It has been a week since the Massachusetts National Guard released a pile of previously withheld damning documents related to the abuse of the public process in the review of the proposed machine gun range on the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve at Joint Base Cape Cod. The emails speak for themselves and invalidate the alleged legitimacy of the Guard’s consideration of substantive public concerns and comments. What’s really interesting and puzzling is that the Guard has not offered any comment looking to mitigate the damage to their credibility, nor have they a offered a counter narrative seeking to reassure the public that there is an alternative view that puts the comments made by the Guard’s project lead in a better light.
Perhaps the Guard hasn’t offered a public defense because their senior leadership can’t find the words to convince the public that it’s okay to denigrate the members of the public who are concerned with protecting the Cape’s water supply as adversaries of the military; that it’s okay to characterize and then deride the assumed political beliefs and affiliations of the public exercising its right to comment on proposed activities on the base; that it is okay to admit that their own project cannot survive further review while also telling the public the assessment was complete and thorough; and finally that it’s okay to withhold public documents not once but twice.
Maybe no one from the Guard has tried to make those arguments because there are no arguments to be made to explain away the deceptive practices used to try to force this project onto a location for which it is poorly suited.
Here is hoping the next words we hear from the Guard or from Governor Baker are that efforts to force the MPMG range on Cape Cod are over. That’s a long overdue message.