Who didn’t see this coming? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Who didn’t see this coming?

by John Davis

Guam - As a result of Okinawa's Mayoral Election and the people of Okinawa electing Susumu Inamine, a candidate that echoed the Okinawan people's sentiments of removing all U.S. Military personnel off the island, the people of Guam may get their second chance at making a first impression.  I hope our leaders are wearing Head & Shoulders because it would make the task a bit easier.

When the people become dissatisfied with their government because their unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being infringed upon, it is the right of the people to alter their government or abolish it and institute a new government.

This language is contained in the Declaration of Independence and can be related to events regarding the uproar from the people of Japan as they threaten to basically vote out the current Japan Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama should he not listen to their concerns about the relocation of the Futenma Air Base come time for elections in summer 2010. 

The 60 thousand plus people of Okinawa elected Inamine because he opposes the relocation of the Futenma Air Base just North of its current location.  The outgoing Mayor, Yoshikazu Shimabukuro was only in support of the bases relocation within Japan, he did not listen to his people so they voted him out of office.  If Inamine continues to listen to the pulse of the Okinawan community, there's an even greater chance the Futenma Air Base and all of its personnel will be relocated to Guam and not Nago, Japan along with the 8 thousand Marines and 9 thousand dependents due here by 2014, especially because Okinawan residents oppose any new Marine Base in their region.

GovGuam experts are saying the delay could be good for Guam, by possibly extending timelines for projects that need to be done outside the fence. They also say with a delay in timelines, the promise of an economic boost could be put off as well.  Don't forget though, projects outside the fence will be funded by the government of Guam in the form of long term, low interest loans, which means life on Guam will not get better.  Don't even bother thinking about the "rising tide lifts all ships" line, it's no use.  The tide may be rising, but the ship called the Government of Guam has had a big hole in it for quite some time causing it to continue sinking year after year.  The only ones bailing out water to keep this ship from sinking is the people of Guam, how much longer do think we can bailing?  Not much longer, our people aren't getting richer and our land isn't getting larger.  This GovGuam ship needs a massive overhaul and who's going to fix it to keep it afloat for when this rising tide comes in? Not the federal government or investors or the Japan government.  It will be the burden placed on the people of Guam and yes, it's unfair and additional taxation so be sure not to get it twisted.

The only good thing out of this delay is that our local skilled labor force will have more time to train local workforce hopefuls.  Hopefully making a bigger dent in numbers of H2-B workers and U.S. mainland hires that will make their way to Guam if we as people are not able to supply enough homegrown laborers.  Even at that, we must remember "all U.S. Citizens will be treated equally" and experience is a plus.  Let's be realistic, the longer it takes for our government to prepare for this transition of military personnel from Okinawa to Guam, prices for construction materials and supplies will get higher, the cost of labor will get higher and the cost of living will get higher.  This is all based on the same speculation that the Marines will come, just like the prices for houses, materials and supplies are all higher now based on 2006 speculation that the Marines were coming.

According to KUAM archives, in November of 2009, Gates confirmed that if the Futenma Air Base did not go through, neither would the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.  This is a perfect example of the heavy-handedness of the federal government.  Gates is right, if Futenma is not relocated within Japan or to Guam, all military personnel will stay right where they are, which would crush diplomatic relations between the 2 nations.    The federal government will impose their force on the Japan people, because after all, "National Interest" doesn't mean Japan's National Interest or Guam's National Interest, it means the National Interest of the U.S. Government.  So, if you were the Secretary of defense and you could only satisfy the people of Japan or the people Guam who would you satisfy?  Who has more money, Guam or Japan? Japan is exactly right.

The days of "Gung Ho" and "Mr. Baseball" are over.  The people of Japan no longer strive for that "American way of life" they have formed their own minds, ideals and economy over the years.  The people of Japan are just trying to take back what was once theirs, their land, their unalienable rights and their culture so who are we to fault them?

Bottom line, if the Marines don't come to Guam, they will be staying in Okinawa.  The federal government will do whatever it takes to protect their interests and not even the people of Japan will change the minds of the military machine.  The truth is, the U.S. has too many enemies in the Western Pacific Region, take China and North Korea for example, for every one Army Missile Defense Station constructed on Gam, there will be twice as many more missiles point in our general direction.  Is it worth an economic boom for the people of Guam?  Is it worth our land and our waters?  Is it worth all the pain and suffering the people in Okinawa have gone through to negotiate the relocation agreement?  Nope.

Our leaders must take a page out of the Okinawan Mayor-Elect and the Okinawan community's playbook and start voicing the peoples legitimate concerns about this military buildup, now's the time for action so act now.

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