Friday, September 28, 2007

My testimony to keep Strykers out of Hawaii

Blog readers: After reading my testimny, please write your own protest to the militarization of our islands.

Hawaii Resident Voices Opposition

U.S. Army Stryker Brigade in Hawai’i

Public comments may be submitted to U.S. Army by Oct 30, 2007

Email to:

May I ask you what it is about the word NO that you do not understand?

When you asked for our input about Strykers years ago, we told you “NO”--we do not want Strykers on the Hawaiian Islands. Now, as if we did not tell you clearly, you ask us again for our input. Last night in Hilo ( September 25, 2007), I understand that numerous, passionate people, some of whom are native Hawaiians begging you to not destroy their temples or desecrate their sacred aina, have eloquently implored you to stop using Strykers—here or anywhere.

What did you hear when these Big Island people spoke? The newspaper reported that you understand that you need to “wash” the Strykers carefully when importing them from island to island on your “non-identified military carrier”—the Superferry. You really don’t seem to understand that when you listen to what we are saying, there will be no need to wash your Strykers because we see no need for Strykers at all. We didn’t need Davey Crockett weaponry in the ‘60s (that polluted our land) and we don’t need Stryker’s now (to unearth that pollution). We don’t buy into the imaginary aggressive enemy you would have us buy.

As the military gears up to spend enormous amounts of pork-barrel tax payer’s dollars on more unwanted Strykers and more trained soldiers to operate these unwanted Strykers to prepare for an ill-conceived, unwarranted, unjust and illegal battle, have you ever stopped to think that this kind of combat is jeopardizing our safety? Gearing up for war, in whatever country our military/industrial complex deems “the enemy of choice” (so they can personally continue to line their overstuffed pockets with dollars, despite the cost of human lives), is simply hazardous to our personal health and national security. Reports of military studies show that after “fighting terrorism” in the way our “Commander and Chief” has insisted upon doing since 9/11, Americans are now less safe in the world.

Attacking has done nothing but ruin our reputation in the world and create more people hating us for being aggressors in their land! (Can you imagine what just a small percentage of those trillions of dollars wasted on this obscene war could have done to promote peace and understanding in the world?)

Is it not time, as individuals with brains, for all American citizens to stand up and question our out-of-control, war-bent, alcoholic president? Hawaii hero, Lt. Ehren Watada (as well as 20 generals!!!), was right when he said he could “not follow illegal orders”. Every serviceman is required to follow legal orders, protecting us from enemies within and without, and to use common sense to distinguish whether or not an order is right or wrong. We know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, President Bush lied to all of us regarding our need to go to war against Iraq. Does this fact not bother you and lead you to question the poor judgment of your commander, as well as his sanity and the continued direction of the illegal, un-winnable war he is promoting.

Does it not give you pause to think that Bush is now talking seriously of escalating the war, attacking more innocent people (90% of whom are civilians without weapons) in yet another country which also has done nothing to deserve to be indiscriminately destroyed by the hundreds of thousands? I see this as gross criminal terrorism at it’s very worst.

Strykers and those brainwashed individual who operate Strykers are simply little pawns in this horrific game of war our President is playing with your lives. And the aggression our military is ordered to carry out in the world, simply put, is unconscionable.

Using Weapons of Mass Destruction is definitely wrong. Strykers use Depleted Uranium, known as DU—a weapon of mass destruction (defined as a weapon that “kills indiscriminately“). Do you not realize that you are jeopardizing your health, the health of your unborn children as well our health and the health of the planet when you play “war games” with WMD? Have you no awareness of the Gulf War Syndrome plaguing your colleagues? Using WMD is against international laws created to protect all of us. Even the United States created laws protecting soldiers from depleted uranium. These laws have been grievously ignored—much to the detriment of soldiers who were instructed to use these weapons—and did so without question.

Every serviceman in the United States military needs to question what is happening with this war that is not supported by 85% of Americans. Just like the Viet Nam war that Secretary of Defense Macnamara in recent years admitted was a big mistake, the war with Iraq is wrong. It must be stopped--in the same way the war in Viet Nam was stopped—by our soldiers refusing to fight. In Iraq (and here in this room tonight), soldiers using their conscience to determine that the war is wrong, can and must individually and collectively refuse to continue fighting.

Do not bring Strykers to our beautiful island, stirring up the DU that is already contaminating our sacred aina, allowing the wind to move it to where we live, downwind.

Aborting the action before us now, the escalation of Strykers in Hawaii, is one of the ways that we can work together as concerned citizens and aware soldiers, to say NO to this insane and unjust war. Instead, we need to give birth to a new era, where all aggression is dissolved.

Please use your energy to clean-up the DU mess that you finally admitted to having created at Pohakuloa. After cleaning it up, close it down! We do not want the military on this island, putting us at risk.

I implore you to wake up and be men and women of conscience, doing the right thing: eliminate Strykers not only from Hawaii—but from this planet that must become peaceful because war is not a sane alternative that we can tolerate any longer.

I pray that you will search your hearts and souls, using your brains, your integrity, and common sense, knowing that, the only reasonable action to take to defend America from terrorism, is to create understanding and harmony in our world.

As Kyle Kajihiro, of American Friends Service Committee, said, “Live fire in the Aloha State is inappropriate.”

Hawaii, the Aloha State, is the perfect place for this revolution of peace to go forth, arm in arm with our Burmese sisters and brothers. For your sake as well as ours, PLEASE HEAR US LOUD AND CLEAR—once and for all--when we say NO to Strykers.

Barbara Ann “Kenonilani” Moore

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