Letter: Navy’s ‘courtroom antics’ shouldn’t impress judge

Editor,

Jessie Stensland’s March 14 Whidbey News-Times article addressed the Navy’s March 5 request of the court to consider a non-public, secret declaration of the U.S. assistant attorney general asking the court to take into account the Growler’s critical mission before the court rules on COER’s preliminary injunction to roll back carrier landing operations at the OLF to pre-2019 levels.

No one is allowed to see, read or hear that declaration other than the judge and the Navy; that includes COER’s board of directors and its attorneys. COER objects to the Navy’s secret courtroom antic. As one of its members mentioned, “It’s like blindfolding one of the boxers in a boxing match and claiming it to be a ‘fair fight,’” A reasonable judge will not be impressed or taken in.

The Navy says the declaration includes classified information that will explain the Growler’s critical role “in our national security and the potential national security risk that would arise if the motion for preliminary injunction is granted,” meaning if the Growler practice had to be moved off island.

Our organization has always accepted the Growler’s critical role in our national defense. It follows that proper pilot training is critical. Everyone agrees and respects that. However, COER does not accept that the OLF is “critical” — i.e., the only place in the United States where effective training is possible. If the OLF were actually critical, then where is the essential protection, where are the armed guards, where is the 20,000-acre security buffer surrounded with a chain-link barbed-wire fence?

What would happen if there was an earthquake that rendered the runway destroyed? Guess that would be it for national defense — no place left for critical Growler practice. Nonsense.

But that does raise an important question: Accepting that Growlers are indeed essential to our defense, why cluster them all in one small target area? Why not protect them by dispersal in multiple bases across the country? That is exactly what reasoned military policy requires and stipulates should be done. Why the exemption?

As always and by whatever peculiar reasoning — why does the OLF only operate under multiple exemptions— one after another? Too short in length, way short in buffer acreage, way too encroached on and woefully exempted from smart DoD multiple-siting policy.

Robert Wilbur

President, COER

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Price Johnson the kind of leader needed in Olympia

Editor, The first time I saw Helen Price Johnson was at a… Continue reading

Letter: Neighbors helping neighbors in the Coupeville way

Editor, Last Monday, our neighbors across the street, Rob and Traci York,… Continue reading

Letter: Good Cheer is here for all in need, no questions asked

Editor, At times like these, Good Cheer is here for our community.… Continue reading

Letter: Hospital management doing all it can

Editor, Hospital management is doing all it can as small systems close… Continue reading

Letter: Hospital was impacted but will get through this difficult time

Editor, A recently published letter to Gov. Jay Inslee has caused concern.… Continue reading

Letter: Don’t need the $1,200 check? Maybe share with those who do

Editor, Soon, many of us will receive $1,200 checks from the U.S.… Continue reading

Letter: Maybe you feel great, but you can still be contagious

Editor, I’m glad to see more and more people following the 6-foot… Continue reading

Letter: Grocery store workers should all be commended

Editor, I just returned from grocery shopping at Payless in Freeland. I… Continue reading

Letter: ‘Golden Rule is alive and well on Whibey Island’

Editor, As senior citizens with compromised immune systems, we have tried to… Continue reading

Most Read