Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jimmy Carter: Save The SUBASE

BRAC news is ramping up a bit as we near Wednesday's final meeting of the commissioners. The commission must present its final list to the President by September 8.

Peter Urban reports in today's Connecicut Post that former President Jimmy Carter is the latest high-profile person to come out in favor of keeping SUBASE New London off the list. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), announced Carter's position to reporters on Friday:
"This is a president who served in submarines. He is from Georgia. An easier decision [for Carter] would be to stay out of this. So I think this is good news that he has added his voice to the debate," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.
Carter expressed his reservations about the closing in a letter he wrote to BRAC committee chairman Anthiny Principi.

In a one-page letter to BRAC Chairman Anthony J. Principi dated Aug. 15, Carter said that while Kings Bay would welcome the additional jobs that would come from closing the Connecticut base, he did not believe that was in the nation's best interest.

"I don't profess to speak for other active and retired submariners, but I believe that, overwhelmingly, the consensus would be that transferring the submarine forces from New London would be militarily deleterious," Carter wrote.

"Abandonment and rebuilding facilities would be disruptive, there would be a great loss of the services of civilian personnel who have devoted their lives to the submarine force, and the move might overly concentrate our forces," Carter wrote. "The long, narrow and exposed access routes from shore bases to the open seas are always vulnerable to potential closing — by nature or saboteurs."

The article wraps up with a reminder that Carter's position is shared by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and 3 former chiefs of naval operations.

I find the public support by Carter to be very significant. Carter, a Georgia native, takes a position that is likely unpopular with some in his home state. Carter's position as a former President and his experience as a submariner amplify this message and give it gravitas.

Whether or not you are a fan of the former President, this is a case where he is being non-partisan, clearly expressing a belief that keeping the base open is in the best interests of the United States as a whole.

Good for him.

Update: Bubblehead had this last night (of course) and highlights some of the fun factual errors in the Hartford Courant article about Carter's letter.

Update II: Team CT says "thank you" to Jimmy Carter.

(Cross-posted at The Noonz Wire)


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