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Is it the military's job to protect the environment?

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By The Staff

Hannah Hayes

In Colorado there has been a fierce and sustained effort by the military to expand Fort Carson. Massive expansion through one of the military’s boldest land grabs would wipe out dinosaur prints, primitive cliff drawings, countless wildlife, local ranches and several small towns. The southeastern corner of our state must not be allowed to fall victim to the Army’s insatiable need to train in ever-wider landscapes.

Colorado Springs watchdog with Citizens for Peace in Space, Bill Sulzman, tells us, “The campaign to oppose expansion is still very energized. The legislative successes achieved last year in both the Colorado legislature and U.S. Congress are still in effect. The Army continues to push for expansion, while a broad coalition of ranchers and other opposition groups have met them at every turn and are still prevailing.”

Military madness caused the president to think he could exempt the Navy from our laws by allowing it to carry out anti-submarine warfare exercises. U.S. District court in L.A. found that President Bush’s variance was not in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Southern California has a 12-nautical-mile no-sonar zone that protects whales and other marine animals. This administration would like to believe that it has a worldwide immunity zone that permits it to operate outside the law — particularly ignoring those that protect the environment.

The job of the president of the U.S. is to enforce national law. Our Constitution provides checks and balances to prevent any individual or group from taking absolute power. The balance between national security and environmental protection must not be motivated by an overenthusiastic military and a power-hungry cabal. The Department of Defense budget is over the top compared to other federal programs, and military contractors, often aided by political candidates and lobbyists, operate with impunity. It is possible to strengthen our national defense without weakening our ability to fight terrorism by eliminating useless programs, cutting waste and rethinking our national priorities.

Global security can best be accomplished through diplomatic channels and peacekeeping operations. According to the National Priorities Project, 89 percent of our financial focus is military, with only 7 percent going to security and 4 percent to preventive measures. Jumping on board with Kyoto and other global environmental agreements would promote safety by demonstrating our desire to be cooperative world citizens.

The war on Iraq has furthered awareness of the connection between managing natural resources and security. Priorities must be reconsidered. The federal budget only designates about 1 billion dollars, or less than 05 percent, for energy conservation. Our total military and war budget is about as large as the military budget of all other countries combined. You can learn more at the Evergreen Peace booth at the 19th annual Earth Day and Beyond event at Evergreen’s Lake House on April 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rebuttal

Earth Day is surely an opportunity to broaden stewardship of our planet. Discover all that is being done locally in an attempt to deal with the effects of climate change, the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and prolonged drought. View environmental exhibits and receive important community information. Greet other “crazy enviros” at the new Evergreen Nature Center.

Yes, Kelly, the scientific method sank to the bottom of the ocean floor with your twaddle about dolphin bombers. David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace wrote in the People’s Almanac, “The Navy’s official statement was, ‘In spite of science fiction, conjectural and sensational so-called news stories to the contrary, the Navy has never, is not, and has no plans to train any animal to injure itself in any way in connection with any alleged military mission or tactic.’”

Fear walks hand-in-hand with paranoia and irrational thought, but it’s no cause for cruelty. The “bad guys” enjoy a victory when their enemies live in darkness. As the author Ruth E. Rankel wrote, “Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”

A former educator, Hannah Hayes is a wife, mother and third-generation immigrant. She runs a national business in the natural products industry and is a co-founder of Evergreen Peace.

Kelly Weist

In the early 1990s, the U.S. Navy had a “Get Smart” moment: they outfitted dolphins with guns and bombs and started training them to counterattack foreign spy scuba divers. The dolphins’ union protested. Oh, no, wait, that’s not right. Actually, the usual crazy enviros began screaming about using precious cetapods for warmongering. The Navy ended the program, saying they should not be in the business of training animals to kill humans. Too bad al-Qaeda doesn’t believe in training subhumans to kill humans.

I’m not sure if enlisting marine life to boost national security is the way to go, but I do know that naval training is quite important. Currently, enviros don’t like the idea of the nasty sailors disturbing the marine life. They like it quiet, you see, and the sonar that the Navy uses to detect the bad guys’ submarines is bad for the dolphins — or so they say. The dolphins haven’t actually registered an opinion here. The enviro groups’ evidence is that a dead dolphin washed up on some remote island shore, and that must mean that sonar is bad for them. The scientific method has really slid over the years, hasn’t it?

So, the U.S. Navy bends over backward to do the best they can to not disturb the marine life on their exercises. They even appoint a vice admiral of the environment, whose job it is to help the training designers to have the least impact on the environment as possible. OK, that’s fine. I don’t have any problem with limiting our impact on the environment, to the extent possible. What enviros don’t want to do, however, is have a discussion about priorities.

As I keep reminding everyone, there are bad guys out there who want to kill us. (Really. We have evidence.) Unfortunately, a federal judge has decided that the dolphins’ peace and quiet is more important than training our sailors to protect our homeland. President Bush has had to overrule the judge to allow the Navy to continue their training. Yes, he can do that. It’s because he’s the commander-in-chief, and that overrules the judiciary and Congress on matters of protecting our country.

Keeping our homeland safe from the bad guys is the highest priority. Denying that there is serious and significant danger to America is a sign of mental illness, in my book. How we combat that danger is, of course, a legitimate topic of discussion, but some realism is necessary to that discussion. Enviros refuse to utilize any realism, of any nature, in this area.

David Horowitz coined the term “watermelon” for these types of enviros awhile ago. Green on the outside, red on the inside. “Red” for socialist agenda. The whole point here is to push extreme socialism on us through environmental regulation, not for the sake of the dolphins, but for the sake of the watermelons and their sense of power. Excuse me if that doesn’t even make my list of priorities.

Rebuttal

How in the world would signing the Kyoto treaty increase our security? By showing that we are “cooperative world citizens”? Kyoto and other treaties promoted by world bodies like the U.N. are specifically designed to reduce the U.S.’s ability to compete in economic terms and to kill economic growth around the world. Peaceniks like Hannah buy into this obvious effort by other countries to reduce the U.S. in every way. They truly believe that because the Soviet Union has collapsed due to the weight of the oppressive ideology called communism, international bodies should restrict and reduce the U.S. No more superpowers equals peace to them.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The entirety of history proves them wrong. Leon Trotsky said, “You may not want war, but war wants you.” War in the world is not because of the U.S. The U.S. is the only thing standing between the world and oppression, terror and agonizing death.

I’m not interested in being a “cooperative world citizen,” when that means surrendering America’s power. Cooperation has never brought peace. Diplomacy only works when you have any power to resist the aggression of others.

Attorney and political activist Kelly Weist has served on the board of directors of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women and is the co-founder of Mountain Republican Women.