The Military Buildup This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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One day in the library, a select gathering of classes were assembled together in front of our Student Body Association, to discuss the coming Military Buildup that is to take place upon our small island of Guam. We discussed something called the Draft EIS, some ten thousand page document detailing what the Military plans to do. Apparently, our SBA skimmed through this document and started trashing what the federal government wants to do. I do understand the many problems, the destroying of the coral reef so that a Carrier can fit through the harbor may endanger the local wildlife, the cutting down of trees that are home to the native Fanihi, otherwise known as Fruit Bats, and the forbidding of passage to Mt. Lamlam, the location of Guam's many religious hikes, to name just a few cons.

But what they failed to talk about were the good things that may happen. At one point, when a student asked "Will any good things come from this buildup?" I can hear our SBA stuttering when they tried to answer, and saying things like "yeah well maybe but you still have to consider..." and such. And because of this, I have taken it upon myself to study as much of the Draft EIS as I can, and reach my own conclusion.

And my own conclusion is this, the Military Buildup, whether it is a positive or negative thing, must happen. Okinawa wants US marines out. If the US refuses, this will only worsen diplomatic relations. I can name quite a few US bases in Japan right off the top of my head, like Yokosuka, Negishi, Zama, Yokota, Ikego, and more, bases Japan had been putting up with for years. At least in Guam the Marine's will actually be on US territory. But despite this fact, I still must support my argument with the positive effects of the military buildup.

One positive I can name is the economic boom that may come with the boom. An SBA officer mentioned this and countered it with an argument saying that only twelve percent of all the Marine's spending will be off base. What she failed to realize was how much that twelve percent can actually help us. That twelve percent will probably be enough to revitalize our now struggling tourism-based economy. When I was younger, my family would take my brother and I to Tumon, the tourist district, and I would look at all the buildings in awe, the place will be clean, and the plants would be lush and abundant. Now the buildings look aged, some closed down, others falling apart, the litter is nearly innumerable, and the many of the plant life had been uprooted for half-finished buildings that were never completed. We could really use that twelve percent.

Another positive is American recognition. Ask someone in the mainland the location of Guam and they might say something along the lines of "I know there's this sushi place, you might find some Guam there." With such a large military force in Guam, Americans, our fellow Americans, will no longer be ignorant to our existence. One time, I went to YouTube to watch a video a friend staying in the states linked to me. It stated I could not watch the video in my country. If my friend can watch it in the states, and Guam is US territory, then how come I cannot watch it? It seems Guam is not recognized as being part of the United States of America. The military buildup may change that, and we may hope that soon, the majority of students in the US can point out Guam on the globe.

The last positive effect I state, though there are more, is that it will dash any confusion our Native citizens have about their identity. Many of the native islanders do not consider themselves as Americans, even though we are American Citizens, we receive funding from the federal government, and many of us choose to Join the American Military. This one DODEA student I keep in contact with feels more comfortable with people calling her "the white girl" instead of "that American girl" because it made her feel like she wasn't on American territory, that she was a foreigner. And with limited interactions between the locals and the Military forces that are already here, only promotes that kind of interaction. But with more American forces coming in, possibly going to the clubs, seeing them in the mall and on the beaches, we will be forced to interact with them, and soon be forced to see that we too are Americans, and that's why these people are in our lives.

So in my honest opinion, I think we should put up with the negatives. The American Government is not unreasonable, and I believe we can come up with solutions when it comes to the buildup. We are flexible, we can adapt, we can use reasoning and diplomacy to find a better means to an end. The positives the buildup will provide will make up for the negatives, and the negatives will soon to be non-existent when we search for solutions.





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