gressmen that the Reagan Administration has under review several options for the command structure of RDF. These include, he testified, keeping a command staff at MacDill, disbanding it and handing over its mission to the Pacific .Command in. Hawaii or to the U.S. European Command in Brussels, Belgium, creating a floating command post in the Indian Ocean, or combinations of all of these, Also discussed, Carlucci said, were the possibilities of setting up RDF in Egypt, Somalia, Oman, or Kenya perhaps even on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Carlucci further testified that President Reagan wants to speed up RDF capabilities to prevent “a Soviet blitzkrieg” in the Persian Gulf and has asked Congress for a $2 billion jump in RDF funds for the 1982 federal budget. That’s nearly double what President Carter asked for. [INTERVAL: The Associated Press, April 12, from Washington: “Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., who said in Europe that he might favor an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, returned home Saturday night, ending an eight-day, nine-nation tour of the Middle East and Europe. Sporadic clashes in Lebanon are threatening to shatter a three-day-old ceasefire between Syrian and Christian forces. Haig described the situation as ‘very serious.’ Haig visited four Middle East nations: Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He stopped in Italy, Spain and Britain before visiting Paris and Bonn. His chief aim was to build what he has termed a ‘strategic consensus’ in the Mid dle East to confront what is seen as a Soviet threat to the oil-rich region.”] The buck colonel told reporters April 12 that yes, “generally, desert is desert. The desert here is like the deserts in Afghanistan or the Persian Gulf. Those are obvious areas that we’re concerned about. Our guys need that kind of training.” CODA: A Washington Post report by a writer who covered Haig on last week’s trip contained this paragraph: “So far as an accompanying reporter can determine, the main achievements \(of the and these largely involved the slaying of hobgoblins.” Border Star ’81 cost about 30 million dollars, American money. An MX Disaster For the Panhandle? By Bill Crawford Austin The Air Force is considering placing all or half of the massive MX missile system in an 8,500-square-mile region extending from the Texas Panhandle to Eastern New Mexico. Three months ago the Air Force released a draft environmental impact pacts which deployment of the MX system would have on the land and the people of West TexaS and Eastern New Mexico. The three months February, March, and April are the public comment period on the’ issue, during which people are invited to submit written comments to the Air Force. As part of the process, the Air Force is required to hold public hearings on the MX in the affected region. \(See the Social Cause Calendar, page 31, for the schedule of hearings in Austin, West Texas and Eastern New The DEIS spells disaster for the Texas-New Mexico region. According to the document, if half the system was deployed there, the population in the region would increase 53,000 persons by 1988 and plummet back down 34,000 by 1992. Up to 1,300 farms and ranches The author, a graduate of Harvard in comparative religion who is now studying business administration at UTAustin, is a part-time worker on the MX for the American Friends Service Committee. would have to be relocated. Five thousand acres of irrigated farmland would be lost to production, and livestock losses could exceed $1.5 million a year by 1987. Deployment of the MX system would result in severe strain on local government resources \(housing, health cies strugged to keep up with the influx and outflow of 30,000 workers. What is most terrifying is that in 27 of the 36 issue areas considered in the document, the study recommends placing all or part of the system in the Texas/New Mexico’ region. The deployment decision will be made by the President this summer. Congress would have to approve the funds then. The flatlands of the Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico are one of the most productive agricultural regions in the U.S. Deployment of the MX system in the region would severely handicap the production of wheat, corn, sugar beets, beef cattle, grain sorghum, and a host of other agricultural commodities that are vital for the feeding of our nation and the surpluses that enable us to feed other peoples. It is the intent of Congress to avoid placing of the MX system on productive agricultural land. The central high plains region of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska was considered as a possibletMX deployment site earlier in the MX planning stages. The Air Force decided to remove the central high plains region from consideration because, to quote from the DEIS, “basing in this area would be contrary to congressional intent that MX should be restricted to the least productive land available.” The Texas-New Mexico region is another highly productive agricultural region and should be excluded from consideration as a basing area for the same reason* and in accordance with the intent of Congress. Even if the Texas-New Mexico area is considered as a possible deployment site, the DEIS seriously understates the impacts that the MX system would have on this agriculturally productive region. For example, the document’s figures on employment that would be generated by the system are questionable. On pages 1-3 of the document and on an errata sheet hastily enclosed, there are three widely varying estimates of this factor. The DEIS admits that the last accurate employment figures were prepared too THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27
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