[Coral-List] Fwd: A very useful report (Douglas Fenner), again, sorry, please fix spelchek!

kmuzik at gmail.com kmuzik at gmail.com
Sun Oct 31 02:19:35 UTC 2021

I apologize for a spelchek glitch, Gavan McCormack's brilliant report was
at apjif.org NOT "aphis"!

Here goes again, the corrected report:

Thank you Douglas Fenner for posting the recent ICRF report on "Rebuilding
Coral Reefs: a Decadal Grand Challenge", by Knowlton, N., et alia, at

Upon reading it, I am feeling, beyond dismay, anger, frustration, I am
beyond feeling woe, or even resignation, I have a new feeling, one of

How might such fantastically well-educated and well-travelled scientists
from my own generation omit from their very pretty report of the "3
pillars" for keeping reefs alive, elide (ahem, ignore entirely) the
bludgeons of nearly 130 years of US militarism? Knowlton and her colleagues
only mention 1) reducing climate change 2) improving local conditions and
3) investing in restoration of corals....What feeble pillars these 3 are,
against current and constant ongoing forceful military aggression!

Yes, the US military continues its bludgeoning, its destruction forever, of
cultures and natural environments all around our watery, once-lively,

In the Pacific, the imperialistic US military, since the 1893 overthrow of
the Hawaiian monarchy, and then throughout the continuing US decimation of
Pacific islands and culture during WW2, until right now, with the US
bombing practice at Naftan/Tinian/Pagan in the Marianas and with the Aegis
missiles targeting Kwajalein from Kaua'i, and with the US Navy's incessant
Pacific war games, including recently permitted 2019-2024 24/7 low/mid/high
frequency destructive sonar from 44 degrees N latitude to 15, the US
military continues, unchecked, to obliterate marine life. In Okinawa, it
continues to engage in deliberate obliteration of the most beautiful and
diverse coral reef I have ever had the privilege to dive into, at Oura
Bay.  There, over 5,334 species (262 species of which are listed as
"endangered" and others which are still "new", undescribed), including over
430 spp of corals, 1000+ spp of fish, numerous spp of molluscs,
echinoderms, arthropods, seagrasses and algae are resolutely clinging to
life. Yet the US insists on expanding Camp Schwab, a US Marine Base on
the Bay, against the wishes of 70% of the local population and their
democratically elected Governor. Despite years and years of opposition from
stalwart local activists, the desecration of Oura Bay continues.

In summary, the mightily-funded US military has been bludgeoning life on
lands and in the seas for well over a century, and continues unchecked. Now
with the "China threat", the US is ramping up activities, expanding  even
further away from its own shores, mercilessly continuing irreparable
destruction. Not just expanding military base construction in Okinawa,
Guam, Australia, S. Korea, Japan, etc etc but increasing noise and sonar
and chemical pollution, nuclear contamination, etc etc, throughout all
waters of the Pacific Ocean.

I have in my hand a very sobering book that S. Dillon Ripley gave me in
1976, which first brought my attention to this ongoing tragedy, entitled
"Lost Island", by his admired colleague, James Norman Hall. (Hall was an
American author better known for writing "Mutiny on the Bounty" and other
books adapted for film.) In 1944 Hall published this very eloquent and
poignant description about the impact of war/US militarization on humans
living on Pacific islands. If not readily available to you, I admonish you
to read this more accessible, recent report from an admired colleague of my
own, Gavan McCormack, an Australian historian and philosopher, entitled
"The Prospect of Political Change in Japan" published on October 25 in Asia
Pacific Journal, https://apjif.org/2021/20/McCormack.html. In this report
he details the accelerating tempo of military exercises in the East and
South Pacific, and warns of the possibility of clash, by accident or
design, of the US, UK, Japanese, German, Australian, French and Chinese
forces assembling there for "war games".

I have witnessed tragic loss, in just my lifetime, to reefs and corals I
loved, shallow and deep, all around the world. They are diseased and dying,
from pollution, tourism, overfishing, acidification, warming...Thus I
mentioned not just my feelings of sadness, frustration and despair but also
terror in my opening sentences to you.

Why terror? Because in my view, the overt failure by academics to
address/oppose/curtail/stop military destruction of the marine environment
is beyond outrageous. I fear the "Penta-Force", the
Military-Industrial-Press-Administrative-Academic Force, will forcefully
succeed, causing innocent, beautiful, ancient and wondrous corals and their
associated marine life to succumb and perish. The complacency and silence
of marine biologists are complicit in this irreversible tragedy. Thousands
of years of life in the sea, poof!

Katherine Muzik
kmuzik at gmail.com

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