To the Editor,

I have been a supporter of the Island Institute for a number of years and have enjoyed reading your publications and learning of the issues facing the coastal islands of Maine. I have never felt the need to write a letter to the editor until the publication of the June 2010 “Working Waterfront.” I must take issue with two items that appeared in that publication.

The first is the comment by Dave Platt in his article titled “Drink Up” where he states, “And as Dutch citizens, Arubans may have a more excepting, European way of looking at these things than Americans insisting on their rights over everyone else’s, including the right to waste the world’s finite supplies of oil.” What rubbish! First of all, you can drive from one end of Holland to the other in a matter of hours and second you are speaking of a country of 16.5 million people compared to the U. S. population of 300 million. The “European” solution to the “finite supplies of oil” is to build nuclear power plants including two in Holland and multiples in France where 85% of their power comes from nuclear sources. We haven’t permitted a nuclear plant in this country since 1962. The wind can power Dave’s sailboat in the Caribbean and brew beer in Aruba, but it will not answer the power needs of the United states and you better have lots of standby generators when the wind stops blowing or the blackout of 1965 will look like chump change.

The second item in the June issue was the letter from Tom Sturtevant of the Maine Veterans for Peace regarding the possibility of the USS John F. Kennedy coming to Portland, in which he castigates the United States for our “militarism and imperialism” and says that America’s past is “thoroughly tainted.” I know not what his military service was, but I thank him for it. As to his other comments; it was our “militarism” that liberated Europe in WW II; it was our “imperialism” in the form of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe and turned Germany and Japan into thriving democracies; it was our “militarism” that flew night and day to the relief of the citizens of Berlin; it was our “militarism” that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and freed millions of people in Eastern Europe; it was our “imperialism” that has given billions of dollars in aid to developing countries in Africa and provided medicine and doctors to help stem the spread of AIDS on that continent; it is our “militarism” that sent the USS Abraham Lincoln with it’s helicopters and water desalinization system and the hospital ship USNS Mercy to Indonesia to mitigate the tsunami disaster in 2005; it was our “militarism” and “imperialism” that sent the USS Carl Vinson, USNS Comfort, US Coast Guard, 2000 Marines and an 82nd Airborne brigade to help in search and rescue and provide humanitarian assistance, four US Army MASH units, hundreds of Air Force C 130’s flying in thousands of tons of food and water, to Haiti after their devastating earthquake in January. I could go on, but this is just a short list of things we have done in our “thoroughly tainted” past. Like Mr. Sturtevant, I too am a veteran (US Army). Unlike Mr. Sturtevant, I am proud of my country and its willingness to spend its lives and treasure whenever people need our help, and I will apologize to no one for those efforts.

Jim Coull

Littleton, MA- Cliff Island, ME