Monday, February 26, 2007

Military Power vs. People Power in Asia

FPIF Policy Report

People Power vs. Military Power in East Asia
John Feffer, IRC February 13, 2007
Editor: Chuck Hosking
Foreign Policy In Focus

People power does not just trouble the sleep of dictators. It can also introduce an element of unpredictability and uncertainty into the security debate in pluralist societies. People, to put it bluntly, can be a problem for the military because civilians frequently come between a military and its objectives.

"In the short term, making governments more accountable to people introduces new uncertainties and limits into diplomacy," Kent Caldor has written about Northeast Asia. Calder's point was that transitional democracies are not ready to open national security to public debate. But the people power quandary perhaps even more profoundly affects Washington. Other nation's democracies sound good on paper and in principle but are risky business in practice. Having frequently forged comfortable military relationships with reliably authoritarian
administrations such as Park Chung Hee's in South Korea, Chiang Kai-shek's in Taiwan, the United States has recently discovered that democratic movements in East Asia can pose an unpredictable and worrisome challenge to U.S. security objectives. Indeed, the transformation of U.S. doctrine and force posture in East Asia results not just from technological changes and the identification of new threats but also from the impact of democratic movements within the countries of our allies.

At the same time, people power influences decision-making in dictatorships. In North Korea, for instance, citizens do not communicate their views in any meaningful way through elections. Yet they are still actors in an important political sense. The leadership in Pyongyang relies on people power - not in the sense of an anti-government movement but as an expression of nationalist sentiment - to achieve some measure of legitimacy for its policies. In this sense, people power and democracy are not interchangeable concepts.

In short, people power is viewed neither wholly negatively by putatively totalitarian regimes nor wholly positively by putatively democratic regimes. The notion that democracy and military security mutually reinforce one another both underestimates the staying power of systems like North Korea and China where democracy is anemic and overestimates the strength of military alliances between more robustly democratic states. This misreading of the relationship between people power and military power significantly distorts the understanding of three major shifts in security doctrine in the United States, North Korea, and South Korea. Conventionally interpreted as responses to geopolitical realities
and technological advances, these transformations in thinking also strongly reflect the influence of the grassroots.

The failure to connect people power to these evolving shifts in doctrine has profound policy implications for the United States. By misjudging popular support for hard-line stances in authoritarian states and by glossing over grassroots challenges to U.S. security strategies in more democratic countries, Washington continues to risk clashing with its regional adversaries and, ultimately, losing influence with its regional allies.

Strategic Flexibility

According to conventional wisdom, the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the development of the concept of "strategic flexibility" were chiefly responses to advances in technology (primarily computers and communications) and the application of market principles to military management. The end of the Cold War, the subsequent attacks of September 11, and an altered security environment further accelerated these shifts in doctrine and force structure. The latest war-fighting gurus view fixed military bases with lumbering tanks and static defenses as comparatively low-tech and incapable of addressing rapidly emerging
conflicts and threats. U.S. forces, they argue, should be flexible enough to respond to North Korean missiles, Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia, or a cross-straits confrontation in Taiwan.

But a case can be made that the RMA and strategic flexibility are also responses to NIMBY (not in my back yard) and democratic movements. Fixed bases were an easy target, not only for the enemy but also for popular discontent, starting in the Philippines and spreading to Okinawa, Tokyo, and Seoul (not to mention other parts of the world such as Vieques). The U.S. security umbrella was generally popular among allied leaders, but the actual U.S. security footprint was another matter.

In the Republic of Korea (ROK), popular anger against U.S. forces came to world attention in 2002, when tens of thousands of South Korean citizens demonstrated in the streets after the deaths of two schoolchildren run over by U.S. military armored vehicles. But this was not the first time that popular movements tried to effect change in the U.S.-ROK alliance. Earlier there were protests over the Status of Forces Agreement. Adding its voice, the "Reclaiming Our Land" movement targeted U.S. bases, as did organizing around prostitution. And the environmental movement campaigned against the toxic byproducts of the U.S. military presence. Nor has resistance dissipated with the planned reduction of
U.S. troops. South Korean movements continue to challenge U.S. plans to expand military facilities in Pyongtaek.

