Honolulu Lite


Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Some aina more
precious than others

Save Makua! Bomb Waimea Valley! What makes one chunk of aina more precious than another? I'm sure that's what the good people of the Waianae coast are thinking as the city and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs jockey to see who's going to buy Waimea Falls Park.

Sure, Waimea Valley is lush and beautiful with a nice waterfall and all kinds of exotic vegetation, much of which was planted there on purpose.

But Makua, which is used by the military for live-fire exercises, is beautiful in it's own right. Sure, it's kind of dry-looking and blown up, but how would you look if Howitzers had been firing exploding shells at you for years?

Given a little TLC, not to mention plenty of water and fertilizer, Makua Valley could spring back to life and be just as gorgeous as Waimea.

Actually, Waimea would make a great place to hold military exercises. The terrain is more conducive to fighting than Makua, mainly because there are more things to hide behind.

But just try suggesting using Waimea Valley as a military training area and you're suddenly branded as some kind of insane person.

Waimea is special. It's a jewel. It's full of species that need to be protected.


Waimea is no more special than Makua. In fact, Makua has done more for the country than Waimea ever has. Makua has been used to prepare generations of fighters to go off and protect us. Waimea has been used to squeeze money out of tourists.

Let's be fair here. It's time to let Waimea Valley start pulling its weight.

Where's OHA when it comes to Makua? How come no one is trying to buy that valley? We could probably get it cheaper than Waimea. Why pump millions of dollars into Waimea when for the same amount, you could turn Makua Valley into a lovely, green park? You stick a few delicate plants in the ground and call it an arboretum.

The only difference between a botanical garden and a bombing range is the bombs.

The fact that no one will even consider using Waimea Valley as a bombing target shows the utter hypocrisy involved here. I'll tell you, one weekend of carpet bombing and Waimea Valley wouldn't look so special. It would look just like Makua -- scarred up, sad, dry and humiliated.

President Bush has said that bombing will cease on the target isle of Vieques. Vieques is the Kahoolawe of Puerto Rico, except people actually live on Vieques.

It took decades for Hawaiians to convince the government to quit bombing Kahoolawe.

The military says it has to have some place to test live ammo. First it lost Kahoolawe. Then Vieques. Makua may be next. Where will the military go?

How about Waimea Valley? Or the slopes of Koko Head? Or the slopes of Diamond Head, for that matter.

The people of Waialae are upset over a proposed golf driving range. Think they'd go for hand-grenade range?

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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