Letter: We don’t need a military survey of WNC

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In a recent response to a letter about the proposed budget increase of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2024 I sent to N.C. 11th District Congressman Chuck Edwards, I read the following and shocking news as stated below:

“As a member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, I introduced an amendment that was included in the NDAA that will help reduce waste and misuse of U.S.-provided equipment — an area where the DOD spends billions of dollars annually. Another bipartisan amendment of mine was included in the NDAA that requires the DOD to complete a survey of the 15 counties in Western North Carolina as potential locations for future defense assets and report to Congress on its findings. Our topography is much like that of many U.S. adversaries. Thus, I believe our military should be able to train in similar environments.”

I ask, how will this save money? Seems like this is another slice of pork our congressman wants to bring back to his district.

And what does he mean when he states the Department of Defense will be required to complete a survey of our Western North Carolina region as “potential locations for future defense assets and report to Congress on its findings?”

Then he brings up our “many U.S. adversaries.” Could they be Russia and China? Do they have “similar environments”?

This is all worrisome for me. Our mountains are sacred to all of us going as far back as the Cherokee Nation, where members hid out to avoid marching to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears nearly 200 years ago. Would this land be cursed as another training ground that will teach our military how to kill soldiers and civilians in other countries whom we insist on making our enemies?

Will they become contaminated with lead? Would our natural springs and majestic rivers have to suffer from more pollution? Will our trees be clear-cut again as their first-growth ancestors were during this region’s development by white settlers and rich capitalists?

We don’t need a survey, Rep. Edwards. We don’t want the military abusing our beautiful land that will soon become home to more climate refugees. The survey is a waste.

This amendment and the NDAA were approved by our Congress. It now goes to the Senate. Cut the proposed 2024 military budget. No suitability survey in our mountains. One hundred acres of dense forestland was donated to Pratt & Whitney to build parts for military fighter jets just three years ago. We who love peace will resist any additional giveaways to a bloated military.

— Rachael Bliss

Editor’s note: A press release from Edwards’ office about the defense bill can be found at avl.mx/cv6.


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15 thoughts on “Letter: We don’t need a military survey of WNC

  1. North Asheville

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “The DoD contributes billions of dollars each year to state economies through the operation of military installations.

    This spending helps sustain local communities by creating employment opportunities across a wide range of sectors, both directly and indirectly. Active duty and civilian employees spend their military wages on goods and services produced locally, while pensions and other benefits provide retirees and dependents a reliable source of income. States and communities also benefit from defense contracts with private companies for equipment, supplies, construction and various services such as health care and information technology.

    According to an analysis by the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), the department spent $408 billion on payroll and contracts in Fiscal Year 2015, approximately 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Spending was highest in Virginia, followed by California, Texas, Maryland and Florida. Virginia has the largest defense spending as a share of state GDP at 11.8 percent, followed by Hawaii at 9.9 percent.

    • indy499

      Other than Bliss and the rest of her tiny band that apparently live their life writing letters to Mtn Xpress, the rest of us are hoping to get a much larger share of this important pie, especially in our economically challenged western counties.

    • Susan Oehler

      There is no doubt that all that military spending contributes to our economy. What is in doubt is this: does it do a better job of contributing to our economy than spending on education, health care, infrastructure, other things? The answer seems to be ‘no’ to that question. And the most important question is: Does this spending hurt or help our environment, improve our way of life, improve our overall well-being? The answer to that question is undoubtedly NO IT DOES NOT.

      Our military is so bloated that we cannot win a war at all. Our military industries are so subsidized (and are our biggest manufacturers) that we send weapons and weapons parts and weapons delivery systems (like fighter jets) all over the world. Recently, a report from our DOD says that they are sending old weapons to Ukraine because the President wants to clean out old stock and get the shiny new stuff. Furthermore, our DOD loses track of those weapons once they hit Ukraine.

      Furthermore, we send weapons parts to our supposed enemies of the day:

      Quote: Key Points

      ” Key components from Western countries have been found in the military equipment used by Russian forces in Ukraine.
      Research demonstrates the illicit procurement and misuse of semiconductors by overseas entities.
      Although the semiconductor companies and government officials CNBC spoke to acknowledge the unauthorized use of American chips is a serious issue, experts can’t agree on who is to blame.”

      That’s right, NO ONE IS TO BLAME, EVER. It is supposedly good for our economy.

      That came from this article: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/17/us-components-found-in-russian-iranian-military-tech.html

      Do you think they are lying? Do you think this is the way to “improve” our economy – by selling or giving weapons to whomever, all paid for by the taxpayers of this country?

      Never, ever, forget that that the US government took 20 years, 4 US Presidents, over $2 trillion dollars, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS DEAD, MILLIONS INJURED, DISPLACED, MAKE REFUGEES, HOMES AND COMMUNITIES DESTROYED…………. in order to replace the Taliban with the Taliban in Afghanistan.


      • indy499

        Hard to imagine you can’t tell the difference between us wanting a share of defense dollars spent by the federal government and us spending city/county dollars on educations, etc. You must be part of the tiny LW Bliss band of zealots.

        • Susan

          We had over 100 million dollars given to Pratt & Whitney by local and state government.

          Not sure we will ever see any of the defense dollars from the federal government.

  2. Cindy Heil

    I worked in the Navy Dept’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) office. This GAO report provides some insight into the environmental damage caused by military support facilities. https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-105207.pdf In this newsletter, https://iqconnect.house.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter.aspx?id=101293&c=NC11CE Rep. Edwards notes: “Our topography is much like that of many U.S. adversaries, including China. I believe our military should be able to train in similar environments.” So, Rep. Edwards, are we going to war with China? Don’t we have our hands full with Russia?

    • Rachael Bliss

      People who immigrate here because of usually environment problems in their area, such as forest fires, drought or hurricanes.

    • Susan Oehler

      Someone is a climate refugee who is forced to leave where they live because of fires, floods, extreme weather.

      The insurance companies are starting to stop insuring homes in California because of fires. They are starting to stop insuring homes in Florida because of floods. When those people up and move because of this, they are moving because of the climate. They are not refugees exactly, but the people who were pushed out of New Orleans because of hurricane Katrina in 2005 – where they lost their homes, jobs, possessions, were climate refugees.

  3. Sharon mcgurk

    Oh no. Not our little piece of heaven . So much blatant corruption in our politics that i cant stand no more. Cheating , lying elected officials have become entitled snd forgot they are supposed to be representing us. Its time to clean house and get rid of Career politicians who all have their own agendas and making this country strong and taking care of the folks who voted them into office is not one of them. Throw them all out. Pelosi hold the door for them and close it on your way out

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