It is also important to acknowledge the influence that the inter-Korean summit of June 2000 had on the transformation of security perspectives. Kim Dae Jung's engagement policy, itself a response to and an incorporation of popular efforts at North-South reconciliation, changed the strategic nature of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The cross-border tourism projects, the efforts to reconnect the north-south train line, and the industrial park at Kaesong all challenged military planning and even the notion of an infantry tripwire. South Korea's more conciliatory policy toward North Korea, which began to diverge from Washington's hard line after 2001, has made Seoul a less reliable U.S. ally. For instance, reportedly apprehensive that Seoul would transfer advanced technology to Pyongyang, the United States cancelled the sale of four Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft to South Korea in July.

Roh Moo-Hyun's more participatory style of government has also had an effect on security issues beyond the reunification question. It actively brought representatives of people power movements-of civil society-into government and raised expectations that the new administration would be more responsive to concerns percolating up from below. Due in part to this responsiveness, South Korea only begrudgingly sent troops to Iraq, has refused to join either the missile defense alliance or the Proliferation Security Initiative, and has looked askance at the whole notion of strategic flexibility for fear that it might draw Seoul into a conflict with Beijing.

Democratic movements profoundly informed South Korea's new strategic posture. They also provoked both a long-term reappraisal of U.S. strategic objectives and, in 2003, a specific response by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to accelerate the process of U.S. troop reductions in South Korea and the transfer of wartime operational control to Seoul.

Washington's concept of strategic flexibility, in other words, is not only useful for fighting an unpredictable enemy but also for dealing with an unpredictable ally. With Manila, the United States negotiated a Visiting Forces Agreement that not only sidestepped many NIMBY issues but also accorded U.S. forces much greater potential access throughout the Philippines to carry out a rather vaguely defined range of activities. With Seoul, Washington is negotiating a deal to reduce its costs and its overall footprint (though not its firepower). It will also reduce U.S. dependency on South Korean support for strategic flexibility.

Strategic flexibility has allowed Washington to count less on a South Korea, perceived to be unreliable and to shift its security focus to Japan, a more dependable supporter of U.S. positions in the region and elsewhere. If Japan proves unreliable in the future, because of heightened NIMBYism or a nationalist backlash against the security partnership with the United States, strategic flexibility will allow Washington to negotiate a better deal with someone else. And indeed, with popular sentiment still running against U.S. bases in Okinawa and on the mainland, Washington has been forced to draw some forces back to
Guam. Meanwhile, activists in Guam have already begun to protest the relocation of half the U.S. Marines Corps contingent currently based in Okinawa.

South Korea, even under authoritarianism, was not always predictably subservient to U.S. military objectives. Park Chung-Hee was notoriously resistant to the troop reductions that President Carter proposed in the late 1970s. But in general, an authoritarian South Korea was more predictably anti-communist, pro-United States, favorably inclined toward Japan, and suspicious of China than a democratic South Korea. The same can be said about a quiescent Okinawa, an authoritarian Taiwan, and the Marcos-era Philippines. Close U.S. relations with yesteryear's East Asian dictators required a certain flexibility in stated principles. Today, close relations with their democratic successors require flexibility in strategic posture.

Military-First Doctrine

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is no fan of democratic movements. If the rumors of military coups are correct, he is even worried about popular uprisings within the North Korean military. Polls of North Koreans, if they existed, might strengthen Kim's hand by revealing a fierce determination to defend the homeland, a preference for an "iron fist" to insure domestic stability, and even a nationalist pride in their country's entry into the nuclear club. But popular discontent over budget priorities and disapproval of the leadership's decisions over the last decade-not to mention widespread human rights abuses-would likely
undermine his political position. There is no sign that the North Korean government plans to introduce even the modest political reforms adopted by its putative ally China. There is also no tradition of democracy in North Korea to which a dissident or opposition movement might appeal.

