Humpback whale - credit: Suzy Chaffee
eNewsChannels COLUMN: The US Navy is deliberating right now on a plan to use high frequency underwater sound for testing in Hawaii and the coasts of California, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico that is estimated to deafen more than 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more over the next 5 years. And the Navy knows that whales and dolphins depend on sound to navigate and live. These are the routes that whales travel from countless ports to the Arctic each year. Therefore a half a million Americans, especially Native American Elders who sent this to me, say “Stop this Genocide.” Here are more reasons why:

As a relative of the late former Secretary of the Navy John Chafee, I know he is rolling in his grave at this unnecessary testing that would massacre thousands of whales and dolphins who have heroically saved thousands of lives protecting ports in war and peacetime. Shouldn’t they somehow be symbolically honored rather that repaying them this way? Why would the Navy want to tarnish its valiant image through such cruelty?

Especially after President Obama won moral compass points worldwide at the 2011 Whaling Commission Conference through his assurances that “the United States continues to support the commercial whaling moratorium.” After also receiving a variety art work created by school children asking the President to ‘save the whales,’ he even sent a thank you note with a family & dog photo for working alongside of Greenpeace, said Phil Kline.

Therefore, doesn’t this testing fly in the face of the President’s protection of whales, especially since the urgent need for these high frequency underwater sound tests have never been explained to the public? And if other countries whose combined Defense Budgets are less than ours do not conduct this kind of testing, we are most likely not at risk, so this paranoid overkill must stop immediately! This is a prime example of what President Eisenhower in his farewell speech, urged Americans to guard against:

Former Navy Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan and other military leaders now strongly suggest that we would be safer as a Nation by shifting a greater percentage of our military budgets, like these tests, to community needs, like schools, healthcare, renewable energy, and restoring oil devastated habitats, to support life. (courtesy of Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s). Doesn’t that make more sense than destroying America’s “Natural Capital,” which includes our marine life, on which the world’s economies are based. Where is the joy of sailing on dead stinking seas?

This strong intuitive feeling comes from knowing and working with Sec. Chafee ever since he sent a telegram to my brother Rick and me at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics saying, “The Chafees of Rhode Island are rooting for the Chaffees at Grenoble.” Rhode Island’s Governor Bruce Sundlun, also a skier, whose life was saved by John, then threw a party at the Watergate for us to meet on my return from USO Shows in remote bases in Viet Nam in 1971, including visiting his Kitty Hawk ship. Having a sense of humor, he asked on meeting for my autograph. I wrote, “Make Snow, Not War!” (made Time Mag).

John went on to become a Senator (R), and supported all our sports legislation that democratized, equalized and streamlined amateur sports in America. Beloved on both sides of the aisle – what’s missing today – he went on to author the revised “Clean Air, Water and Endangered Species Act” in the mid 90’s. So he would be infuriated by such an attack on our dolphins and whales whose populations have been recently gravely reduced by BP’s Cataclysmic Spill in the Gulf and Atlantic, and the radiation still spewing every day in the Pacific from Fukushima, plus the dead zone islands from Japan’s Tsunami and plastic garbage that has grown from the size of Texas to the size of the U.S, said NRDC’s Bobby Kennedy on “Oprah.”

Therefore, on behalf of Native American Elders, children, Secretary Chafee, and almost a half a million citizens who signed this petition, (, we urge the Navy to restore its moral compass by spending those test funds on heroically regenerating our “dying oceans” since the survival of generations depends on our marine life for food and tourism!

“Please do the right thing, right now and stop this plan that would excruciatingly deafen and slowly destroy 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more of our wisest supportive soldier-mammals.” Those are the orders I am passing on from Sec. Chafee, along with “Please God, bless America!”

And everyone, please say a prayer the way the Elders do, thanking the Navy leaders in advance for seeing the light and protecting our pure spirited mammal allies, friends and tourism superstars!


Article is Copr. © 2012 by Suzy ‘Chapstick’ Chaffee, and originally published on – all commercial and reprint rights reserved.

Suzy "Chapstick" Chaffee Bio - as first woman on the USOC board in the 70s, she led the successful reform of the Olympic Rules with Legends like Bill Bradley, Muhammad Ali, Jack Kelly, Kip Keino, which leveled the playing fields with the government supported countries through Madison Ave, then led the Title IX March in DC. In 1996 she co-founded the Native American Olympic Team Foundation that has inspired ski areas across the US and Canada to invite tribal youth to share the joy of skiing with over 10,000 youth, which inspires their Elders to lead snowdances that have saved ski areas from droughts for 55 years. At the request of SLOC, she orchestrated a snowdance that restored their snow and also a Native ceremony with Ali, that protected Utah from expected terrorism, and every Olympics since then, including RIO!