Base Closures

Jesse Cornett

There has been some trickling of information in the press about the local impact that the recent round of base closures will have. As Blue Oregonians likely know, Oregon will lose 1000 military positions due to jobs being shifted around. Saturday's Oregonian had an article where the Deputy Director of the Oregon Military Department was speaking out (that should change the Pentagon's mind: having a Colonel from Oregon and a Democratic Senator lash out).

I just confirmed some interesting information (which I actually first read a few days ago in The Edge, but felt compelled to find elsewhere) in a three week old article from the Arizona Republic:

Defense Department data show that "blue states," those that voted for Democrat Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, are slated to lose a combined 24,289 military jobs while their "red state" counterparts, those states carried by President Bush, will gain nearly 12,000 jobs.

The same article quotes Utah Senator Orin Hatch as saying this process has been the "least political" base closures he's seen. But compared to Clinton's 1995 closures where Democratic states lost on the average of 465 jobs and Republican states lost on the average of 500, this reeks of politics.

Blue states losing 24,000 versus red states gaining 12,000. What do you think, is this coincidence?

  • Becky (unverified)

    Look on the bright side - maybe we'll get one of those shiny new oil refineries.

    See for just one of many articles on Bush's military base/refinery proposal. (Sorry, I just don't get the html stuff so I didn't make a link.)

  • Gregor (unverified)

    Since all our reserves are at war, why do we need any bases here anyway?

  • Mike Austin (unverified)

    For decades now, "Blue" America has been subsidizing "Red" America, in the same way that "Blue" Oregon subsidizes "Red" Oregon. This is merely one more step in a long-term strategy to prop up that part of America that otherwise has become economically non-viable and to convince "Red" America that they're self-reliant, god-fearing Christians who are propping up the welfare queens in the inner cities.

  • Kelly Steele (unverified)

    Our delegation in DC has been united against these closures, but wasn't this one of the arguments Gordon Smith made in 2002 about why a "blue" state should send someone like him to the Senate? That he had seniority and would have President Bush's ear when it mattered for Oregon?

    It's good to see our Republican Senator is making such a difference with his access...

    Jon Thune has already told Bush to screw off on the Bolton nomination after South Dakota got hit hard on base closures. Where's Gordon Smith?

  • afs (unverified)

    The idea of cutting back Oregon to one military air base is just nuts. It makes no sense strategically. One airbase to respond to the entire length of Oregon's coastline? That's just crazy talk.

  • jeffk (unverified)

    Of course it's partisan. It's getting so that Republicans can't decide where to eat lunch without making it a partisan issue. Everything they do is partisan, and when they say it isn't, it's guaranteed to be even more partisan than usual!

    As far as leaving only one air base for the whole Oregon coast, well, what do they care if Oregon gets invaded. We're all blue on this side of the cascades, anyway.

  • (Show?)

    afs - I have no idea what's required to defend Oregon's coastline (after all, Fort Stevens is one of only two parts of the continental USA to be bombed by a foreign power during WWII - other is Santa Barbara), but I do know this: Oregon is already the least militarized state in the union thanks to Mark Hatfield's disinterest in military bases over the last half-century.

    On the one hand, it's hard to imagine that the smart thing to do is to disinvest in the state ranked #50. On the other, we've survived just fine so far....

  • (Show?)

    I suspect this is coincidence.

    We no longer need bases scattered all over the country -- we're no longer preparing for WWIII with the Soviets (this is why the Oregon coast can remain "undefended" -- who the hell is going to invade Oregon? The North Koreans?).

    The Pentagon has been trying for 20 years to consolidate bases in a few coastal areas and keep most of the bases in the interior, where land and labor are cheap. In addition, they don't want to locate nuclear submarine bases or airbases near large population centers.

    Blue states tend to be coastal and urban. Bases in these areas are expensive to maintain and are not necessary given our ability to transport materials globally and deploy forces rapidly.

    Finally, I'm very skeptical of these employment comparisons unless I know what is happening in the data. A few large and out of dae facilitie (e.g. Groton CT,which should have been closed a decade alone) may be skewing these data.

    Employment numbers under the first wave of closings under Clinton may have been more "balanced" precisely because the closings were more political (don't make the right strategic choices, make the right political choices, and make sure neither party is particularly punished).

    Is this really the way we want to run our military?

  • Gregor (unverified)

    We are so close to Russia, Dubya's pal Vlady, that Russia is no threat, but China? Well, they are going to do their own thing and don't think for a minute we can really do anything except cry about it. While I was in China a couple of years ago I read a local English-language paper that reported Japan was upset that a manufacturer was replicating their cars down to the minutest detail. They went to court to get the Chinese firm to change their loga. Pictures were provided in the paper and one did have to get pretty close to see the difference. At any rate, the Chinese judge told the Japanese too bad! We can expect more of the same from China. Do they need to invade to rule? No, we don;t have any resources they are interested in having. Any future wars of any grand scale will be over oil, just like the one we are having now.

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