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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/22/22

Largest US & NATO Naval Drills in Pacific

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Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Sydney Buckels directs an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the South China Sea.
Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Sydney Buckels directs an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the South China Sea.
(Image by Official U.S. Navy Imagery)
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While the world's attention is focused on the brutal Russia-Ukraine conflict, half-way around the world in the Pacific Ocean, competition/confrontation of the U.S. and NATO toward China and North Korea is taking an increasingly military turn.

The U.S. military's Indo-Pacific command headquartered in Honolulu, Rim of the Pacific or RIMPAC 2022, military war games, will have 38 ships from 26 countries, four submarines, 170 aircraft, and 25,000 military personnel, practicing naval war maneuvers in the Hawaiian waters from June 29-Aug. 4. Additionally, ground units from nine countries will come ashore on the islands of Hawaii in amphibious landings.

Citizen Opposition

Many citizens of the 26 RIMPAC countries do not agree with their country's participation in the RIMPAC war games, calling them provocative and dangerous for the region.

The Pacific Peace Network, with members from countries/islands across the Pacific including Guà han, Jeju Island, South Korea, Okinawa, Japan, Philippines, Northern Mariana Islands, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Hawai'i and the United States, demand that RIMPAC be cancelled, calling the naval armada, "dangerous, provocative, and destructive."

The network's petition for cancellation of RIMPAC states that:

"RIMPAC dramatically contributes to the destruction of the ecology system and aggravation of the climate crisis in the Pacific region. RIMPAC war forces will blow up decommissioned ships with missiles endangering marine mammals such as humpback whales, dolphins, and Hawaiian monk seals, and polluting the ocean with contaminates from the vessels. Land forces will conduct ground assaults that will tear up beaches where green sea turtles come to breed."

The petition rejects "the massive expenditure of funds on war-making when humanity is suffering from lack of food, water, and other life-sustaining elements. Human security is not based on military war drills, but on care for the planet and its inhabitants."

Other citizen groups in the Pacific region are adding their voices to the call to cancel RIMPAC.

In its statement about RIMPAC, the Hawaii-based Women's Voices, Women Speak declared that:

"RIMPAC causes ecological devastation, colonial violence, and gun worship. RIMPAC's ship sinking, missile testing, and torpedo blasting, have destroyed island ecosystems and disturbed sea creatures' well-being. This convening of military personnel promotes toxic masculinity, sex trafficking, and violence against local populations."

In a June 14 opinion piece in The Honolulu Star Advertiser, the only state-wide newspaper in Hawai'i, three local activists with the Hawai'i Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines wrote:

We are one with the people of Hawaii in opposing the U.S.-led wars, for which Balikatan (U.S.-Philippine ground war maneuvers) and RIMPAC are warmups. As it is, our governments bring together the people of Hawaii and the people of the Philippines to prepare for war, death, and destruction.

Military posturing in the Asia-Pacific also risks nuclear war, and the potential extinction of the human species. We must instead work toward global cooperation to address the threats of climate change, and biodiversity loss - to build toward peace, life, and coexistence.

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
 
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