The public should be deeply concerned with the process surrounding the adoption of state House Concurrent Resolution 3 and its companion measure in the Senate, which opposed the United States Army’s proposed force reduction of Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter Bases.

Under the pretext of time sensitive circumstances, a vote on the resolution was called in both chambers of the Legislature, without public hearing, on the second day of the 2015 Legislative session. Resolutions typically go through the same referral process as bills, but not until much later in the session.

The vote blindsided the Legislature’s own members, and the resolution was opposed by an obscene minority of one. Only state Rep. Kaniela Ing had the courage to fulfill his obligation as a representative of the voices of the people and raise concerns over the well-being of future generations in Hawaii.

Army soldiers silhouettes

Many politicians argue that it is in Hawaii’s best interest economically for the Army to maintain the current scale of its presence here.

U.S. Army

The Legislature’s simultaneous glorification of armed force in the name of “freedom” and its suppression of democracy through the fast-tracking of this controversial measure is astounding.

The resolution was meant to provide a message of unanimous opposition for troop reduction, with zero regard for public input.

As much as we, as a society, are addicted to federal dollars linked to military spending, the military is addicted to the youth from our communities who struggle with poverty and joblessness.

State legislators submitted the resolution to Department of the Army leaders from Washington, D.C., at the cruelly lopsided Army community listening session on Jan. 27.

While the resolution is not binding as law, it will have a powerful influence on senior leadership in the Army as they formulate a decision regarding Army-wide reductions in personnel, which will be announced in the late summer of 2015.

As a member of the Filipino community, I write as someone close to those most impacted by an economy that depends on the use of force and stolen land for survival.

As much as we, as a society, are addicted to federal dollars linked to military spending, the military is addicted to the youth from our communities who struggle with poverty and joblessness.

Now is the moment to decrease our inter-generational dependency on the U.S. military.

A reduction in military forces means a safer and more livable Hawaii. A number of realities demonstrate that U.S. military presence does not mean increased security for the people of Hawaii.

For example, the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii has reported an “alarming increase” in the number of DUI incidents involving service members off-base. Social service providers point out that the U.S. military fuels the proliferation of prostitution and sex trafficking in Hawaii, which is frenzied during the biennial RIMPAC training exercises.

As incidences of domestic violence decrease nationally across the civilian world, domestic violence in military family and veteran communities in Hawaii is increasing.

In addition, subsidies like military housing allowances dwarf civilian paychecks, inflating rent in an already unaffordable market. These are just several of many insecurities caused by the phenomenal military concentration in Hawaii.

De-militarization makes economic sense. But, as with any metamorphosis, there will be acute growing pains in the transition to a more sustainable, diverse, and locally-driven economy.

We should urge our legislators to focus on facilitating this transition, rather than fighting to maintain reliance on precarious federal funding and top-down decisions.

Militarism touches every corner of our community and is the economic lifeblood of the islands. In Hawaii, challenging fundamental assumptions about its logic is considered professional suicide.

There must also be a focus on the resolution of historical disputes and ongoing injustices. The federal government has shirked its responsibility to people and land devastated by U.S. militarism.

For one, we need to hold the federal government accountable for the massive dislocation of Compact of Free Association migrants and for the degradation of Kahoolawe, Makua, and many other sites of ecological and cultural importance.

We must also collectively build pathways to address the loss of self-determination of the Native Hawaiian people and to confront the role of the U.S. military in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Militarism touches every corner of our community and is the economic lifeblood of the islands. In Hawaii, challenging fundamental assumptions about its logic is considered professional suicide.

This climate of fear is singular and surreal, and must be broken. This issue is so important that it deserves and requires serious and meaningful discussion with the inclusion of the public.

There may be no way procedurally to take back the concurrent resolutions in the Senate and House, but we should demand that the Legislature convene a public hearing to comment on the merits of the issue in an appropriate forum.

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