Letters for Monday, September 12, 2011

• Defense spending creates jobs • Don’t

stymie drivers

Defense spending creates jobs

Recently The Garden Island has published several letters in which the authors express their strong views against defense spending and especially against clergy and representatives endorsing the Aegis missile facility at Barking Sands.

The fact that these letters are published is yet another testament to the greatness of our country.  

However, I would like the authors of the letters to consider where their reasoning can lead to.

If the U.S. were to eliminate all defense spending what would then be the deterrent for foreign power(s) to seizing U.S. territory, say the Hawaiian Islands or Alaska, to name just a couple of examples?  

Yes, this sounds extreme so one can argue that we will always need some defense spending. But how much is the right amount and what defense systems are the right ones to develop and deploy? I certainly don’t know the answer to these questions but I also feel that the authors don’t either (assuming we all agree that zero dollars is not the right answer).  

Likewise, I think it is a dangerous line of thought to decide that the U.S. doesn’t need a system, such as Aegis, that is designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles.

We know that Iran and North Korea are both intently developing ballistic missiles with ever greater range and warhead capability.

It is important to separate defense spending from waging war.

Yes, the majority of recent defense budget has been to fight far away wars.

I don’t know anyone, including me, who would argue that war is desirable.

However, the country must have an appropriately armed military as I have argued in the preceding paragraph.

Arming the military means the country must pay companies to develop and produce weapons and weapon systems.

Yes, this is an expensive endeavor. However, it is important to realize that the majority of weapons development and production expenses actually goes to paying people’s salaries.

These are American workers who encompass a full spectrum of jobs — machinists, janitors, secretaries, engineers, technicians, accountants, managers, miners, truck drivers, painters, etc.

So, eliminating or drastically cutting weapons development and production results in putting these workers out of work and in line for unemployment checks.

These workers then immediately cancel their planned vacations to places like Kaua‘i. Some of them will probably be unable to continue their mortgage payments which could lead to more foreclosures.

So, have we really gained?

In light of our nation’s deficit and debt problems it is more important than ever for each of us to learn what government candidates stand for when it comes to defense spending and to vote for those who will continue to support a strong nation consistent with budget realities.

Peter Nilsen, Princeville

Don’t stymie drivers

In his Sept. 6 letter to the Forum “We need more choice,” Kurt Rutter makes some interesting observations about the people’s love affair with their vehicles.

He states that “Cars are indeed here to stay in the same way that horses are here to stay.” His feeble effort at humor is pointless. Vehicles replace horses as a primary transportation means because they are faster and more efficient

But his analogy is incorrect since there is nothing in the present or on the horizon to take the vehicles place — it IS here to stay. Until something comes along — not the legs, the bike or rapid transit, the car will remain the choice of the masses.

Mr. Rutter says, “Bicycles are indeed recreational but have always been a SERIOUS (emphasis added) means of transportation. If any one wants to consider bikes seriously no one will object. But don’t disparage the views of the great majority that find vehicles a more practical and comfortable means of transportation.

I completely agree with Mr. Rutter that we do need more by pass roads with bike lanes and pedestrian access as well IF these lanes can be added with little extra expense.

Remember that “Bike routes” still exist around most of our highway built decades ago but due to limited usage the highway was widened and the lanes have become dangerously narrow in places. But this “route” could be used for alternate transportation unlike the “dog-walking” path that we are spending millions of dollars on.

The article I referred to in the Honolulu Advertiser simply stated facts that countered the use of mass transit over vehicular travel. Again, can you imagine the gridlock in Honolulu without the H-1 “parking lot” that Mr. Rutter refers to if it were never built?

Freeways, toll roads, and turnpikes built in cities around the world were made for one purpose — to let people transport themselves quickly, safely and conveniently by their vehicle.

No, Mr. Rutter, my goal here on Kaua‘i is not to have “freeway gridlock” but to get more alternate roads open to alleviate the traffic mess we are burying ourselves in.

Your “more choice” alternative to the vehicle appears to be the bicycle and if that works for you, stay with it — I commend you.

But, please, let the 95 percent of us who use our car not be denied having our mobility stymied because needed funds for more bypass roads were misspent on a system that is a dream, a dream for Kaua‘i, anyway.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a


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