History

The President's Wartime Service

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At a press conference with President Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered "apologies for the fact that" his country's wartime sex slaves "were placed in that sort of circumstance."

Bush's response: "I accept the prime minister's apology."

[Via Roderick Long.]

NEXT: The Coming War on Spinners

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  1. Is this a matter of the President’s response being translated into Japanese and back again?

  2. Bush actually said, “Oki opai.”

  3. “Mr. Prime Minister, what did you mean when you said, ‘Feel my skills, donkey donkey donkey, donkey donkey?'”

  4. From the text at THP: [Bush] “I think it _ I’m just envisioning what it would be like to be a young soldier in the middle of Iraq and realizing that politicians have all of a sudden made military determinations. And in my judgment, that would put a kid in harm’s way; more so than he or she already is.”

    He “envisions” what it’s like to be a soldier…how fitting. Is it anything like playing with your GI Joe toys in your youth, mr. prez? Is that why the purple heart was presented to you?

  5. When did Bush become the official spokesman for Japanese sex slaves, that he can accept an apology on their behalf?

  6. Least he didn’t ralph all over him.

  7. Chinese and Korean sex slaves, Jennifer.

    Just a heads up, everybody: if you want to learn more about this topic, choose your search engine terms carefully.

  8. I don’t suppose that it occurred to Bush to say something like “I’m sorry our soldiers played a part in the enslavement of women,” or something like that?

  9. In all fairness, though, what was the guy supposed to say? “No, FUCK you, Abe! Now you’re not coming to the ranch.” Bush isn’t the first person that comes to mind when I think of someone who can think fast on their feet, so accepting an apology is a diplomatic move at least.

    In any case, it was a public acknowledgment by a national leader of a wartime atrocity committed by a sovereign power against another. It’s doubtful the U.S. will ever apologize for incinerating 200,000 Japanese civilians, although many will argue we shouldn’t and no one denies that it happened.

  10. lunchstealer,

    Our soldiers didn’t play any role in the enslavement of women.

  11. Well, the guy apologizing and the guy accepting the apology had nothing to do with the whole mess, anyway.

    Our soldiers played a part in enslaving women? Did I miss something?

  12. In all fairness, though, what was the guy supposed to say?

    How about, “Thanks for your apology, but I’m not the one you should be apologizing to?”

  13. Just a heads up, everybody: if you want to learn more about this topic, choose your search engine terms carefully.

    Hmm, yeah. That could definitely take you to places you don’t want to go.

  14. Our soldiers played a part in enslaving women? Did I miss something?

    It made the news a few days ago: during our occupation of Japan the Japanese set up brothels for the benefit of American soldiers.

  15. How about, “Thanks for your apology, but I’m not the one you should be apologizing to?”

    Wouldn’t that come across as a bit of a diss to the Japanese President? I thought the proper way for doing this in public is a simple thank you.

  16. I live in Japan, and just told my girlfriend about this. She said that it’s kind of a joke ’round here that Japanese prime ministers going to Washington is like Japanese people going to Ise Jingu.

    Well, I guess it’s not that funny.

  17. Wouldn’t that come across as a bit of a diss to the Japanese President?

    Who deserves it. All countries have done vile things in their past; the thing to do is admit it, make what amends are possible and move on. Problem with Japan is, it wants to go right to phase-three-move-on without first going through steps one and two.

    And when you’re talking about women locked in brothels and raped hundreds of times over the course of several months, a weaselly passive-voice “sorry they were placed in that circumstance” is almost more insulting than saying nothing.

  18. joe, Many US soldiers used brothels where most of the women were ‘comfort women’. They didn’t intentionally enslave them, and may or may not have known of their situation. But they did not, intentionally or unintentionally, take steps to repatriate or truly liberate these women.

    I’m not saying we’re culpable in the way that the Japanese military was, but nobody involved treated these women properly. Jennifer’s phrasing is perhaps better. Don’t appologize to American men for evils inflicted on Chinese, Korean, and also in some cases Japanese women, at least not without apologizing to the actual victims first.

  19. It made the news a few days ago: during our occupation of Japan the Japanese set up brothels for the benefit of American soldiers.

    Brothels like Vegas-style brothels? or Brothels like the woman is forcibly taken from home and chained to the bed kind of brothel? Cause I don’t see as much of a moral problem with the former.

