US Military Should Give Back Hawaii Lands

Ann Wright says her home state should not agree to a re-leasing, no matter the amount that is offered. 

Aug. 25, 1984: U.S. soldiers engage in a live-fire exercise at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. (U.S. National Archives)

By Ann Wright
Honolulu Star Advertiser

The 65-year leases of 30,000 acres of Hawaii state land by the U.S. military are ending in 2029. The U.S. Army is seeking public comments on the environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning the re-leasing proposal by Sept. 1. 

The state of Hawaii should not re-lease these lands no matter what the amount the U.S. military offers.

The leases on 23,000 acres at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, 4,370 acres at the Kawailoa/Poamoho Training Area, 1,170 acres at the Kahuku Training Area and 760 acres at the Makua Military Reservation were given away essentially for free, with the state charging only $1 for each parcel for 65 years!

The three areas on Oahu are one third of the 18,060 federal and state lands used for military training on the island, while the 23,000 acres at Pohakuloa are 17 percent  of the 133,000 acres that comprise the largest military training area in the state and in the Pacific region.

We are subjected to a daily dose of the U.S. military build-up for what the Indo-Pacific command is calling “our enemy China.” We know what happens when the U.S. tries to resolve disputes through military action — millions of persons dead and wounded, including tens of thousands of U.S. military, as evidenced by the wars in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately disputes with countries are resolved not by military action, but by dialogue, so why are we spending trillions on weapons that ultimately do not solve the situation?

As residents of Hawaii, I think we should want to be known as an area of peace and dialogue using the Hawaiian technique of ho‘oponopono, a practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, rather than as a base for projecting the U.S. propensity for killing over using diplomacy to reduce tensions with other countries.

A first step would be reducing the U.S. military footprint in Hawaii by refusing to re-lease 30,000 acres currently used by the U.S. military.

Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a colonel. She is also a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.  She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia.  In December 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the U.S. embassy in Kabul. She is co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.  

This article is from the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.



7 comments for “US Military Should Give Back Hawaii Lands

  1. Dennis Hanna
    August 19, 2021 at 17:14

    A long, long, long, long, story made short.
    Retirement, Revelation, Riches.
    President Eisenhower on retiring warned of the so-called “Military, Industrial Complex,” which in his handwriting drafts included “Congressional” … “Complex.”
    When asked why he excluded “Congressional” from his formal public speech, he said, Starting two fights was enough.”
    An earlier and far more enlightening discussion under the “3” Rs is War is a Racket by Smedley Butler.
    A more recent version is Andrew J. Bracevich and his excellent books, particularly, America’s War (for the greater Middle East). Most relevant currently, because he writes about Afghanistan in detail.
    My favorite is Tulsi Gabbard, whom I supported with more than a little time, effort and money. No!, not because I thought she could win, but everyone once again could see, hear and, not!, listen, care or do … to end Wars of Aggression, War Crimes and War Criminals.
    I live on Kauai, North Shore. On the South Shore there is an Air Force Base, Barking Sands.
    The Pentagon withdrew a automatized, funded planned to build a facility there because it was technologically no longer current and didn’t work as intended anyone.
    But, the politicians Nationally and locally not only in Hawaii, on Kauai and another island have labored hard and tirelessly to have the facility built.
    Simply, the technology companies want it, the military companies want it, the locals want the work, jobs and ripple economic affect and other “Good Americans” want it for the same and other reasons.
    It will be built even though it is antiquated and doesn’t work.
    As the day goes, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”
    On to Syria, oops!, already there. On to Lebanon, Iran and Africa.
    Finally, we live in a military, industrial, surveillance, security state (misss) authorized by Congress, our political leaders.
    Read, Permanent Record, Edward Snowden and, because Americans don’t books, see the movie, A Good American.
    dennis hanna

  2. James Apone
    August 19, 2021 at 03:43

    I totally agree with the colonel.

  3. Jan
    August 18, 2021 at 17:37

    Direct occupation of some Hawai?i lands by the US Army is only the most visible aspect of the illegal occupation of the entire Kingdom by the US. Pretending that this is not so is like the USSR pretending that its annexation of the Baltic states was legal. A house of cards built on lies.


  4. Patricia Tursi, Ph.D,
    August 18, 2021 at 16:30

    I heard Ann Wright speak and she is inspiring. So was IZ….in the the first song, Panini Pua Kea, he sings Cry for the People…Cry for the Land That Was Taken Away….I believe that I know how Iz would have answered. The beauty and soul of Hawai need restoration… Do not sign it away again. hXXps:// Listen to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole sing this

  5. evelync
    August 18, 2021 at 16:26

    Thank you Ann for making us aware of this so we can provide the Army with our views on this!
    At Stars and Stripes I found this:
    “Comments can be mailed to Oahu ATLR EIS Comments, P.O. Box 3444, Honolulu, HI 96801-3444 or emailed to usarmy.hawaii.nepa@mail DOT mil”

    Will there be a place on the army web site to add our views, please?
    I hope CODEPINK does an outreach on this!!!
    Thanks, Evelyn

  6. August 18, 2021 at 16:12

    I thought that there were no good soldiers in the US. Why did you remain for 29 years? You couldnt see the agenda? You were not yet tired of murdering innocent people and calling it ‘collateral damage?” I give you credit for leaving and for being in oppostion to war. But what took you so long? I have perceived the nature of US military since the Vietnam fiasco. Did you not see what the US does from your barrel? I am glad that you turned to the right side, but please use your hate of war to convince those considering enlisting to think twice over such a bad decision.

  7. Nylene13
    August 18, 2021 at 12:08

    Yes. Get the Military out of Hawaii.

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