No peace in paradise:The military presence in the Hawaiian Islands

Kyle Kajihiro has an excellent piece in the Haleakala Times giving a comprehensive review of past and present military issues and threats in Hawaii, and resistance to militarization in the islands.
Today the enormity of the U.S. military presence in Hawai‘i is staggering:

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the combined military branches in 2004 have 161 military installations in Hawai‘i. The military controls 236,303 acres in Hawai‘i, or 5.7 percent of the total land area. On O‘ahu, the most densely populated island, the military controls 85,718 acres out of 382,148 acres, or 22.4 percent of the island. The military also controls vast stretches of ocean, including Defensive Sea Areas in Kane‘ohe Bay, from Pearl Harbor to Koko Head, and off the west shore of Kaua‘i. The entire Hawaiian archipelago is surrounded by 210,000 square miles of ocean military operating areas and 58,599 square miles of military special use airspace.

Combined with the 116,000 retired military personnel living in Hawai‘i, the military-connected population totals 217,030, or 17 percent of Hawaii’s total population. The 2000 U.S. Census found that Hawai‘i has the largest percentage of its population in the military among the states.

Issues include: Taking Land, Threats to Native Hawaiian Cultural Survival, Environmental Contamination, Prostitution, Threats to Native Ecosystems and Endangered Species, Militarization of Youth, and Economic Dependency.

Past Resistance to Militarization in Hawai‘i includes: Kaho‘olawe, Makua Valley, Halawa Valley / H- Freeway, Nohili / Pacific Missile Range Facility, Waikane Valley and Pohakuloa.

Current Military Expansion Threats include: Stryker Brigade, “Star Wars” Missile Defense, and Aircraft Carrier Strike Group.
Ku‘e: Current Resistance to Militarization

DMZ-Hawai‘i / Aloha ‘Aina is a network of organizations and individuals working to demilitarize and reverse the negative impacts of the enormous military presence in Hawai‘i. The network was conceived at the Rethinking Militarism in Hawai‘i Conference in 2000, organized by American Friends Service Committee that brought together activists representing various movements and communities in Hawai‘i as well as international resource people. The DMZ-Hawai‘i / Aloha ‘Aina network united environmental, peace, anti-nuclear, womens’, religious and Kanaka Maoli sovereignty and independence groups for the common purpose of demilitarization.

The term “DMZ” stands for Demilitarized Zone, a term reclaimed from its usual military context. “Aloha ‘Aina” expresses the core Kanaka Maoli value of “love for the land” and places Hawaiian cultural and political struggle at the center of this diverse grouping.

The main campaigns of DMZ-Hawai‘i / Aloha ‘Aina are: opposing the Stryker Brigade, opposing the Navy UARC at the University of Hawai‘i, and supporting the struggle for clean up and return of Makua valley. Actions have included pickets, marches, civil disobedience, lawsuits and Kanaka Maoli cultural forms of resistance.

Posted: Mon - May 14, 2007 at 12:41 PM    
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Published On: May 14, 2007 12:58 PM
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