In the mid-1990s, Kim Jong Il introduced the "military first" doctrine to consolidate his own political position and mobilize the country against threats both external and internal. In 2003, the doctrine officially became an ideology. At one level, the leadership's emphasis on the military is a pragmatic political decision. Because of its sheer size, the military substitutes for any representative political body. There are practically no civilians in North Korea: there are only future soldiers, current soldiers, veterans, and families of soldiers. The military is the only truly functioning institution in the society, not only in terms of protecting borders and preparing for the much-touted foreign attack, but also in maintaining infrastructure and keeping the
extraction industries running.

By putting the military first, the North Korean leadership is responding to a perceived foreign threat from the outside and strengthening the regime's hold on power. But it is also appealing to the country's most representative institution. In this sense, the military-first doctrine is a populist platform. Pyongyang's October nuclear test can be interpreted-in addition to its deterrent and "bargaining chip" purposes-as an attempt to stimulate nationalist pride and provide some measure of compensation for the economic adversity of the past decade, revealing that popular sentiment is not irrelevant to North Korean policymaking. North Koreans make their voices heard not through the ballot box or demonstrations but rather through their membership in military institutions and their capacity to respond to nationalist appeals.

Such informal political participation should not be construed as either pro-government or anti-government. It is very difficult to know the true feelings of North Koreans. But it would be a mistake for outside governments to assume an unbridgeable gulf between the people and the state. A mass organization like the army and mass ideologies like nationalism mediate between the two. It's certainly not democracy. But even states that aspire to totalitarian control must factor people power into their political calculus beyond merely its potential threat to regime stability.

Strategic Redeployment?

When evaluating the political situation on the Korean Peninsula, particularly as it relates to security issues, it is routine to discuss the personal quirks of the leaders (Kim Jong Il, Roh Moo-Hyun, George Bush) or the characteristics of their coteries (the revolutionary generation in North Korea, the 386 generation of 40-something activists in South Korea, the neoconservative generation in the United States). Yet it may well be the clout of popular movements - or the threat of them - that will prove most influential in determining the future security environment on the peninsula.

Behind the headlines, popular mobilization has profoundly influenced three key doctrinal shifts: the military-first approach in North Korea, a more independent security policy in South Korea, and strategic flexibility in the United States. Leaders in both democratic and nondemocratic countries have kept watchful eyes on people power when formulating security policy, both in terms of mobilizing support (through nationalist or populist appeals) and avoiding negative responses (such as NIMBY).

The future of these doctrinal shifts remains unclear. Should the current tensions around the nuclear conflict subside, North Korea might conceivably switch its military-first doctrine to the competing concept of kangsong taeguk (strong and prosperous nation) and reallocate precious resources to economic modernization. If market reforms don't benefit a large enough portion of the population, however, the country will face a pre-revolutionary predicament of rising and unmet expectations. Only if the military is fully behind these changes, in the sense of implementing them as well as benefiting from them, will the regime avoid collapse. As in Cuba, however, Washington's policy of unmitigated pressure allows Pyongyang to retain a measure of popular support through relentless, nationalist invocations of an external threat.

In South Korea, the character of Roh Moo-Hyun's more independent foreign policy is often ascribed to a narrow party agenda rather than reflecting more significant changes in how South Koreans view their country's role in the region. China has become a much more important economic partner and diplomatic player in the region, and South Koreans are rapidly waking up to this reality (conflicts over the Koguryo historical dispute notwithstanding). U.S. force reductions in Korea, and what will inevitably be a widening conflict over military purchasing and interoperability, will only distance Seoul further from Washington. Even the conservatives, should they win the 2007 presidential election in South Korea, will likely continue Roh's more independent military and foreign policy, partly in response to the pressures of popular sentiment and partly because of geopolitical realities such as China's economic might.

