient home to the Chamorro people and the habitat of
unique animals and plants, many of them endemic, rare and endangered. Those
natural and cultural resources are being put at risk by a plan by the U.S.
Marines to use the island as a live-fire training ground. In scoping documents
related to the environmental impact statement required for that plan to go
forward, the Marines have characterized Pagan Island as being desolate and
uninhabitable.' Photographs included here show how untrue this is."
- The militarization of Pagan Island is another example of the US "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific to control China. As the Pentagon moves 60% of its military forces into the region it needs more bases, training fields, ports of call, and barracks for its troops. Guam, Jeju Island, Okinawa, Philippines, and more are being taped to take on additional US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. No wonder the people in these places are furious with our government. You can sign a petition opposing the Pagan Island "live-fire training" here.
- Yesterday four of us vigiled at Bath Iron Works (BIW) as they prepared to put the Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer into the water. While standing across from BIW's administration building Jon Fitzgerald, lead counsel for BIW, came out and talked with me for about 30 minutes. He's actually a nice man and we had a wide ranging discussion about conversion, climate change, tax breaks for BIW and more. (Many people in Maine fondly remember his father who years ago led BIW and met with peace activists to discuss conversion of the shipyard. This happened before I moved to the state so I am not privy to all the details but it was my understanding that these discussions ended when General Dynamics bought BIW. If I got that wrong Mr. Fitzgerald can correct me as he told me he is now a reader of this blog.) Our conversation was cordial but at times we disagreed, particularly over the need for BIW to get more tax breaks from the struggling taxpayers in Bath. At one point we were talking about climate change and I asked him if he had children. He does and I went on to describe how the Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on the planet. Fitzgerald said that BIW has been very interested in building offshore wind turbines but our right-wing Gov. LePage has done everything he can to disrupt that effort as he moves to make Maine reliant on fracked natural gas. I look forward to more discussions with Mr. Fitzgerald in the future, knowing that we will still be opponents on issues like warships and corporate welfare. But at the least we can acknowledge each other's humanity and have civil dialogue. That's a good start.