Opinion

SOUNDOFF: Navy base could be Japanese

Sharon Embleton had a nice little entry in your letters to the editor of March 2. If the Navy, or any branch of the military, were looking for prospective enlistment material, Embleton would not be one to approach. I find it hard to imagine a person who can remember the PBYs, to have a memory so short as to think the freedom of speech enjoyed today was not bought with the blood of the military.

Over 225 years ago a few men in Philadelphia signed a document declaring this country free. Twelve years later they drew up a constitution to govern this new land. Freedom of speech was cited in that document. Many countries have tried to destroy those two documents, but our professional military and civilian forces who augmented the professionals made sure no one was going to destroy those two precious documents. They put their lives on the line and many gave that supreme sacrifice.

If one remembers the PBYs, their memory should also recall names like Adolph Hitler, H. Tojo, B. Mussolini, and J. Stalin. People who tried to destroy our Constitution and failed. Pearl Harbor, Bataan and Midway are places where the professionals held the line until the civilian forces were mobilized and trained. Together they, in time, led to the deck of the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

In those days we had time on our side. The professionals could hold the line while the civilian forces were mobilized and together they won out. No longer are we blessed with a time factor to build up the required forces. The forces available on day one must be fully equipped and trained. Ready to go. Following Pearl Harbor we were able to trade space for time. But by August 1942 the United States was finished trading space for time. Guadalcanal was the first step to Tokyo.

Embleton states that “All the Navy does is use us and abuse us....forced people to sell their properties.” I get the idea that the Embleton family has been around Whidbey Island for many years. Maybe even a part of the early settlers. The expressions quoted by Embleton about the Navy in specific and the military in general could be taken from the quote by the Indians/Native Americans and their views of the white man moving in and taking over all the land that was once 100 percent Indian/Native American. Could it be that the military modeled their method of land acquisition after that used by the early settlers (my needs are greater than your needs, so I’m taking over)?

If the American military had not been able to train and operate for war most of these bases would still be military facilities, but not operated by Americans. The markings on the side of the airplanes would be Nazi swastika of the Japanese rising sun (meatball). I am sure that the military takes over more land than they truly need when acquisition enters the picture. So far they have never tried to take any land that I own, or have owned. And I am sure I would object to any efforts, by anyone, to take what is mine, or what I consider mine. But unlike Nazi Germany or the USSR who just moved in and took over, in the United States, if the military feels they have a need for the land the problem is in the hands of Congress and the courts. And right now the military is trying to close many military facilities as not required and to bring down the cost of the military budget. Many members of Congress want to close many military facilities, so long as the closed facility is “not within my district.”

So, much of the credit or blame for land acquisition can be credited to Congress, in general. Members who we elected to serve in our best interest. Did Congress not act in our best interest? Just remember that the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November on even numbered years is election day.

Robert D. Brown lives in Oak Harbor

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