The biggest question mark remains the future of Washington's policy of strategic flexibility. Technological change and new threat perceptions suggest that this doctrinal shift will be with us for some time. But as a response to democratic movements on the ground, strategic flexibility might prove self-defeating. Shifting security emphasis from one ally to another depending on the amplitude of protests around U.S. basing, military policies, or out-of-area operations may not prove sustainable. In the grand scheme, with the focus of U.S. geostrategy still on the Middle East and a period of military belt-tightening likely to return to Washington, strategic flexibility may simply become a cover for U.S. disengagement--strategic redeployment--not just from South Korea but from the region as a whole.

John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus and the director of global affairs at the International Relations Center.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cheney Greeted by 2000 in Guam

Cheney greeted by 2,000 on Guam
The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 22, 2007 6:09:57 EST

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — Vice President Dick Cheney returned to U.S. territory Thursday on his way from Japan to Australia, meeting with U.S. troops and local officials who support a buildup of forces on this isolated American island.

Cheney’s brief stopover — he spent about an hour on Guam — attracted 2,000 troops and residents to hear a brief speech. The visit also brought complaints from the neighboring U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, where residents awaited the remains of the latest Iraq war victim.

The vice president stayed on Andersen Air Force Base, speaking in a hangar to mostly Air Force and Navy personnel.

He discussed the strategic importance of Guam, 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii, in protecting U.S. interests in the region.

Cheney said Pacific sea lanes must be kept open to commerce and closed to terrorists and stressed the need to keep fighting in Iraq.

“In the years ahead, more personnel will be stationed here, along with the job of maintaining a first-rate forward operating base,” he said.

Cheney also said terrorists know they cannot win in a standup fight.

“The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission,” he said. “So they continue committing acts of random war, believing they can intimidate the civilized world and break the will of the American people.”

In a brief visit to Japan, Cheney also reaffirmed the Bush administration’s commitment to the war in Iraq.

He told troops at a U.S. naval base near Tokyo that America would not relent in Iraq.

“We want to complete the mission, we want to get it done right, and then we want to come home, with honor,” he said. “The American people will not support a policy of retreat.”

Cheney said his visit to Japan was a gesture of appreciation for Tokyo, which has been one of Washington’s most valuable allies in the war on terror by offering non-combat troops to assist U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guam Gov. Felix Camacho and the territory’s delegate to Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, met with Cheney at Andersen.

Camacho has been leading local support for plans to relocate 8,000 U.S. Marines from Japan to Guam, viewing it as a boon for the island’s economy.

Debbie Quinata of the indigenous group Nasion Chamuro said her group wants Cheney to know of its strong opposition to the decision.

The group has been pushing for reparations for harm from toxic chemicals and radiation on Pacific islands as a result of war and war games. However, a petition campaign by the group to stop the planned deployment from Japan has gathered only 400 signatures.

The group is particularly concerned about the presence of B-2 bombers, joint military exercises in waters near Guam, and the greater naval presence, including the potential for more nuclear submarines and other warships in Pacific waters.

“We believe that increased militarization will put our families, friends and relatives who are living on Guam in harm’s way rather than provide safety and stability,” the group said in a statement prior to Cheney’s visit.

In the nearby Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where family members of Army Cpl. Leroy Camacho, 27, of Kagman village, were awaiting arrival of his remains, officials said they were disappointed that Cheney did not visit their territory. Leroy Camacho was killed by an explosion in Iraq on Feb. 9 — the fifth island soldier to die in Iraq.

Camacho’s sister, Juanette Camacho, had urged that Cheney visit Saipan, pointing out that the territory has suffered more Iraq war casualties than Guam.

Gubernatorial Press Secretary Charles Reyes said officials in Saipan were not invited to join the Guam officials meeting the vice president.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New US Bases in Australia

Media Release Australia
Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition
Thursday, 15 February 2007

New US War Base Condemned

“We are appalled by the announcement that the Federal Government has secretly agreed to set up a new United States base at Geraldton in WA,” Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition National Coordinator Denis Doherty said this morning.

