by Rick Reiss / Op-Ed Column – North County Times/Californian
For the published on-line version, link over to: http://www.nctimes.net/news/2003/20030611/60648.html
Below is the original submitted version:
(June 11, 2003) — After the September 11 terrorist attacks upon our country, it has become a top priority to fully train and equip our Armed Forces. Despite our military’s quick dispatch of the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan and a genocidal dictator in Iraq, America’s war against terrorism will continue for years into the future.
Leave it busybody environmentalists to hamstring our Armed Forces by litigating the federal government and imposing draconian regulations upon military bases. Recently, the base commander at nearby Camp Pendleton voiced his concern that military training and readiness have been compromised by burdensome environmental regulations.
According to Elaine Donnelly at the Center for Military Readiness, our troops lives are put at further risk by training degradation even as they continue to battle America’s terrorist adversaries worldwide. Through laws such as the Endangered Species Act, environmental activists have restricted the ability of our military to realistically train for war. Poorly trained troops will suffer higher casualty rates in battle.
While protecting an assortment of critters, the Endangered Species Act has endangered America’s most precious resource: the soldiers, sailors and Marines who maintain America’s national security.
This raises the question: Are these extreme environmentalists enabling America’s enemies by hampering military training and readiness?
The answer to this becomes more apparent when condsidering that a wide range of hardcore environmental groups opposed military action against Iraq. These organizations included the well known Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the WWF. On the website envirosagainstwar.org, environmental groups are listed as both opposing the war against Iraq and the loosening of the tight environmental restrictions placed on our military bases.
When coupled with other liberal special interest groups that advocate gays in the military and women in combat, the result could be a “death by a thousand cuts” as our Armed Forces are subjugated to a variety of social engineering and extreme environmental policies.
The Department of Defense may soon have some breathing room in the form of Congressional relief through the Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative. If enacted, military bases would be able to take certain exemptions from environmental laws that compromise military readiness. The military would still be required to remain as good stewards of the open areas within their jurisdiction.
Rather than barking up the wrong tree, environmental groups could actually play a proactive role in our nation’s security by lobbying to better secure our national borders. For years, there has been environmental damage caused by illegal immigration through nearby Cleveland National Forest.
Erosion, damage to sensitive plants, pollution and smoldering campfires left by illegal immigrants have significantly impacted the delicate eco-system within the Cleveland National Forest. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace would be wiser to utilize their resources in promoting environmentalism by advocating stronger enforcement of America’s borders to prevent any further damage to the surrounding habitats.
In his first annual message in 1790, President George Washington wisely stated “To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
In the tradition of President Washington’s wisdom, our Federal policymakers must apply these environmental laws with precision and not use them as an unwieldy sledgehammer. Our military troops have been hammered enough and they must not become the newest addition to the Endangered Species list.
Rick Reiss of Temecula is a regular columnist for the Californi.n;
Center for Military Readiness; Elaine Donnelly; http://www.cmrlink.org
Major Curtis Hill, USMC; Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Officer
Captain Lee H. Rosenberg, USN; “Eco Regs Endanger Combat Training” PROCEEDINGS published by the U.S. Naval Institute; Nov. 2002