It seems U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) is siding with Guam with regard to the military buildup.
During an Okinawa government-sponsored conference held in Washington D.C. entitled “Rebalance to Asia, Refocus on Okinawa: Okinawa’s Role in an Evolving US-Japan Alliance,” Webb countered an argument made by Okinawa Gov. Kirokazu Nakaima that the people of Guam, like Okinawa, are opposed to more U.S. military presence.
“My view is that the people of Guam want the military bases. We’ve had many discussions there. In any of these situations, there are concerns that local populations raise,” said Webb, who was also a keynote speaker at the conference.
“For instance, there was a gun range, a shooting range, that was going to be put in an area that had great historic significance. But my view is, the people of Guam are wondering why it’s taking so long” [to carry out the buildup], Webb said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Judi Guthertz, who heads the military buildup committee, has issued a statement commending Webb’s comments.
“It’s also about time it was made clear that Guam senators are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents, who have legitimate concerns about buildup plans,” she said.
“Various special interests looking to make a big profit from the buildup told us repeatedly to hold our tongue about these issues for fear of scaring away the Marines, but we rejected their advice,” she added. “I did not embrace their strategy because my responsibility as a senator is to advocate for the best interests of all the people of Guam and not for any special interest.”