Friday, January 25, 2008

Washington Post kicks Guam tourism in the groin

The Washington Post has a few stories this week from Guam. They must have someone on staff who wanted a paid vacation.

This one from today takes the edge off of my desire to visit the Island.

Guam Braces for Peaceful Military Incursion
Buildup on U.S. Island Brings Fear of Change, Demand for Funds

By Blaine Harden Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, January 25, 2008

HAGATNA, Guam — People on this faraway island — a U.S. territory 7,824 miles west of Los Angeles — delight in calling Guam the “tip of the spear” for its role defending U.S. interests in the Far East.

Although the island is typhoon-plagued and earthquake-prone, cursed with bad traffic, unable to cope with its own garbage and overrun with invasive tree snakes that have eaten nearly all the birds, the Guamanians aren’t just blowing smoke.

The Pentagon has chosen Guam, a quirkily American place that marries the beauty of Bali with the banality of Kmart, as the prime location in the western Pacific for projecting U.S. military muscle.

It doesn't get any more rosy as the story continues, but it does throw a bit of light on a situation I have read about on some of the local blogs:

“We can’t help but boom,” said Jeff Pleadwell, who owns Jeff’s Pirates Cove, a beach hamburger joint, and expects his business to prosper. “But the island is going to change radically. Everyone is scared — of how the Marines will behave. We also worry that life inside the base will be first-world, while outside the fence it is going to be third-world.”

All in all, the Marine move is giving many Guamanians — an extraordinarily patriotic people who fight and die in U.S. wars at rates much higher than on the mainland — a serious case of the jitters.

The Washington Post has a log-in between you and the story, but I found a blogger who is not so careful about fair use copyright provisions as I am, so it is not my fault if you read the full story here.


Anonymous said...

As a native islander and current DC resident, I would like to say that I am outraged at this recent article. It should in no way affect your decision to come to Guam because the author, Blaine Harden, sensationalized and exaggerated the state of our island. We are a beautiful location to visit that offers many water activities and nature hikes; we have deep pride in our local culture, which is always warm and inviting to tourists; and we, like any other nation, have both our good points and our bad points politically and economically. Blaine Harden wrote an uninformed, ignorant article and for you to take that as truth shows your too-trusting dependence on the media.

Aaron said...

I don't know if it gives you any more faith in my judgment to hear this, but I actually believe anonymous comments on my blog far more than I believe the newspapers.

That confession aside, let me assure you that my zeal to visit Guam would be hard to dim after seeing the pictures on the blog

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