  20. Latter.

  21. I agree Bush should have been more tactful in his reply… but then, isnt it a bit late to be expecting that from this guy?

    [off on tangent]

    I still enjoy this comment from GWB

    “”We are working hard to convince both the Indians and the Pakis that there’s a way to deal with their problems without going to war.” “”
    “Paikis” being close to the N-word in UK, as major derogatory towards south asians in general. I dont recall if he ever apologized.

    It’s like the plantation owner going, “now leroy, I know you’re one of the good ones…’

    Which reminds me of that great mr show episode = “Racist in the Year 3000.”

    Didnt clinton apologize to Africa for slavery? Man that takes some chutzpah. Nevermind the belgians… Clinton make it alllll better! A Sorry can go a long way. I think he said sorry about the Atomic bomb as well. ‘Hey, whoops! Our bad. Here’s a card. And you can take over our auto industry too.”

  22. Abdul,

    The latter. More specifically, a ‘taken from their homes as their families are killed and their village burned to the ground, then shackled and taken aboard a transport to a foreign country where you do not speak the language and then chained to a bed’ kind of brothel.

  23. lunchstealer,

    This is news to me. Are you talking about areas we liberated in China, Korea, and elsewhere? Or about Americans on occupation duty in post-war Japan?

  24. I suppose Bush could’ve started quoting relevant lines from Full Metal Jacket. Yes, that was Vietnam, but it works for this topic as well.

  25. Gilmore: Afghans from Afghanistan, Uzbeks from Uzbekistan, Turkmen from Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhs from Kazakhstan…

    As ironic as it is, I don’t think Bush can be faulted for following this pattern and not knowing British derogatory slang.

  26. joe, I don’t know all the details, but I believe it was in occupied Japan.

  27. I suppose Bush could’ve started quoting relevant lines from Full Metal Jacket.

    “Me love you long time?”

  28. “I’m going to poke your eyes and skullfuck you to death?”

  29. Pro Libertate | May 1, 2007, 12:05pm | #

    I suppose Bush could’ve started quoting relevant lines from Full Metal Jacket. Yes, that was Vietnam, but it works for this topic as well.

    Yea, I’d have loved to hear him say: “Hey, you got girlfriend Vietnam? Me so horny. Me love you long time. “

  30. Jennifer,

    Correct, though you left out the obligatory, “Joe”. And I believe there’s another line.

    joe,

    Tsk, tsk. Wrong. Though if you’d quoted Animal Mother, I’d have lied and said you were right. Is there anything better than a movie with Adam Baldwin in it? I miss Jayne Cobb.

  31. jimmydageek,

    Right. You win the Stanley for this thread. If Bush had said that, I’d write him in for president in 2008.

  32. Chinese and Korean sex slaves, Jennifer.

    There were Japanese sex slaves as well, joe. A significant percentage of them, mostly poor women from Kyushu and Okinawa. There were also a couple dozen Dutch women who were taken when the Dutch East Indies fell.

  33. I believe there’s another line.

    I saw the movie when it first came out, and that line is all I remember. (And the only reason I do is because it was used in that stupid 2 Live Crew song that came out a couple years later.)

    Correction: I also remember the horrible scene where the sniper shot that black guy from a distance, and you could see bits of blood and gore shooting out of him.

    I watched most of the movie with my hands over my face. That was my first, last and only date with some guy whose name I have since mercifully repressed.

  34. “I can’t hear you.”

    “I still can’t hear you!”

    “This is my rifle. This is my gun.”

  35. Really, Jennifer? You can’t remember his name? That is so interesting.

  36. And when you’re talking about women locked in brothels and raped hundreds of times over the course of several months, a weaselly passive-voice “sorry they were placed in that circumstance” is almost more insulting than saying nothing.

    And what, exactly, did the current Japanese government have to do with this? The people who need to apologize are dead or on senility drugs.

    The Japan that committed the crimes was a monarchy flying the Rising Sun, which we unceremoniously dispatched with a couple of nukes.

    Maybe Hirohito’s grandchildren ought to be the one’s apologizing.

  37. If I had a choice between being conscripted into the Japanese army, or being forced to be a sex slave, I would choose the sex slave thing.

    Doesn’t make it right, but does put the whole thing in a more realistic perspective.

