Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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July 26, 2006 - MidWeek
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Watada: guilty

As a retired military officer, I could not agree more with Bob Jones’ column regarding Lt. Ehren Watada’s fate at his upcoming court martial, “An Easy Call In Judging Watada.”

Lt. Watada has been ill-advised by parents, friends, lawyers and political gamers. For their own causes and reasons, they are all using his ill-conceived notion that he is more right than the president. I suspect even Congressman Jack Murtha, whom Watada has cited as an inspiration “to bring the troops home,” would have advised Watada to follow the orders of the president, because that is what military officers do to fulfill their oaths of office “in defending the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Like Bob Jones, I believe Lt. Watada will be found guilty of not meeting his troop movement to Iraq. Having served on a court martial while on active duty, I suspect that the military will stack the court with officers with command and combat experience because such officers are tougher than officers with only staff and technical/medical experiences.

The military will also charge him with violating every possible relevant article in the Unified Code of Military Justice, including failure to obey orders, failure to repair, dereliction of duty, contempt toward officers, desertion, malignancy and others.

I suspect, if there is anything Watada will regret most in his life, it will not be his joining the military but his decision not to follow the orders of the president to deploy to Iraq.

Russel Noguchi

Pearl City

Watada: scrupulous

In “An Easy Call In Judging Watada,” Bob Jones invokes the example of Henry David Thoreau to support his superficial argument that Army Lt. Ehren Watada must go to jail for refusing to go to the war in Iraq with his unit.

Here are Thoreau’s own words: “Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? Or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?”

Whether he goes to jail or not, Ehren Watada should be commended for refusing to be a “small movable fort” at the service of our own “unscrupulous man in power.”

David T. Johnson


Stockholm model

High demand for a limited supply of Hawaii land is the root cause of our housing crisis (Dan Boylan’s “Facing Up To Our Housing Crisis”). We cannot continue sprawling subdivisions over our remaining land if we hope to decrease our reliance on imported food and prevent even worse traffic congestion.

We can’t reduce the value of our land, so more of us must share the high land cost by living in high-rise apartments near where we work.

But for this solution to work, we must make high-rise apartment living more attractive. Dan mentioned awful traffic noise at his single-family home, but this traffic noise is much worse in urban Honolulu where high-rise apartments need to be. Traffic noise is one reason that many find living in a high-rise apartment unattractive.

Last year I spent three weeks in Sweden. Many Stockholm residents live in mid-rise apartments that line its urban streets. In Stockholm, with a population twice that of Honolulu, I never heard a vehicle with a loud exhaust system or blaring stereo.

Their city buses were so much quieter than TheBus, so I know that quiet buses exist. Why don’t we have similar buses?

Harleys in Stockholm seem to run just fine with their stock exhaust systems, so why do almost all Harleys here have loud exhaust systems?

The Swedes don’t tolerate unnecessarily loud traffic; neither should we.

Part of the reason Stockholm traffic was nearly silent was that there was so much less of it due to their excellent public transportation and extensive bike lanes and dedicated bike paths. So we need to encourage safe bike commuting and more public transportation that is quiet and more convenient.

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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