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Insight on the News
Liberals Sing Different Tune On Vieques
By Sean Paige
October 29, 2001
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, national-security concerns suddenly seemed to eclipse more ephemeral issues as a shocked and shaken America underwent a seismic shift in its outlook and priorities. Those politicians who had been banging the gong to drive the U.S. military off its premier live-fire training range on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques suddenly have gone silent. Some undoubtedly because the spotlight has turned elsewhere; others, we can only hope, in recognition of the folly and irresponsibility of their position in light of the new realism.
Suddenly on the brink of a "war" with terrorists, and with the centerpiece of America's greatest city a smoldering ruin, military readiness isn't something to be toyed with, trivialized or demagogued for political advantage. "Everyone understands that times have changed," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.), managing to sound more cynical than chastened. "You can't pull the rug out from under the war effort at this moment."
At this moment, Mr. Senator? And at what other moment would it be appropriate to pull the rug out from under the men and women training for deployment overseas?
Also suddenly silent on the Vieques issue are the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Puerto Rico Gov. Sila Maria Calderon-- each of whom had supported the immediate eviction of the U.S. Navy from the island for transparently political, and thus cynical, purposes.