  38. Pro Libertate | May 1, 2007, 12:16pm | #

    jimmydageek,

    Right. You win the Stanley for this thread…

    *sniff* Ahem, first, I’d like to thank the H&R for such thought provoking posts. I’d like to thank my fans, few as they may be, for supporting me all these years. I’d like to thank the Great URKOBOLD for teaching me all of life’s greatest lessons…

  39. jb | May 1, 2007, 12:06pm | #

    Gilmore: Afghans from Afghanistan, Uzbeks from Uzbekistan, Turkmen from Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhs from Kazakhstan…

    As ironic as it is, I don’t think Bush can be faulted for following this pattern and not knowing British derogatory slang

    I’m sorry = you’re assuming Bush knew what those countries even WERE, and was following some form of logic.

    Remember in 2000 when the journalist asked him the NAME of Musharref, and he had no clue? While he was running for president?

    Also, for fucks sake, he was trying to defuse a potential nuclear engagement between pakistan and india… You’d think he’d have had better handling from his people to maybe avoid referring to them in insulting terms.

  40. Remember in 2000 when the journalist asked him the NAME of Musharref, and he had no clue? While he was running for president?

    That was just a few months before he was asked about Taiwan and had to tell the reporter twice that we would do whatever it takes to defend them.

    So what?

  41. And what, exactly, did the current Japanese government have to do with this? The people who need to apologize are dead or on senility drugs.

    Nonetheless, the current Japanese government still needs to accept responsibility for what its predecessors did, rather than dilly-dally and pussy-foot around the topic until every last one of its institutionalized rape victims is dead.

  42. The Japan that committed the crimes was a monarchy flying the Rising Sun, which we unceremoniously dispatched with a couple of nukes.

    And tens of thousands of Allied troops, alive, wounded and dead.

  43. Jennifer,

    I would like to apologize for the weakness of our apologies.

  44. I’m curious about something, TWC: a few of those women are still alive today. Very few, no doubt, but some. Since you think the current Japanese government bears no responsibility for crimes of hepast, who should be held responsible* if these women were to sue for damages? Or should the women just suck it up because shit happens and the government which shoveled it onto them no longer exists?

    *Responsible in a civil case; I’m not saying that the current prime minister of Japan should go to prison for rape or anything.

  45. “hepast” = “the past.” The space bar on this keyboard is all messed up.

  46. Guy Montag | May 1, 2007, 12:41pm | #

    So what?

    So what?

    The guy is a shithead, so what.

    Please, run around and find some compensatory areas of his genius, and we’ll all happily change our minds. Until then, I’ll just see you as holding your hands over your ears, going “nya nya nya More American than You nya nya nya”

    Bush bashing isnt even bush bashing. Even if the guy had policy ideas, he’s a total fucking boob and couldnt run a 7-11 franchise much less the US Govt.

  47. the current Japanese government still needs to accept responsibility for what its predecessors did

    I have a hard time with that because it involves accepting responsibility for something that you don’t/didn’t have any control over.

    I do not have a hard time with a public recognition of what was done, why it was wrong, and a promise that something like that could not and would not be allowed to happen ever again.

    What approach would be acceptable to you?

  48. Urkobold tips his hat to GILMORE.

  49. “Really, Jennifer? You can’t remember his name? That is so interesting.”

    Oh, c’mon, edward, don’t be all in a snit just because Jennifer never called for a second date.

  50. who should be held responsible

    Who should be responsible to compensate the families of the war dead that resulted from Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the five years or war that followed?

    Sometimes, people are just out of luck.

    Further, if you compensate these women today, you are actually punishing Japanese civilians (taxpayers) most of whom were not even born at the time these women were incarcerated and raped.

    Essentially, by attempting to right the wrong you perpetuate the wrong and pass it on to others who collectively and individually had nothing to do with it. A clear case of punishing the innocent.

  51. I have a hard time with that because it involves accepting responsibility for something that you don’t/didn’t have any control over

    When the women started complaining, it was right after the war and the people responsible had been allowed to accept plum positions in the (very deeply connected to the government) business world; rather than punishing those responsible the postwar government decided to deny everything and wait for those involved to die out. They’re guilty of conspiracy if nothing else.

    Besides that, admitting what happened and paying damages should have been one of the postwar government’s first actions, admitting what they did wrong. They refused.

  52. And tens of thousands of Allied troops, alive, wounded and dead.

    Better 10,000 enemy civilians dead than 10,000 US soldiers dead. That is the principle at stake here, eh, Montag.

