Sunday, March 4, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, March 4, 2001

Vieques bombing halt has Isle implications

The parallels with Hawaii’s "target isle," Kahoolawe, and its Puerto Rican counterpart, Vieques, are striking.

Puerto Rican nationalists have been seeking a bombing halt and return of the island to civilian control from the Navy for years. That, of course, is what happened here.

The Navy used Kahoolawe as a bombing target range for 50 years.

President George Bush ordered the bombing to stop in 1990. In November 1993, Congress said the island should be returned to Hawaii.

Now Bush’s son, our new president, has ordered a halt to the Navy’s bombing on Vieques while negotiators pursue a permanent solution. It’s hard to imagine an outcome that returns the island to its full military use.

One wonders if a similar future isn’t in store for the Army’s use of Makua Valley in West Oahu.

What should concern all of us, whether you favor an end to military use of target areas or not, is the shrinking supply of live-fire training sites in which to keep troops in fighting trim. Their safety and ours depend on it.

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