Letters To The Editor
Regarding editor Don Chapman’s column on guns: You can’t have our guns. Never. The first instinct of totalitarians is to throw away a constitution and confiscate guns. Chapman is a fascist, and I hold him in high disregard.
Dan Boylan’s column “Where Would We Be Without Dan?” joins a chorus of people praising Daniel K. Inouye’s 50-year performance as U.S. senator. I, too, admire many of Sen. Inouye’s accomplishments, including the bravery he showed in World War II. But a clear-eyed view of Inouye’s career also must reckon with the fact that he played a central role in building America’s vast militarist empire.
Certain facts would be discomfiting if they were not so familiar. World War II has been over for two-thirds of a century, yet the United States still has 37,000 troops in Japan, 32,000 in Korea, 53,000 in Germany, and more than 600 military sites in 38 foreign nations. The U.S. now spends more on its military than the next 17 countries combined, even though one has to go to No. 25 on the list of the world’s biggest military spenders (Iran) to find a real enemy. Here in Hawaii, the U.S. military now controls 25 percent of the land mass of Oahu and 236,000 acres throughout the state. Since the end of the Cold War, America has been engaged in a continuous search for new justifications for its enormous empire, from “humanitarian intervention” to “disarming Iraq” and “dismantling the Taliban.” But the truth is simple: There is no need for this much military might.
Many people in Hawaii became used to hearing Sen. Inouye say or do almost anything to promote local military spending – and many among them would welcome more of the same from new Sens. Schatz and Hirono. In this time of transition, though, we would do well to remember what two other great Americans said. In his farewell address of 1796, President
George Washington warned that “overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty.” Similarly, before he left the oval office in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower urged Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Sen. Inouye did many great things. He also helped build America’s military empire. I hope that his successors will learn from his accomplishments and from his mistakes.
David T. Johnson
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