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calendar   Wednesday - September 01, 2004

Careful what you ask for

Two of the best bosses I ever had in the Air Force were Colonels of Puerto Rican descent while I worked at the American Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. They taught me a lot and I am indebted to them. Why do I bring this up? Because it helps set the stage for the following story I got from one of them.



One of the many headaches that the U. S. had was the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques. In the waning years of the Clinton Administration, protesters demanded that the US Navy abandon bombing and naval gun fire exercises that had taken place on the largely uninhabited island for nearly seventy years. Liberal icons bumped into one another to fly to Puerto Rico, boat over to the island, trespass (but never on a day that there was an exercise scheduled) and get arrested for the benefit of the New York Times or Newsweek. They included : Al Sharpton, Mrs. Jesse Jackson, Joan Baez, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Edward Olmos, Michael Moore and Ramsey Clark, just to name a few. These in addition of the local politicos and strap hangers.

In 2002, the bombing exercises were transferred to an Air Force bombing range in central Florida, not far from the Jacksonville and Pensacola Naval Air Stations. In January, many of the protesters were back in Puerto Rico, celebrating the final bombing exercise on Vieques and waved Puerto Rican flags and placards that read:
"U.S. Navy, get out of Puerto Rico."


The following Feb, Rumsfeld announced that the U.S. Navy will close the Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico in 2004, eliminating 1200 civilian jobs as well as 700 military positions. This naval facility is estimated to have put nearly $300 million annually into the local economy. The next day a stunned governor Sila Calderon, held a news conference in San Juan, protesting the base closure as a serious blow to the Commonwealth's fragile economy. The governor stated that "The people of Puerto Rico don't now or never did have an interest in closing the Vieques bombing range or the Roosevelt Roads naval base. We are interested in both staying in Puerto Rico."

When asked, the Commander-in Chief, Western Atlantic Command, said, "Without Vieques, I see no further need for the facility at Roosevelt Roads. None."

So, Yanqui go home? Fine. But we'll take our dollars with us. Hasta la vista, baby!

On February 21, the Secretary of Defense also announced that starting this year, the U.S. European Command would begin moving most if not all of its active combat and support units from bases in Germany to others being established in Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary and Turkey to "better position them for rapid deployment to likely hot spots in those parts of the world".

Immediately the business and government leaders in the German states of Hesse, Rhineland and Wurttemburg, protested the loss of nearly $6 billion in revenue each year from the bases and manpower to be displaced. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry speculated that the move may be "what the Americans call 'payback' for the actions of this government in opposing Military action in Iraq.

" Does anyone know the German translation for "Hasta la vista, baby?"

Oh, ain't it nice to see a government with guts and a good memory.


Note from Vilmar: Did you know the United Sates taxpayer funds Puerto Rico to the tune of $22 billion per YEAR!?!?!
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Posted by Ranting Right Wing Howler   United States  on 09/01/2004 at 11:42 AM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsPolitics •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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