Today Malu Aina organized a demonstration at Pohakuloa against the RIMPAC military exercises. Jim Albertini reports:
Our group of about thirty set up along Saddle Rd. opposite the main gate and represented all parts of the island. We had people from Hilo, Kona, Waimea and and even Na’alehu, that included old time Kaho’olawe “Stop the Bombing” activists, and some young Hawaiian activists picking up the torch of “Aloha ‘Aina.” We even had members of the Ka Pele family who some years back led a peace gathering to pule and build an ahu at Pu’u Ka Pele on Pohakuloa in opposition to the bombing. Access to that ahu and pu’u has since been blocked by concrete barricades and chain linked barbed wire fence.
The ‘Red Flag” was up along Saddle Rd. as we approached the base indicating live fire. Pohakuloa and the sacred ‘aina is coming under intense bombing this month as part of the world’s largest military exercise –RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) taking place on land and sea around Hawaii. The every two year RIMPAC is growing larger. This year’s assault involves 22 nations, 42 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
David Vine wrote “The Lily-Pad Strategy”, an important analysis of the changing military base strategy of the U.S. around the world:
Disappearing are the days when Ramstein was the signature U.S. base, an American-town-sized behemoth filled with thousands or tens of thousands of Americans, PXs, Pizza Huts, and other amenities of home. But don’t for a second think that the Pentagon is packing up, downsizing its global mission, and heading home. In fact, based on developments in recent years, the opposite may be true. While the collection of Cold War-era giant bases around the world is shrinking, the global infrastructure of bases overseas has exploded in size and scope.
Unknown to most Americans, Washington’s garrisoning of the planet is on the rise, thanks to a new generation of bases the military calls “lily pads” (as in a frog jumping across a pond toward its prey). These are small, secretive, inaccessible facilities with limited numbers of troops, spartan amenities, and prepositioned weaponry and supplies.
And as Vine reminds us:
Like real lily pads — which are actually aquatic weeds — bases have a way of growing and reproducing uncontrollably.