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U.S. Should Buy Vieques

Worthiness Of Puerto Ricans

Bombing Range Is Needed

Jobs Will Leave Rosie Roads

No Rush To Stop Bombing

Don’t Close Bases That Cost U.S. Blood


U.S. Should Buy Vieques, Move Out Its Residents

July 8, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. All Rights Reserved.

Regarding Bob Herbert's column, "When the bombing ends on Vieques " (op-ed, June 20):

Has he ever been to Vieques ? All his references were to what he was told.

Puerto Rico 's economy depends on manufacturing: metals, chemicals, oil refining, textiles and sugar products. All the exports are to the United States, its main trading partner.

Operation Bootstrap, implemented during the 1940s, changed the island of Puerto Rico from an economy based on sugar cane and coffee. Since then, Puerto Rico has experienced vigorous economic development.

The industries located there enjoy low or no taxes. If the island is given its independence, the United States could charge an import tax on the products.

Let the United States buy the island of Vieques , move out the 9,000 inhabitants and continue the Navy's training.

Pasquale L. Giudice
U.S. Navy (ret.)


Terzian's prejudice, and his 'rhythm envy'

July 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Providence Journal. All Rights Reserved.

The thing about prejudice is that we all succumb to its insidious grasp at one time or another. After reading Philip Terzian's June 26 column ("A guy named Joe"), I was totally confused regarding his impression of historian Joseph Ellis, who walked with Dr. King and was on a first-name basis with Malcolm X.

How is it that a man with such a history could write about the people of Puerto Rico ("Living la vida Vieques ," April 19) as not being worth the trouble because they receive $13 billion in federal funds and do not pay federal taxes? How can he dismiss the fact that thousands of Puerto Rican service men and women have lost their lives in the service of the nation? Does he not know that the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry regiment was the most decorated in the Korean War? Or was he aware that Puerto Ricans would not pay federal taxes, even if they were allowed to, because of their low income as workers in American companies that benefit from the tax exemption?

Terzian misses his own point by ignoring the fact that the essence of citizenship is devoid of any arguments about "worthiness." The principles laid out by our Constitution give the president of the United States the same rights under the law as the poorest fisherman in the island of Vieques .

The U.S. citizens of the island of Vieques do not need to prove anything other than their honest desire to live in their homes without the fear of a stray bomb, polluted air and water, and devalued humanity. Much to Terzian's disappointment, George Bush has bought into that basic truth, and the Navy will soon leave. His arguments regarding the worth of Puerto Ricans reek of prejudice, except when it comes to the contributions of Ricky Martin. Here I believe Terzian has succumbed to a darker and more insidious emotion ... rhythm envy!


Letters To The Editor

Vieques Bombing Range Is Needed By U.S. Navy

July 13, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Columbus Dispatch. All Rights Reserved.

I have had enough of all the anti-military whining about Vieques Island ("Basic rights bombed with Vieques ,'' Forum column, July 3).

Let's get a few things straight. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. It is our land. Vieques is a remote, sparsely populated island on the far east end of the main island, far away from the large population centers.

Our Navy -- for all the expert peaceniks, that's the group with the boats -- needs to train. These same people who complain about training are the first to whine about a "lack of training'' if someone dies.

People such as syndicated columnist Mary McGrory demand that we find an alternative site. Where? I'd like to see on a map one unpopulated island in the Atlantic that we own.

The military usually goes out of its way to be good neighbors. It's the neighbors who go sour.

Neighbors of Miramar Naval Air Station, near San Diego, complained bitterly about noise caused by helicopters. Never mind that when the station was built it was in the middle of nowhere to avoid bothering anyone. Then the civilians moved in and built houses next door.

There are bombing ranges in the continental United States, too. One is in Indiana, and I don't see any protests there, so please stop the "ugly Americans bombing Puerto Ricans '' comments.

Frankly, the military should invest in grandstands outside the fences and charge admission. A lot of tourists would get a kick out of watching F/A-18s dropping real ordnance. After all, we pay big bucks to go to air shows to watch them fake it. Then, all the farmers could get into the tourism industry and make more money than they do now.

The answer is easy. The bombing range is marked and clearly posted as a dangerous area. If protesters want to scramble over the fence with a sign, let them. There is a term for that behavior: natural selection.

T. Todd Kipp


Jobs Will Leave With Air Station

Jerry McNulty, Fort Lauderdale

July 16, 2001
Copyright © 2001 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

I wonder how the 3,000 Puerto Ricans and the dozens of local contractors are going to feel when the air station at Rosie Roads, Puerto Rico, is partially, if not completely closed down?

But I suppose that the Revs. Sharpton and Jackson will be more than happy to find jobs for the personnel that will be "RIFed" (reorganization in force), the new buzzword for laid off.

Exactly what disease is caused by used ordnance is unclear, but according to Sharpton, there must be something wrong with these people. Why would they want to live near a gunnery range?

You might want to ask the people of Fort Walton Beach, home of Eglin Air Force Base. According to the local populace, they appreciate the military and the jobs that have been created.

But we know that all Sharpton and Jackson care about is getting their faces in the media. They have no real interest in helping Vieques, other than to increase the unemployment of Puerto Rico.

No Rush To Stop Bombing At Island

Robert W. Boice

July 16, 2001
Copyright © 2001. All Rights Reserved.

A letter you published on June 29 left me aghast. The writer is disturbed that the president has directed that the bombing of Vieques be brought to a halt in a specified time frame. He goes on to advocate that if we do as the president suggests, we ought to cut Puerto Rico loose. I lived for nine years in Puerto Rico, stationed in San Juan, but making frequent trips to Vieques, where our radio station was.

If we were to follow the writer's advice we would be cutting loose our largest naval air base in the Caribbean, Roosevelt Roads. This base is vital to protect the States from enemy attack.

Further, we would be playing into the hands of the Communist-led Independence Party. Those people would be overjoyed to see the U.S. out of there. Sadly, what most people don't realize these are the people who are taking advantage of the unfortunate accident on Vieques. It is sad to note that the rabble-rousers have joined forces with these questionable groups.

I for one support the president's decision to take our time to withdraw from Vieques at a slower pace. I have no doubt that carrying out the decision will encourage more Puerto Ricans to vote for statehood the next time the issue is presented to them.

Don't Close Bases That Cost U.S. Blood

July 16, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Greensboro News & Record. All Rights Reserved.

I've read where Al Sharpton ended his protest, fasting over military training on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

In my view, Sharpton and his fellow protesters thought maybe they could halt the operational training on the island.

Because of protesters, many of our allies overseas have closed our bases. The United States returned Iwo Jima to Japan - that was the bloodiest battle in the Pacific. Now there are negotiations between Okinawa and the U.S. to close our base there and remove the Third Marine Division. The same thing happened in the Philippines. Under pressure from the demonstrations, the Philippine government voted to close Clark Air Force Base. They also voted to close the United States' largest naval base on the island of Luzon. The Navy departed and relocated on Guam and other bases in the Pacific.

I am a World War II veteran and I have been outraged for a long time over these events. The free world is under the umbrella of America for protection. The infrastructure of those bases costs taxpayers millions of dollars. Others are now feasting on our foreign aid and the freedom America fought to preserve.

I hope this administration will continue its military policy on Vieques Island. If people want to demonstrate, that's their privilege.

Don Sexton

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