“We are sure Australians do not want to supply intelligence and communications for more Bush administration invasions or to host bases which spy on our neighbours and training areas for Australian soldiers to practice fighting under US command.

“The Federal Government has dropped all pretence about ‘joint facilities’ and is calling the new base, the first of several planned facilities, a United States military base.

“Defence Minister Nelson’s claim that the government will have full knowledge of all activities at the base is unbelievable,” Mr. Doherty said.

“We already have over 40 US military facilities in Australia. We cannot afford more. This is a case where less is best!

“US bases make Australia a target for nuclear and terrorist attacks,” Mr. Doherty said.

“They increase the US hold on Australian foreign policy. They undermine Australia’s security and add even more to the already out of control Australian military budget which is running at $55 million every day.

“In the most recent budget the military got more money than education.

“These bases do not make Australia safer but they make us poorer,” Mr. Doherty said.

“Around the world, US bases have become the centre of major social problems. Australia is no different. An Anglican Church report from Hobart details frequent sexual assaults on young men and women by US service people. US MPs assaulted Aborigines in Ipswich during 1997 war games and two US servicemen were tried for rape in Darwin in February 2004.

“There are also major dangers to our environment of pollution from repairs and maintenance programs and from weapons firing.

“The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition condemns this outrageous agreement and vows to fight it in every way we can,” he said.

“Our Coalition and other groups are preparing for a major campaign against another new US base at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland. In June this year there will be protests against the huge joint military exercise called “Talisman Sabre 07’.

“We call on the Government to rescind this agreement and hold a public enquiry into the US military presence in Australia,” Mr Doherty said.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

US Deploys Stealth Fighters to Okinawa

Friday, February 16, 2007 · Last updated 10:19 p.m. PT

U.S. deploys stealth fighters to Okinawa


TOKYO -- The U.S. took its newest and most expensive stealth fighter on the road Saturday, deploying the F-22 to an air base on the southern Japan island of Okinawa for its first overseas mission.

The first two of a dozen F-22s roared into the Okinawa skies from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia for a three-to-four month deployment to show "the flexibility that U.S. forces have to meet our ongoing commitments and security obligations throughout the Pacific," the U.S. military said in a statement.

Bringing the jets to Japan is a way of showing off the fighter's strengths in a region with a complex security balance that is being challenged by the rapid growth of Chinese and North Korean military power.

"It's a very formidable asset," said Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, commander of the U.S. forces in Japan. Wright added that it is important for the F-22 pilots from
Langley to get the experience of flying abroad and training with the Japanese.

Though Wright, speaking to reporters in Tokyo before the arrival, said there are no plans to regularly bring F-22s to Japan after the current mission ends, F-22 fighters are scheduled to be deployed in Alaska and possibly Hawaii, which would give a significant boost to the Air Force's fire power in the Pacific.

The U.S. is not alone in boosting its air capabilities in Asia.

The arrival of the planes - the rest were scheduled to arrive Sunday - comes less than two months after China unveiled its J-10 fighter, which is believed to be one
of the most advanced used by any air force in the world today, though it is not seen as a serious technological rival to the F-22.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tide is Rising

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas. Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean reports
Published: 24 December 2006

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.

It has been officially recorded in a six-year study of the Sunderbans by researchers at Calcutta's Jadavpur University. So remote is the island that the researchers first learned of its submergence, and that of an uninhabited neighbouring island, Suparibhanga, when they saw they had vanished from satellite pictures.

Two-thirds of nearby populated island Ghoramara has also been permanently inundated. Dr Sugata Hazra, director of the university's School of Oceanographic Studies, says "it is only a matter of some years" before it is swallowed up too. Dr Hazra says there are now a dozen "vanishing islands" in India's part of the delta. The area's 400 tigers are also in danger.

