There are many reasons to consider preparing and submitting comments to the military on the DEIS for Tinian and Pagan islands in October. Here are some examples of why it is important to take action and to speak up.
Last time I recall, the United States was a free country and not communist Russia or China. Last time I recall, this nation was supposed to have a government of, for, and by all the people, not just for most of the people. Last time I recall, the government of this nation was supposed to represent the will of the people and protect individual rights and community concerns, not just concerns of citizens residing in the continental U.S., Hawaii, or Alaska. Last time I checked, Americans living in the Mariana Islands cannot vote for president, have no real voting representation in Congress and have no formal representative to speak on their behalf at most mid-level government discussions and are totally absent from participating in high-level government conversations. It is therefore in the best long-term interests of Chamorros and all residents of the Mariana Islands to at the very least prepare and submit comments on the DEIS for Tinian and Pagan.
Last time I recall, Guam, as one example, had among the highest rates of military service and killed-in-action rates on a per capita basis nationwide and so if we were courageous enough to serve in the military and courageous enough to help protect this nation and courageous enough to contribute to fighting its wars based on policies that at times are incomplete and ambiguous, we should be courageous enough to actively participate in all opportunities that are presented to us as Americans to voice our concerns and challenges regarding the DEIS for Tinian and Pagan islands.
The active duty military stationed in Guam continue to ask islanders informally to support the transformation, arguing that we are “Americans” and it is therefore our right and responsibility to do so. As usual, though, the military is focusing on only one of several frames of reference and fails to state that the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Army and national intelligence communities do not own notions of patriotism nor do these communities have exclusivity, trademark, or advantage on notions of citizenship, commitment, and honor to this nation. The discussion needs to be expanded and one effective way to grow the conversation is to submit comments on the DEIS, pointing out what’s missing, what’s lacking, what’s wrong, and what’s conveyed. We have the responsibility to do so because this is our country too and part of the American patchwork is that portion belonging to the Chamorro and Carolinian people from the Mariana Islands.