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New York Post

Pataki To The Forefront?

September 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 New York Post. All Rights Reserved.

Gov. Pataki hasn't been as visible as the city's Energizer Bunny mayor over the past two weeks, but he's been exercising quiet leadership in his own right - and he deserves credit for it.

Pataki swiftly ordered the state National Guard into action - and he's made certain that relevant state emergency agencies have been functioning properly.

Now he needs to step forward and exercise leadership at the national level.

For months, Pataki has been at the forefront of the effort to shut down the U.S. Navy's live-fire range on the Puerto Rican islet of Vieques .

The debate over Vieques has been bitter at times.

The Navy says it needs the facility to properly train is aviators and gunners. Others, including Pataki, argued that an alternate training site was necessary - though, typically, they offered no specifics.

Now that debate needs to end.

Yesterday, demonstrators disrupted live-fire exercises involving the Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans - and the activists made it clear they would do their best to halt all training there.

That would be unacceptable.

To send young Americans into combat lacking the training they need to keep them as effective - to say nothing of personally safe - as possible would be worse than irresponsible.

It would be worse than unpatriotic.

It would be a sin!

Again, George Pataki has performed admirably over the past two weeks.

His past efforts to close the Vieques range give him considerable political capital to spend on this issue; he needs to step forward on behalf of the aviators, sailors and Marines who need what Vieques has to offer - and to tell the protesters simply to stop.

Pataki needs to lead.

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