Until now the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea were expected to be the first populated ones to disappear, in about eight years' time, but Lohachara has beaten them to the dubious distinction.

Human cost of global warming: Rising seas will soon make 70,000 people homeless

Refugees from the vanished Lohachara island and the disappearing Ghoramara island have fled to Sagar, but this island has already lost 7,500 acres of land to the sea. In all, a dozen islands, home to 70,000 people, are in danger of being submerged by the rising seas.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hickam Gets a Look at Raptors

Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2007
Hickam gets a look at stealthy Raptors

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE- The stealthy F-22A Raptor this week made its first stop in Hawai'i, appearing small on radar but creating a big buzz as the Air Force moves ahead with plans to base 20 of the fighter aircraft at Hickam starting in late 2010.

Six of the sleek gray jets arrived Wednesday from Virginia, and six more landed yesterday en route to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, on what is the first deployment for the Raptors outside the United States.

"It's very important that we send it to Japan because of our strategic alliance that we have with Japan," said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Remington, Pacific Air Forces director of air space and cyberspace operations.

The Raptors can reach supersonic speed without afterburners, are highly maneuverable and "it's basically invisible to radars," Remington said.

The Hawai'i Air National Guard will be the first Guard unit to "own" the Air Force's most advanced weapons system, while the active duty Air Force at Hickam will be an associate unit and also fly and maintain the aircraft.

"We're excited, obviously," said Air Guard Lt. Col. Chris "Frenchy" Faurot, 40, who will be flying the jets. "When the announcement was made back in March of last year, everyone was walking around with a grin on their face."

The Hawai'i basing is part of what Gen. Paul Hester, commander of Pacific Air Forces, calls the "strategic triangle" of Hawai'i, Alaska and Guam,” bases
from which the Air Force can rapidly deploy forces throughout Asia and the


In August, the Air Force will locate an F-22 squadron in Alaska, and add another squadron in 2008. The third of three squadrons will arrive in Hawai'i starting in late 2010.

The aircraft, whose angular shape and internal weapons bays contribute to a radar signature the size of a bird, is one of the costliest fighters ever at more than $339 million a copy, including research, development and testing.

In the fighters' first major exercise, Northern Edge, in June in Alaska, the Raptors from Langley Air Force Base that are now passing through Hickam "downed" 144 other jets.

"We didn't lose a Raptor, not one," said Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver, commander of the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley. "That's pretty incredible numbers."

The jets will leave today for Japan and will stay there as long as four months. The Pacific Air Forces' Remington said the F-22s replaced F-15C aircraft at Langley and it happened to be the unit's turn in the rotation of aircraft for the "theater security" deployment.

The Raptors also will be replacing F-15 Eagles at Hickam. The Air Guard aircraft, in addition to having an air defense role for Hawai'i, deployed to Saudi Arabia in 2000 and conducted combat missions over southern Iraq.


In the 1990s there were two other deployments to the region. The air defense mission has seen a succession of aircraft since 1956, meanwhile, with the F-86, F-102, F-4 and most recently, the F-15, the Air Guard said.

Faurot, a Damien High graduate who now flies the F-15, said the Raptor brings greater capabilities, but the public won't notice much of a difference.

"It's a more powerful aircraft, it's faster, it's louder, so there may be a little increase in noise," he said. "However, that will be for a shorter duration because we get out of the airspace and we get out of the public view, if you will, a lot faster than we do with the F-15s."

Once the aircraft gets to cruise mode at 30,000 to 40,000 feet, it also gets somewhat more economical.

"It's actually pretty much sipping gas, so once you get it up there, it's a pretty efficient machine and we're still going supersonic," Faurot said.


An environmental impact study is expected to be done in July. Brig. Gen. Peter Pawling, who commands the 154th Wing of the Hawai'i Air National Guard, said work still is being done for eight C-17 cargo carriers that are now based at Hickam” including a giant hangar now being built.

