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Target Culebra Paperback – December 9, 2008
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"Target Culebra" is the true journey of one man's fight in the early 1970's to free the 700 people of Culebra, a small Puerto Rican island, from the U.S. Navy's use and abuse of the inhabited island as target practice. Not only is the book extremely well written, the true stories of the author, Richard Copaken, and his dogged persistence to obtain justice mixed with the details of the bureaucracy in Washington D.C. are phenomenal. Even more unbelievable is how Capaken, a young and inexperienced lawyer, could penetrate the layers of in the Senate, the Congress and the Navy through sheer logic and determination. It is mind boggling how he used his connections, like his classmates from law school, to find out the right sources to call, how to get the right messages to the right people and how quickly he reacted to the ever changing landscape of the battle for the island of Culebra's independence from the Navy. The real trick was how Copaken utilized the media to Culebra's advantage whenever he had a chance (and all along without ever going back on his word).
Again, Copaken's stories were incredible, ranging from the bizarre and comical chase after a Navy Admiral down 10 flights of stairs as the Admiral tried to escape questioning on the Culebra issue to tense discussions with Senators, Congressmen and the Navy and even an intriguing meeting with the CIA at Langley.Read more ›
The book takes place over 30 years and the US Navy almost sinks his boat every time.
This book is highly relevant today as we see the underside of govermental power and lengths the "power" goes to protect itself.
Too bad the author died this fall and could not take it out on tour it might have made a difference.
Without sensationalism, the case that this book builds is, nonetheless, somewhat shocking. But the big take-away from this story is how creative a lawyer can be. With doggedness, intelligence, and good connections, the author managed to save Culebra and Vieques - American islands, both - from being targets of outdated, unuseable, Navy bombs. He does this partly through the court system, but also by working the Congress, and ultimately, the White House.
This is an important read for those who are interested in public policy, an interesting read for those who are interested in the history of Culebra and Vieques, and a satisfying read for those who love a good David and Goliath story.
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Invaluable historical resource. Obligatory reading for the Naval War College Ethics Department as they teach future high level leaders.Published 16 months ago by JMD