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North County Times - San Diego

By: J. STRYKER MEYER - Staff Writer

Imagine a full-scale, live-fire Marine amphibious assault on Red Beach, on the 125,000-acre Camp Pendleton, complete with landing craft, young, hard-charging Marines and sailors practicing a mode of attack used recently in Iraq. This tactic is the Marine Corps' bread and butter. No military force in this world does it better.

It's a scene reminiscent of World War II, of the Allied forces' D-Day invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, and the numerous amphibious assaults the Marine Corps executed during the horrific island campaigns in the Pacific theater of WW II, taking little islands during brutal combat from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima. It's a military tactic that needs practice and coordination with various sizes and shapes of Navy landing crafts and boats and air cover from Marine and Navy aviation units.

But at Camp Pendleton, once the hard-charging Marines have advanced up the beach, the live-fire drill suddenly ends. Due to environmental concerns, this full-scale invasion practice often comes to a screeching halt. Then the troops are picked up in trucks, marched across a paved road, or turned around, put back on the ships and transported to another area on base where the amphibious assault is continued ---- all in order to protect some endangered species and critical habitat.

This is one example of the environmental concerns on base clashing with the Marines' ability to train under conditions as close to real-life combat scenarios in order to hone their skills for the day when they are called to attack a military target. Covering Camp Pendleton in 1999, I witnessed military commanders vexed at having their hands tied by environmental issues and legal suits often filed by the Center for Biological Diversity ---- a tenacious group that files litigation and campaigns vigorously for endangered species and habitat around the world.

In 1994, the center was joined by the Endangered Habitats League and Natural Resources Defense Council in petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the small, brownish rodent, the Pacific pocket mouse. Two additional populations of that rodent were discovered on base, so the litigants sought to have the "Marine Corps ... required to ensure that its operations will not adversely modify any habitat essential to the mouse's survival."

Retired Marine Col. Rocky Chavez added, "They (the center's lawyers) play for keeps. They take no prisoners. They limit the quality of training that our nation deserves to give to our Marines. Every base that I've served on has been hampered by them."

The litigants simply want what they want. However, somewhere there has to be a concern for the obvious: If the troops aren't trained adequately and are harmed because of that, what will the Center of Biological Diversity do?

The Center of Biological Diversity doesn't limit itself to military targets. It recently joined a bevy of groups attacking the border fence between the United States and Mexico.

Again, there is no apparent concern for national security.
 

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:stfu: One of these days the Liberal Left will wake up. Probly after an entire city is killed. Until then we have to stay alert, and just like you protect your dog from itself, we must do the same for those F'ing Lib's.
 

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Can't we round up the members of the Center for Biological Diversity, and their lawyers, and send them over to Iraq to deal with the insurgents there? I'm sure they're endangering a few species there!
 
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