Embrace our military


The truth of the matter is our military is our friend and protector, so why promote anything that contributes to creating conflict between the people and their friend and protector. It seems just mentioning the “military” causes bias and alarms to go off in the minds of some people who may have actually experienced or seen a mistake by the military, as I will be the first to say the military is not perfect when dealing with civilian populations. But I must humbly and respectfully oppose the criticism by OCW 670 against the CNMI entertaining military tourists, not a military buildup. The pivot toward “military tourism” is a good and sound idea, given the military bases ion Guam and the CNMI’s role in the military activities in our region. The last thing we in the CNMI need is for someone trying to stop progress in the CNMI and not offer any viable options for our tourism industry.

Asserting that entertaining military tourists is somehow going to cause adverse effects on the local culture and environment is far-reaching and even baseless, especially when the only thing offered in the opposition to military tourism is subjective belief with no related examples. There is nothing to support such a claim of harm to the culture and environment as military tourists are no different than tourists from Japan or another nation—just tourist numbers and dollars. The proposal is only about pursuing and entertaining military tourists and not some ulterior unforeseen plan for the military over-extending its physical presence in the form of structures and military hardware.

I commend OCW 670 for looking out for the culture and environment, but they are way off-base in opposing the CNMI targeting and entertaining people in the military as a viable tourism market, given that, the military is already camped at our front doorstep. Sugar Dock’s modernization was stopped for culture. We should have already learned this lesson of yelling “stop!” before thinking objectively, critically, and analytically of the big picture. We also don’t look good not wanting the military to vacation in the CNMI, as it makes us look like parasites, not patriots!

Too often people who never pray cry, “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ,” when something goes horribly wrong and too often I’ve seen people who were openly against the police until they needed their help, and some people seem to have been pre-programed to complain about America’s military until there was a Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis and, more recently, the rise of dictators in Russia, North Korea, and China. If one of these three goes cuckoo, we will all be praying for the military to be more than tourists. Why should the CNMI be so against allowing military tourists, given our place in the American family and being so close to the frontlines of defense in a world that is proving to be more and more dangerous day by day? Having the military here actually makes many of us feel safer!

The military tourists can play a role in rebuilding our tourism economy. We’ve been cutting cost, which is the easy part as we need to also move faster and do more to expand our economic base by creating more new revenue sources that can complement a sound and broad-based tourism market if we are to truly find real prosperity. The governor is right, economically and morally, as we must always welcome and support the military in any and every way that we can, as they are our friends and protectors, not our enemy! We must be careful about our fears from other experiences that can grow into bias and even hate—a loss of objectivity. We’re depending on the military to keep us safe as the world is a dangerous place. We need to be thankful for the military and those who serve and welcome them as tourists.

Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman III, Saipan

Contributing Author

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