October 13, 2005

Saving Base

This is a short piece I wrote last August 26, after it was reported that the Base Closure and Realignment Commission had voted to keep Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota open. This smelled of rank politics in a process that is supposed to be free of politics:

Today, in an article entitled "Commission Votes to Save Ellsworth Base," Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press reports that the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) voted to keep Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota open, against the Pentagon's wishes. Ms. Sodoti's article called the BRAC decision, and the process surrounding it, "a politically delicate task." The article noted that one of the issues on which Republican Senator (then candidate) John Thune of South Dakota ran against incumbent Democrat Tom Daschle in 2004 was that Thune would be more able to keep Ellsworth open. Obviously, the only way Thune could accomplish this would be through partisan politics, specifically, his membership in the same political party as President Bush and those in charge of the federal government. However, BRAC's web site indicates that "Congress established the 2005 BRAC Commission to ensure the integrity of the base closure and realignment process. As directed by law, the Commission will provide an objective, non-partisan, and independent review and analysis of the list of military installation recommendations issued by the Department of Defense (DoD) on May 13, 2005." Senator Thune's web site today features the BRAC decision, and states that "I am proud to have been a part of this victory to keep Ellsworth open." So much for BRAC fulfilling its mandate to remove politics from the base closure process.


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