What do you call the transfer of thousands foreign troops into an occupied island that has no voice in government? Gross imperialism? How about calling it Guam. So Stars and Stripes’ coverage of Guam comes as a breath of fresh air to the stale journalistic party line and raises awareness of the colonized 31-mile-long island and the Chamoru community, Guam’s indigenous population.
Proposals to transfer American troops from bases in Okinawa to the base in Guam — which makes up only about a third of the island — could bring in a U.S. military community as large as 80,000 people and expand the population by 50 percent. That’s too bad.
Colonized people bear the burden of wearing the international “kick me” sign with American military hardware in their back yard. Just ask Hawaii (another occupied nation).
Having been occupied by the Spanish, Japanese and Americans for the past 500 years, the people of Guam have never had a say in their self-determination.
They are, for example, deemed U.S. citizens but can’t vote and have no voting representatives in Congress.
In fact, Congress — which actually drafted Guam’s constitution in 1950 — can overturn any law passed by Guam’s legislature.
Again, that’s too bad for a people who experience significantly high rates of cancer due to U.S. nuclear weapons tests in the vicinity.
What’s more, in preparation for the “Guam Buildup,” last year the DoD released a damning report that spelled doom for Guam’s ecology: Jungles, wetlands and coral reefs cleared; historic places turned into shooting ranges; shortages of drinking water and problems with sewage and radioactive waste.
Stripes’ Guam article (“Guam seeks closure to its nearly 30-year quest for wartime reparations,” Nov. 29 edition) should leave us all asking the question: While our economy is in the pot, and while our government argues we need to cut spending, why is $10 billion going to expand the military empire to the Pacific?
Call it the Guam stimulus package that no one voted for.
Nathan Van Schaik
U.S. is not responsible
I don’t normally write letters in response to news stories, but I just couldn’t let this one go. Regarding Stars and Stripes’ coverage of Guam (“Guam seeks closure to its nearly 30-year quest for wartime reparations,” Nov. 29 edition): So, the Japanese invaded Guam during World War II and committed atrocities, so naturally, it’s up to the U.S. to pay the survivors and their descendants. Wait! What?
And how about the quote from Rita Santos Cruz: “We were not even Americans, and we were punished.” So basically, if it had been Americans killed and raped, that would have been understandable and acceptable.
I’m sick and tired of this great country using my tax dollars for inane purposes, and I rank these reparations in that category. Look at the lives lost by our military during this war, a war we didn’t want, but were drawn into. Also, look at the money that will flow into this island as the build-up occurs. How about they take some of the millions being spent in their economy and giving it to the few survivors that are left and their descendants, of whom none actually endured the atrocities. It’s time America quit apologizing for things we didn’t do and for which we aren’t responsible. I’m sorry this happened, but I’m also sorry we’ve sacrificed thousands of our best and brightest in the current wars, along with the many thousands that we have sacrificed before. Then, we’re expected to cough up money in order to appease everyone.
Capt. Ray Vincent
Ramstein Air Base, Germany