We’re six months into a global pandemic. The U.S. death toll just surpassed 160,000 people. That’s 53.4 times more people than were killed on 9/11/01 and 66.5 times more than were killed at Pearl Harbor.
With new COVID-19 cases already rising, the last thing Hawaii needs is a large number of people arriving from all over the world all at once. In 2018, 25 nations, with 46 warships, five submarines, 17 land forces, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel were part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. RIMPAC has been held in Hawaii every other year since 1971. A scaled back version is set to begin Aug. 17. It’s being called at-sea only this year but there will still be military personnel coming ashore and if there’s an outbreak on a ship, the crew will likely quarantine on land. Public health is one important reason why RIMPAC should be canceled. Another is the fact that these nations are traveling to Hawaii to join the U.S. in training to kill human beings, the majority of whom will be, statistically, civilians.
There’s still unexploded ordinance throughout these islands. During WW2, not even Kalaupapa and other areas of Molokai were spared from America’s “practice” bombs. During the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. military was bombing Hawaiian land as “practice” to kill people in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In Laos alone, the U.S. dropped over two million tons of cluster bombs which is more than all of the bombs dropped during WW2 combined. Today, the bombing of Hawaiian land continues as practice for wars like Afghanistan, which is the longest in U.S. history at 19 years and counting. I’m not convinced that most Americans are aware we’re still there, nor that they have ever heard of RIMPAC.
The movement to stop the bombing of Kaho’olawe was also a movement to stop RIMPAC.
There’s still a movement to stop RIMPAC. A petition with over 12,000 signatures was just delivered to Gov. Ige, calling on him to cancel it.
Hawaii shouldn’t risk public health during a pandemic or be complicit in war while the ‘aina suffers for it.