With all due respect to the U.S. Army, it's almost laughable that it's hoisting its own survey results up a flag pole, gleefully highlighting that eight out of 10 people generally trust the U.S. Army. That little revelation would certainly be more believable had the survey been independently commissioned.
But with a healthy dose of skepticism that the public really trusts the Army, we think it's far more likely that the public living near the Umatilla Chemical Depot trusts the method in which the Army has chosen to dispose of chemical weapons.
The survey found that most people support incineration and some are even anxious to get the process started as soon as possible. It's these people who correctly assert that with each bomb destroyed, everyone breathes a little easier.
Frequent reports of leaking munitions within the aging stockpile point to the danger faced daily by the general public - no matter how slight. It only gets worse with each passing day.
But with each effort to stall construction of the incinerator, invalidate environmental permits or push for the use of alternative technologies for disposing of these chemical agents, the anti-incineration crowd merely delays the day when we all can say "they're history."
The Army has done a good job of walking the community through the incineration process and is employing the best available technology to rid the depot of 7.5 million pounds of nerve and blister agents. The Chemical Stockpile and Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) is moving the public and emergency personnel closer and closer to being fully equipped for the day incineration begins.
Incineration is the fastest, safest and most efficient method of ridding northeast Oregon of these chemical agents.