But Pawling said he estimates $155 million in construction will be needed for the Raptors for facilities like hangars and maintenance buildings.

Those who saw the Raptor up close yesterday, including about 60 University of Hawai'i Air Force ROTC cadets, were pretty impressed. An inert AIM-9 missile was affixed to a side bay.

"I think it's awesome," said Ira Mindoro, 20, a UH student from Pearl City. "It provides another way to motivate someone young like myself to become a pilot."

Reach William Cole at

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Military Build-up Won't Strain Guam's Utilities

Buildup won't strain utilities
Bice: Guam has chance to add capacity
By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News

The U.S. military's multibillion-dollar buildup will not strain the island's power, waste-disposal and water plants, the official who oversees the expansion said yesterday.

What the buildup can present is an opportunity to add capacity to the island's utilities infrastructure, said retired Marine Maj. Gen. David Bice, executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office. The office is in charge of planning, managing and overseeing buildup-related projects.

"We have the opportunity to add to (the utilities capacity) in all the areas," Bice said.

"In fact, we don't want to add the burden on the (existing local utilities plants). What we will see is an addition to the Guam utilities," Bice added.

Japan delegation
Bice also confirmed yesterday that a high-level delegation from the Japan Diet is visiting Guam in connection with the Japanese government's part in the buildup.
The Japanese government will help pay for the relocation of members of the U.S. Marines and their families from Okinawa -- altogether a jump in Guam's population by about 16,000.

Under a U.S.-Japan agreement, Japan will pay 60 percent of the $10 billion to $14 billion cost of the relocation, Bice said.

In Japan, wire reports state that U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Shieffer and Deputy Commander of Pacific Command Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf are hosting the Japanese Diet delegation's two-day Guam visit, which starts today.

The delegation, Bice said, is visiting "to see what's going on, what the assessment is, see where the Japanese money is proposed to be spent, and make their own determination (whether it's) a wise investment for the Japanese people."

Assistance sought
In anticipation of increased use of power, water and wastewater services related to the military buildup, Guam's locally elected officials have said they would ask the federal government for financial assistance to upgrade local utilities plants.
"The way this is gonna work," said Bice of the utilities-related funds for the buildup, is that the Special Purpose Entity -- established in the U.S.-Japan agreement -- "would provide equity investment for a business partner to come in and potentially provide" power, water and waste-management services.

The services that the business partner might provide could include building a power plant and adding to utility distribution and delivery lines, Bice said.

Another option, Bice said, may involve entering into a partnership with the Guam Power Authority.

The U.S. has held technical talks with Japanese government officials and Guam public utilities officials, Bice said.

Preliminary report
Engineers are completing their studies, and there will be a meeting in Washington, D.C., next week about Guam infrastructure issues, Bice said.
A preliminary report is expected around April, he said, that would assess the capabilities of Guam's power and water agencies.

"From that, we will look at our options," he added.

But what's clear, Bice emphasized, is that the military receives "good, reliable" utility services.

"It is a mission-readiness requirement," he said.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Adam Emul Killed in Iraq

Cpl. Adam Emul, who sister says wanted to serve, is killed in Iraq at age 19
By Brian Alexander
Seattle Times

Lance Cpl. Adam Emul was a quiet and very independent teen, yet it still surprised his family when he came home from school one day and said he had signed up for the armed services.

"He was proud; it was something that he wanted to do," his sister, Maryann Mendiola, said Thursday. "We didn't like his decision at the time, but he just kept telling us that it was something that he wanted to do."

Cpl. Emul died in Iraq on Monday during operations in the Al Anbar province, the Department of Defense announced Thursday. Though the department didn't release the details of his death, his sister said he was hit by a bomb's explosion while on foot patrol.

Cpl. Emul, 19, graduated in 2005 from Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Clark County, and went into basic training, his sister said.

He then went on to more advanced training and was only reunited with his family for about a month before he shipped out for Iraq in September.

Cpl. Emul was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Twentynine Palms, Calif., according to the Department of Defense.

