With roots planted in the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and a presence that extends through the entire archipelago, the military’s influence in Hawaii is surpassed only by tourism.
The military controls some 236,000 acres throughout the state, including 25 percent of the land mass of Oahu, and thousands of square miles of surrounding airspace and sea. Yet as a branch of the federal government, the Department of Defense (DoD) operates in the Islands with little public oversight and virtual impunity, except when national environmental laws come into play.
Notwithstanding, it’s burned up native forests, dumped hazardous materials into the ocean and killed protected native species. It’s rendered land unusable with its unexploded ordinance, disrupted neighborhoods with its noise, dropped nearly every bomb known to man on the island of Kahoolawe. It’s unearthed ancient burials, launched rockets from sacred dunes, shut off public access mauka and makai. And in the course of a century, it’s transformed Waimomi, once the food basket for Oahu, into Pearl Harbor, a giant Superfund complex comprising at least 749 contaminated sites.
So why do our people, and politicians, allow the military to stay, aside from the fact that it is well-armed and so deeply entrenched here that Hawaii is the most militarized state in the union, Oahu quite possibly the most fortified island on Earth??
Money is the answer most often given. Read the rest.....
|Though the military long denied using radioactive weapons in Hawaii, ordnance contaminated with depleted uranium has been found at Schofield Barracks, shown here, and Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island. Contributed photo.|
I also wanted to share a sidebar that was cut, due to lack of space, but it's pivotal to any discussion about the military in Hawaii:
More than half the acreage controlled by the Department of Defense is comprised of the “ceded lands” that America seized from the Hawaiian Kingdom following its overthrow of the monarchy. At least six military installations occupy Hawaiian Homelands.
“The first and one of the fundamental impacts of the military is the violation of Hawaiian sovereignty, which was driven primarily by military interests and objectives,” says Kyle Kajihiro of Hawaii Peace and Justice. “It underlies every other impact.”
Hale Mawae, a kanaka maoli writer and filmmaker, sees the U.S. military presence in the Islands as “a bastardization of U.S. foreign policy and the treaties our monarchs made with the United States. It clearly shows that they have had no regard for the neutrality agreements we have made with other countries, and they aid the puppet governments acting in accordance with the lie that Hawaii is somehow a part of the United States. But that's big picture. Going smaller picture, the amount of land they have, including housing, hospitals, facilities, etc., could compensate many Hawaiian nationals who have been forced to leave their nation behind to seek 'opportunities' in a country that neglects its own, including the rights of nationals residing within its occupied borders. We have essentially become non-persons within the framework of this elaborately fabricated lie to allow America's expansion and reach into the Asian world.”
In the meantime, the military continues to do what it wants, says Terri Kekoolani of Hawaii Peace and Justice. “We are always confronted with expansion and fortification. It's very, very difficult, yet we have chosen to engage in peaceful dialogue.”