  53. Wondering out loud. What would our College Republicans think?

    hmmm.

    Death by Snu Snu! hier

  54. Urkobold dated a few of those ladies.

    WOWEE!

  55. ja ja. dat eksplainz a lot… ja ja.

  56. Wouldn’t that come across as a bit of a diss to the Japanese President?

    Oh, I suppose it might, if Japan had a president.

  57. Japanese? It was the *Germans* who bombed Pearl Harbor!

  58. Abdul: There are no Vegas brothels, at least no legal ones, since Clark County does not allow legal prostitution.

  59. What Bush should have said:

    Thank you, Prime Minister Ginzu – by the way, Laura loves your knives. Let me just say in response to your apology that ‘All Your Sex Slave Are Belong to Us.’ No, no, that’s just a little hip internet humor I learned from the twins one night when we were doing tequila shooters in the Lincoln Bedroom. Seriously, though, on behalf of my fellow sex slaves everywhere, I accept your apology and especially your promise that all sexual slavery in Japan will be abstinence based in the future. I also appreciate your not releasing a list of the U.S. clients of your World War II sex slaves like that blabbermouth Deborah Jeane Palfrey, or Mistress Debbie, as Dick Cheney likes to call her. But slavery and sex are only two of the many things we have in common. Let me conclude by saying again what I said back in 2002, For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. I thank you.

  60. Jennifer,

    When I saw it in the theater, this one guy cackled and giggled through the whole damn thing. Peals of laughter when D’Onofrio [spoiler alert] blows his head off. He was chuckling while the little Vietnamese girl [spoiler alert] drowns in her own blood at the end. He was on a date. I hope that wasn’t you.

  61. Actually, Japan did apologize directly to the Japanese comfort women and has set up an agency to compensate them for those actions. If you were a sex worker for Japan during that time, they’ll give you something like $17,000. Very few women have come forward to take the offer. Many of them feel that they were partially responsible for their circumstances. Many feel that they were doing what they had to do to survive, and don’t need an apology for the sex work, they may need an apology for a government that plunges its citizens into a war that they admitted was unwinnable if the US entered.

  62. OK, that’s worse than the woman who kept cackling during the death scenes in Serenity

  63. Jennifer

    The reason many former sex slaves want an apology from Shinzo specifically are his actions since he took office. Both his predacessor Koizumi and the Diet of 1990 issued statements apologizing to the former sex slaves and saying that “Japan bore direct responsibility” for what happened. When Shinzo took office one of the first actions he took was to have the Diet’s resolution repealed and stated that he disagreed with Koizumi on the issue.

    In this context his apology is virtually meaningless. It is like a murderer saying to a family after confessing his crime in court,

    “Sorry that you don’t have a father anymore, but I lied in court and actually didn’t kill him, hope that makes you feel better.”

    The real reason Shinzo is issuing this apology to the president is that the House of Reps. is considering a non-binding resolution introduced by the Hawaii and California delegations demanding that Japan take back responsibility for its actions and make a real apology. Don’t know why he went to the president though, he doesn’t have the power to veto non-binding resolutions.

  64. I miss Koizumi, the rock star prime minister.

  65. A country full of people whose grandparents were incinerated in their homes or flew planes into ships in the name of a God That Wasn’t probably don’t care that much about apologizing to a relative handful of abused foreigners. Shinzo Abe gains nothing politically by becoming a Master Apologist.

  66. As for Bush’s comment, his inarticulateness becomes somewhat less amusing after example number 1,537,429.

  67. It made the news a few days ago: during our occupation of Japan the Japanese set up brothels for the benefit of American soldiers.

    Here’s the story from CNN, via the AP, for those who missed it.

    A couple relevant paragraphs for those too busy (or lazy!) to click the link:

    An Associated Press review of historical documents and records — some never before translated into English — shows American authorities permitted the official brothel system to operate despite internal reports that women were being coerced into prostitution. The Americans also had full knowledge by then of Japan’s atrocious treatment of women in countries across Asia that it conquered during the war.

    . . .

    A December 6, 1945, memorandum from Lt. Col. Hugh McDonald, a senior officer with the Public Health and Welfare Division of the occupation’s General Headquarters, shows U.S. occupation forces were aware the Japanese comfort women were often coerced.

