POSTED: 8 DECEMBER 2007 - 10:00am HST

PMRF: An Industrial Park on Steroids

image above: Cover of package for release of "Missile Command" by Atari ©1980

[Editor's Note: This is the text of a letter to the editor submitted to The Garden Island News on 12/7/08 in response to letter published 12/6/07 and reproduced below]

Kauai: Are you safer today?
by Juan Wilson on 8 December 2007

Emmette Honjiyo wrote Thursday that Kauai is in fact safer because the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) is here on Kauai. I don't agree. The PMRF is less a defensive military base as it is an industrial park for military contractors (Raytheon, ITT, Lockheed-Martin and many others). The few actual military personnel at the PMRF are site managers, project supervisors and contract chasers. The military of the PMRF doesn't even supply its own base security but chooses to subcontract that function to ITT Corporation.

The telecommunications and research operations at the PMRF may (and I emphasize MAY) play some future strategic role in a worse-case-scenario conflagration with China, but those "defensive" activities simply paint a cross-hair on a bulls-eye that will be our island in any fight for control of the Pacific. Our antiballistic missile posture indicates our intention to "win" such an event. We on Kauai will be vaporized the same day Pearl harbor is hit.
Feeling safe is a very subjective thing.

Maybe we'd feel safer if the Coast Guard was not part of Homeland Security and focused instead on air/sea rescue and guarding our coasts. Now they are more involved with drug intervention and terrorism. The USCG is closing down our public harbor to protect a corporate/military high-speed ferry. The USCG might better spend its time protecting our shores against that kind of piracy.

Maybe we'd feel safer if instead of being in Iraq, the Hawaii National Guard was all stationed in the islands, at strategic spots, dedicated to dealing with natural disasters and protecting us from direct invasion from unwelcome visitors.
But it seems far fetched to me that people feel safer with the PMRF here guarded by ITT rent-a-cops.

Certainly, it is true that the PMRF brings money to our island. It is hundred-of -millions of dollars of pork-barrel spending wasted on weapons systems that we can only pray will never be used. Some of the money trickles down through base employees spending money to live here. But, it is not the kind of money we should want. That money could go to these same contractors for a crash program to make Hawaii energy independent. Wouldn't we feel safer then?

image above: Screenshot from recent version game. Defending nuclear plants from missiles.

from the TGI Forum on 12/6/07

All about location
Looks like somebody needs to learn to read a map. Since Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy stumbled onto Waimea, Kaua‘i, 230 years ago, the outside world learned that these islands were the perfect place from which to control the world’s biggest ocean. Location ... location ... location.

In 1817, a Czarist Russian representative enlisted the aid of High Chief Kaumuali‘i, to build three forts on Kaua‘i, in the hope of conquering the rest of the island chain, with the aid of Russian troops. In the 1830s, a French gunboat extorted gold, by threatening to shell Honolulu. In 1843, Royal Navy Commander Lord George Paulet seized control of Honolulu for six months, until forced to relinquish it by his commanding officer. Finally, in 1893, American businessmen, protected by sailors and marines from the USS Boston, overthrew the monarchy. It was not the presence of military bases, but the lack of them that precipitated the Kingdom’s downfall.

Any local kid who attended public schools here knows these facts. The Japanese brought death, destruction; and the threat of imperial rule in 1941. In the 21st century, economic superpower China, and rising superpower Russia, are flexing their military strength. What more perfect place to build airfields and harbors, than these Hawaiian Islands?

Anyone who believes that Hawai‘i would be safer without American military bases, should visit the remains of Fort Elisabeth in Waimea, just across the river from where the British landed. Perhaps they could learn how to say “I surrender” in Mandarin Chinese, or “Please, don’t kill me” in Russian.

Emmette Honjiyo


see also:
Island Breath: Navy Pland for Pacific
Island Breath: PMRF Program Expansion
Island Breath: PMRF Lease Plans