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: Don’t allow developers to be only voice in growth

Editor, I read that one of the oldest native madrona trees on… Continue reading

Letter: ‘A few hoodlums’ at the Capitol Jan. 6. Really?

Editor, In contrast to Fred Wilferth, on Jan. 20 I took my… Continue reading

Letter: I Support the Girls sets ambitious goal for 2021

Ediwtor, We the volunteers of I Support the Girls Whidbey Island welcome… Continue reading

Letter: Sad to read about removal of Oak Harbor madrona

Editor, I was disheartened to learn of the planned removal of the… Continue reading

Letter: Edit letters for brevity, decency and frequency

Editor, As a subscriber, I am writing to ask you to please… Continue reading

Letter: Biden mistaken if he thinks he has a handle on dissent

Editor, Today I will take down my American flag, fold it and… Continue reading

Letter: ‘I wear my mask to protect you, Fred’

Editor, In response to Fred Wilferth‘s Jan. 15 letter to the editor… Continue reading

Letter: Find a safe alternative to returning to classes

Editor, If we as parents didn’t know what social-emotional learning was before… Continue reading

Letter: If you see Gretchen, be sure to thank her

Editor, Change can be difficult. Change and transitions happen in our lives.… Continue reading

Most Read