Chamber of Commerce chimes in on Makua decision

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i has been a promoter of militarization and the U.S. takeover of Hawai’i for more than 100 years. Their website brags that two of the Chamber’s earliest achievements were:

Worked to secure a treaty of reciprocity with the U.S. to admit Hawaiian export at reduced rates of duty to help the sugar industry to grow and expand

Development of Pearl Harbor.

The two Treaties of Reciprocity can be thought of as early neoliberal trade agreements.   The U.S. demanded access to Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor) in exchange for lowering the import tariff on Hawai’i-grown sugar.  The haole business community pressured King Kalakaua to sign the treaty, which angered Native Hawaiians, many of whom saw the concessions as violations of Hawai’i’s sovereignty.  Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa was a critically important food source for O’ahu island with 36 fishponds and numerous agricultural plots.  The Treaties set up a political crisis that led to the invasion of U.S. marines and the overthrow of the Queen in 1893.

The Chamber has a dedicated Military Affairs Department and maintains a Military Affairs Council to lobby for increased militarization of our islands.  Every year the Chamber organizes a Military Appreciation Month in May, a Hawaii US Military Partnership Conference and an annual lobbying junket to Washington D.C.

So, as would be expected, when the Army announced that live fire training would end in Makua, the Chamber penned its obligatory defense of the military in Hawai’i. It is couched in the language of protection, prosperity and security and subtly plays on fears of economic loss, which in itself has been a carefully conditioned reaction.  It’s the kind of schizophrenic message an abuser might use with his victim: “I love you, but don’t get uppity.  Don’t make me hurt you. Remember who protects and provides for you.”


Military presence in Hawaii serves many goals

By Charlie Ota

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 24, 2011

Some have questioned the viability of the military’s forward presence in Hawaii, reflecting on the negative environmental impacts caused by military training exercises during the 1900s. While the environmental damage is undeniable, it was not foreseen and is most regrettable.

Nonetheless, we must understand that the military’s presence is critical to achieving political and economic stability in the Asian Pacific.

Basing fully trained combat forces in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific Command is a proven national strategy that has contributed to achieving political stability among Asia-Pacific nations and deterring enemy aggression. Equally important, it has kept the economic sea lanes and airways free and open for global commerce to thrive.

The negative spin posed by the Star-Advertiser’s editorial on the Army’s proposal to end live-fire maneuvers at its training range on Makua Valley (“Army’s Makua move welcome,” Jan. 14) could force the military to relocate to an area where training ranges are more accessible, thus compromising the gains made to restore stability in the region.


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