Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why we should all opose Pinon Canyon expansion

I oppose the expansion of Pinon Canyon Army Base, and it's not just because of my pacifist leanings.

Yes, I do disagree with the idea that America, as the lone superpower in the the world is obliged to impose a global Pax Americana. And it is true that I don't think we need to increase spending on our military that is already seven times that of China, the second largest military spender. I don't buy the arguement that building a bigger, more leathal army is the key to eradicating global terrorism, or whipping out radical Islamists and I don't accept in the concepts that America should become the global police force, or that America can create democracies at the barrel of a gun. I have to admit my doubt that premptive, unilateral military agression will result in a safer world.

But if I believed that all of these things were good ideas, there would still powerful reasons, as a Las Animas County resident for me to oppose the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuvers Site.

I understand that "nothing has been decided" about the future expansion of the facility, but it is pretty clear that something is being considered. And the "something" is big. The official, unofficial plan presented by the Army is a quadrupling of the current acreage. The unofficial, but official-looking map that was leaked and circulated at the the Cattlemen's Association meeting, indicates the possibility that the facility may ultimately expanded ten-fold, all the way to the Kansas and New Mexico borders.

Such an exansion would cost Las Animas county a lot. We would loose an endangered species, cattle ranchers. We would lose natural, archeaological and historical resouces as well. We would lose tax base. We would lose tourism dollars.

Would all of these lossed be off-set by gains? Would soldiers living or training at the facility start to spend money in Trinidad? Would they be given over-night passes to come and recreate in town? Would their families relocate to Trinidad? No.

They would convoy to the maneuvers site from Colorado Springs and return there just as soon as they were able. Even if there were a few soldiers permamently assigned to Pinon Canyon, they'd still do most of their shopping at the PX, if they have any sense.

The only benefit would be the short-term opportunities of construction activity as the expanded faciltiy is established, but even that would go mostly to outside contractors who would move into the area temporarily. That's what happened when the place was initially established.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Would it make a difference is soldiers did get liberty passes to visit Trinidad?