Saturday, January 23, 2010

US Military Buildup on Guam Worries Islanders (and Me)

Hope Cristobal Sr. recently forwarded me this article  – it's a good overview of what's going on right now on Guam in terms of the local response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), issued recently by the Department of Defense for their planned military buildup of the island.

My mother, Virginia, has been doing a lot of work reviewing the DEIS and helping the folks on Guam with ideas on ways to respond. She's a retired city planner, which means she spent about twenty years reviewing development plans and EIS reports. What she's finding are plenty of holes in the DEIS: the EPA, for instance, has said that it contains "Insufficient Information" and recommends an alternative be evaluated.

But the Government of Guam seems slow to realize that the buildup is NOT a done deal - and NOT the only way to boost Guam's flagging economy. The people of the CNMI seem similarly willing to let the US military take their precious land and reef, to use up as if it were a disposable wasteland and not the homeland of a proud and civilized people, and the home of numerous endangered species. Even many of the people who don't think the buildup is a good idea aren't willing to speak up against it.

The last two paragraphs of the Buildup article bring this point home:
"I refuse to dignify this whole charade," resident Filamore Alcon Palomo said.
"Attending public hearings would just be a waste of time because I know -- everybody knows -- this is a done deal. The military won't listen to us. They will do what they want to do."

One thing my mother said to me recently: "I keep reading this document, and I keep thinking - how did they think they were going to get away with this?" And my response to her was, "The US military has been getting away with whatever they wanted on Guam for the past century. They think they can just keep doing it."

"But they're wrong," said my mom. "There are people now on Guam who are college educated and can smell a rat, and speak up for themselves. They won't get away with it this time."

I surely hope she's right. I keep hearing Carlos Taitano's voice ringing in my ears: "Don't blame them - remember, we have been colonized for over 500 years!"


Drea said...

I'd like to think that this is the beggining, of the end of colonization on Guam.

Anonymous said...

Guam is not an American colony any more than the TERRITORY of Washington, the Dakotas, Arizona, or any of the western states were "colonies."

Horse Opera Productions said...

Actually, that's not true. The Organic Act of Guam clearly states that Guam does not have the right to become a state -- it is organized but *unincorporated*, unlike the former territories of the Dakotas etc. Furthermore, the Organic Act of Guam was not written by the people of Guam, but rather by the Department of the Interior (located 9,000 miles away), with no input from the local people. Watch The Insular Empire and you'll learn more fun history facts like these! (And next time, please include your name... I don't usually allow anonymous postings.)