Letters for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

• Mixed blessing • We need more choice

Taking a stand

Mixed blessing

I was horrified by Aug. 30 news photos showing Kupuna Kaohi offering misplaced blessings to military personnel at PMRF and Sen. Dan Inouye as well as a religious hand-holding ceremony celebrating plans to open an Aegis Missile base on Kaua‘i. Kupuna Kaohi’s actions don’t make sense. This is the same military which dethroned her Queen Liliokalani in 1898 and shortly thereafter annexed the Hawaiian Islands as an American territory against the historically verified will of its people. Past and present actions of the military do not justify such blessings.

It is difficult to understand why Kupuna Kaohi would prostitute sacred Hawaiian traditions to these merchants of death and members in good standing of the military-industrial complex which enables runaway tax-dollar spending on such Buck Rogers projects as the Aegis Missile Defense Program.  

Contrary to Sen. Inouye’s foggy rationalization that the Aegis would defend us against vague enemies, the real reason for the non-stop development of military programs such as the Aegis is to enable war contractors to acquire massive wealth in the production of war-connected projects.  

Why? Because military business is America’s foremost money-making industry and nevermind that $60 billion has gone missing in unaccountable war spending.

At the end of Eisenhower’s final presidential term, he wisely warned against the military-industrial complex which is now a reality in America where corporations have taken on the unelected leadership of government as they promote their business agendas which benefit only the rich while bringing America to its bankrupt knees.  

Eisenhower foresaw the dangers of the military-industrial complex realizing that it would leave America in financial shambles, endless wars, non-stop weapons developments such as the Aegis, standing armies on a multitude of military bases currently numbering somewhere over 1,000 worldwide and rampant imperialism, just like Rome which fell under the weight of its own expansionism and resulting neglect of its citizens.  

History teaches that we cannot sustain runaway military spending and survive at the same time.

It’s way past time to put the military-industrial complex to bed and to rethink how we spend our resources which should rather be used for such necessities as education, health care, non-polluting energy, eliminating hunger, vibrant industry, clean air and water and the list goes on.  

Let’s hope that the blessings of Hawaiian traditions will shift from the war machine to things which are good for humanity.

Hannah Brandeis, Kilauea

We need more choice

I always enjoy Mr. Mickens’ clear-headed analysis of transportation needs on Kaua‘i.

Cars are indeed here to stay, in the same way that horses are here to stay. Whether they should remain the main mode of transportation is another question.

Bicycles are indeed recreational, but have also always been a means of serious transportation.

I do agree that we need more bypass roads, and each and every road should have a bike lane and pedestrian access as well. We can choose complete streets that provide access to all of us.

To support his view Mr. Mickens cites a single eight-year-old editorial in the Honolulu Advertiser clearly written by an editor against mass transit in Honolulu. You know Honolulu, with the H-1 parking lot.

Honolulu is stuffed with roads exclusively for cars, and a paltry bike lane system that hardly exists, and is in perpetual gridlock. Mr. Mickens would have us follow that example.

Instead let us look to the Complete Streets concept as outlined by the mayor in his Holo Holo 2020 vision for Kaua‘i. What is Complete Streets? Go to www.completestreets.org. You will find there a thoughtful evidence-based plan for making our streets safe for all of us. It is supported by the U. S. Dept. of Transportation and is based on actual research by transportation experts.

Some 95 percent of transportation may be by car, but that is only because there are few safe alternatives; we need more choice.

Kurt Rutter, Kapa‘a

Taking a stand

The cost of war to the U.S. taxpayers over the last 10 years is over $1.2 trillion. We are cutting social programs, while our military continues to drop million-dollar bombs. Doesn’t this seem backwards?

Personally I am ashamed of my contributions to war (fear, murder, destruction), via my tax dollars. Violence is immature, and is the worst way to solve differences. That’s why we put people who are convicted of violent crimes in jail.

So why do we allow mass violence and murder to take place just because we attach the word war to it? I know I am not the only one who can see that militarism is all wrong.

I believe a majority of Americans want an end to war, but it seems obvious to me that the main reason we continue down the path of war is because of the enormous amount of profit involved. Our tax dollars are making weapon manufacturers rich.

Some people say we must fight for our freedom, but violence is the opposite. It’s like trying to put out a fire with more fire.

Gandhi was the political and ideological leader of India during India’s independence movement, and he used peaceful non-violent resistance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also an advocate of non-violent resistance, and he led the way to social change in the U.S.

I will be supporting the October 2011 movement (october2011.org). I can’t make it to Washington, but that won’t stop me from taking a stand against militarism.

Derrick Ledesma, Koloa

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