I oppose the US Navy’s proposal to expand training operations to the shore waters of south Molokai. The US military is the worst polluter on the planet beyond just their consumption of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every single day. Their footprint is enormous, operating from 800 bases in close to 100 countries, with personnel deployed to over 150, according to Politico. America is engaged in combat in dozens of these countries, and all out war in over half a dozen. The price tag is in the trillions, and loss of life incalculable if you take into account disease, famine, and poverty that linger long after the bombs stop falling. They’re currently training for this in the sky above Molokai and if they have their way, they’ll also train in the same place you go paddling and fishing.
America’s economy relies of constant enemies, constant fighting, and as a result, constant training. Islands like Kaho’olawe, Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and Vieques in Puerto Rico were seen as expendable. Molokai is viewed the same way by people wanting to train here. They proved this when they turned part of Kalauapapa into the Makanalua Bombing Range back in the 1940’s. Medicine was needed, not bombs. Medicine is what is needed today. Molokai deserves to be healthy but taxes fund war and training and never seem to find their way here in meaningful ways.
The taxpayer-funded “Youth Challenge Academy” offers a diploma to “at risk youth” but Uncle Sam is lying when he says that discipline, respect, leadership, community service, and fitness can only be taught alongside marching and unquestioned obedience to authority. These things can and should be taught alongside ‘aina-based education, instilling cultural values rather than military indoctrination. Children should not be groomed for war. Imagine if some of Molokai’s kumu’s got even a fraction of those tax dollars. Even Waldorf schools would envy what Molokai could provide for it’s keiki, and the world would be better for it.
Let’s not forget it was the military that painted the huge target that remains on Hawaii’s back when they moved the Pacific Fleet here in May of 1940, it was the military that ran the internment camps, and the military that has shown zero respect for Kanaka Maoli and the ‘aina. History has taught us that America’s interests do not align with Hawaii’s, and that’s not about to change. As someone who has trained, and followed orders using that training overseas, I oppose the military training anywhere near Molokai. As a resident of Molokai who has been blessed to help take care of this ‘aina, I oppose the further desecration of Molokai in any form.