Cpl. Emul moved to Vancouver from Saipan in 2003 with his sister, her family and his mother, Mendiola said.

"Me and my husband, we have kids of our own, and we wanted to expose our kids to what was outside of the islands. And we wanted Adam to be part of that," Mendiola said. "Living here is way, way different from living back home. Adam pretty much adjusted real well and made friends real fast."

Cpl. Emul loved playing basketball, listening to music and doing "other teenager things," his sister said. "He was still young."

While he was in Iraq, the family kept in touch mainly via e-mail and Cpl. Emul's MySpace page. He would ask for the family to send things, particularly chocolate, for himself, and big bags of candy for the kids in Iraq he met on patrol, Mendiola said.

Mendiola expected her brother to come home in March — he was looking forward to taking a vacation to Saipan to visit family and friends who still live there, she said.

"We just saw how happy he was, and we just supported him from there. But we constantly told him: 'Please be careful,' " Mendiola said. "He was always assuring us not to worry about him, and things were going fine."

In addition to Mendiola, Cpl. Emul is survived by four brothers and sisters: Frankie Quitugua, of Saipan; Clarissa Mendiola, of Vancouver; Mindy Quitugua, of Vancouver; and Christopher Quitugua of Saipan. His parents are Angelica Quitugua, of Vancouver, and Wayne Emul of Saipan. He was preceded in death by a brother, Roger Mendiola.
Japan's minister ignores US demand to end criticism
Peter Alford,Tokyo correspondent
January 29, 2007

THE US Government has drawn a line in the sand over criticism from Japan's Defence Minister Fumio Kyuma, but the outspoken Mr Kyuma has immediately stepped across it. The Kyodo news agency reported yesterday the head of the State Department's Japanese affairs office, James Zumwalt, had lodged a protest about Mr Kyuma's comments critical of the US's Iraq campaign on Wednesday and last month.

Mr Zumwalt warned officials from Japan's Washington embassy that further provocative remarks would make it "difficult" to arrange security talks between Mr Kyuma, Foreign Minister Taro Aso, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and new Defence Secretary Robert Gates. Strongly pro-American Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing for fresh "two-plus-two" talks on bilateral security issues and is understood to have told the 66-year-old national security veteran on Friday to watch his words.

But 66-year-old Mr Kyuma was at it again on Saturday, saying the US "doesn't understand" the importance of local negotiations to resolve the problem of relocating a military airbase on Okinawa.

"We've been telling them, 'Please don't say things that are too cocky, we are talking to the (Okinawa) governor, so please wait for a while'," he said in a public speech referring to an argument about shifting a US Marines airbase from crowded Ginowan City to Nago.

Given American frustration at Japan's foot-dragging before the national Government agreed to the relocation last year and the protracted negotiations since with Okinawa's Government, Mr Kyuma's chiding is likely to infuriate the US administration.

The remarks followed his meeting on Friday with Mr Abe, after which he promised to take more care.

He offended the Americans by saying on Wednesday -- at virtually the same moment as President George W. Bush's State of the Union address -- that the President's decision to invade Iraq was wrong.

In December, Mr Kyuma criticised Japan's support for US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and claimed then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi had acted without government authority in sending a non-combatant contingent to southern Iraq.

Mr Kyuma's comments on Friday made clear that he continues to hold views critical of the US, though he suggested the strength of his remarks was unnecessarily amplified by English-language media translations.

"If they were taken (as criticism) I think I should be more careful how I say things," he told reporters. "Even if they were my thoughts, I think perhaps it might be better not to say them."

Mr Kyuma is one of many headaches the new PM created for himself by appointing perhaps the least impressive cabinet in years. He is actually one of the most popular of Mr Abe's team.

Possibly reflecting that Mr Kyuma's dim view of American military policy is widely held in his Liberal Democratic Party, though usually carefully repressed, Mr Abe has not publicly repudiated the Defence Minister's comments.