Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz
The Speaker's Weekly Address
"Facts, Lies, and Futenma"
Hafa adai. I learned at a very young age to love the truth. Though reasonable people might share honest differences with each other, anyone who loves the truth must care about the facts – wherever they lead.
The fact is that the military buildup was delayed and ultimately reduced in scope because of a condition that no Guam official could influence or create. According to a February 13th report issued by the Congressional Research Service entitled, "Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments," that condition was the need for a Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF).
The 25-page report authored by an expert in the field and provided to members of Congress sets forth the facts concerning the buildup and the fundamental reasons for its delay.
If you read this report you will find no mention of the Guam Legislature, the myriad of Resolutions we have passed or the letters we have sent. Page 12 of the report states:
"On April 25-26, 2011, Senators James Webb and Carl Levin visited Guam and met with local officials, who assured them that Guam's people support the defense buildup but with local gains and improved communication of information from the Defense Department."
The power of this statement does not come from what it says—it comes from what it does not say. It does not say that local leaders opposed the Buildup. It does not say that local leaders protested the military's presence on Guam. And it does not say that anyone acted in the "un-American" way Lee Webber, insinuates in his February 18th editorial in the Pacific Daily News.
But the facts may not matter to some people. Not too long ago, a master manipulator said; if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. Of course, it helps when this lie is printed in an editorial. Here is another fact contained on page 4 of the report: "In Tokyo on October 21st (2009), Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed to Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa the importance
of implementing the agreement by "moving forward expeditiously on the roadmap as agreed." Gates said at a news conference that "without the Futenma Relocation Facility, there will be no relocation to Guam. And without relocation to Guam, there will be no consolidation of forces and return of land in Okinawa."
Unfortunately, after more meetings the impasse could not be
broken and Page 5 of the report further states in part:
"Finally, on February 8, 2012, after some in Congress urged a review of the realignment in realistic recognition of the persistent impasse, Japan's officials visited Washington for meetings with Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense and State. The two sides agreed to ‘adjust' the Realignment Roadmap of 2006 and separate the move of marines from the Futenma Replacement Facility…in order to make progress separately."
The facts as reported to Congress are clear; Guam's officials support a Buildup that is responsibly implemented, the impasse regarding the relocation of Futenma caused the Buildup to stop on a dime, and in matters related to the Buildup, the Guam Legislature is as inconsequential to Congress as a boat on dry land.