    “The girl is impressed into contracting by the desperate financial straits of her parents and their urging, occasionally supplemented by her willingness to make such a sacrifice to help her family,” he wrote. “It is the belief of our informants, however, that in urban districts the practice of enslaving girls, while much less prevalent than in the past, still exists.”

  68. Besides that, admitting what happened and paying damages should have been one of the postwar government’s first actions, admitting what they did wrong. They refused.

    Shem, the appropriate answer is not to force modern day taxpaying citizens of Japan to cover the costs of something they had no control over, no say in, & no vote on.

  69. Very few women have come forward to take the offer. Many of them feel that they were partially responsible for their circumstances. Many feel that they were doing what they had to do to survive, and don’t need an apology for the sex work, they may need an apology for a government that plunges its citizens into a war that they admitted was unwinnable if the US entered.

    That’s not why they’ve refused at all. They refuse because the fund is provided by private donors rather than the Japanese government itself, which they feel is an attempt to avoid taking full responsibility for Japanese culpability.

  70. TWC,

    When does that amnesty kick in? What about 90-year-old men who supported the comfort-women policy in 1945, when they were 28? What about a corporation that commits an offense a week before I buy stock in it? Seems to me that countries and companies have a continuity of existence and remain liable for the harms they’ve committed, however long in the past — at least morally liable.

  71. TWC, by your argument it sounds like governments can do damn near anything they please, and only have to pay for it if the current cabinet members and heads of state were the ones directly responsible for whatever atrocities were committed.

  72. No Jennifer, that isn’t what I’m saying, but it sounds like what you are saying is that anyone who is harmed at time has a claim against anyone they can find. Why don’t you write those women a check and apologize? After all, you are just as responsible as the Japanese citizens you expect to stand tall and pony up the reparations for something they had absolutely nothing to do with.

  73. Alt-shem, I don’t know when the amnesty kicks in, but there is a reason why Western Civilization has a Statute of Limitations for criminal and civil behavior.

    What is so difficult to understand about the fact that the Japanese civilians alive today had NOTHING to do with the war time atrocities that occured under a vanquished government that does not exist any longer?

    Why do you think people yet unborn should bear the cost for harm done to people they do not know by a government they did not elect?

    Why?

  74. Edit:

    Why do you think people THAT WERE YET TO BE BORN should bear the cost for harm done to people they do not know by a government they did not elect?

  75. Sorry, Alt-Shelby. Wrong name. The Dale Carnegie lesson about names didn’t take well.

  76. TWC,

    I didn’t hear that the sex slaves weren’t asking for money or an apology from Abe for the war crimes of the past. What they were pissed about was that Shinzo repealed the from the Diet’s record both the apology signed by the surviving actual offenders (circa 1990)for the comfort women and then proceeded to state that they shared responsibility for what happened to them.

    In addition the fund for the survivors was set up by the offenders themselves and their families, it wasn’t done on the Japanese taxpayers’ dime.

    The problem with Shinzo is that he is asking for forgiveness while denying culpability for telling victims of rape that it was their fault it happened.

    It’s like telling a rape victim it is their fault for wearing sexy clothes and then wondering why they are upset. “Why are you so torn up about it, didn’t they use lube?”

    If he had any semblance of manhood he would restore to public record the apology of the retired army officials and state that the modern Japanese government neither condones or denies the actions of individuals taking orders from the last, now defunct, government.

    As of now he is basically denying the incident ever happened, destroying evidence to the contrary, blaming the victims, and then wondering why everyone is pissed off.

  77. tlxtftrf,

    I understand the point you are making and why people are angry.

    This is what I said earlier….

    I do not have a hard time with a public recognition of what was done, why it was wrong, and a promise that something like that could not and would not be allowed to happen ever again.

    You are correct, Shinzo Abe should be a man about it, but being a man doesn’t include forcing (libertarians take note of the word force) Japanese citizens to make restitution for something they had nothing to do with.

    Secondarily, if you insist that the Japanese government of today (and by extension, the Japanese people) is liable for the plight of the Comfort Women, then you must also hold them liable for the maimed and dead Americans who fought for five long years because the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor.

    To do otherwise is morally indefensible.

    Shem asked where the amnesty kicks in. I want to know why the amnesty is selective.

  78. My comment:
    TWC, by your argument it sounds like governments can do damn near anything they please, and only have to pay for it if the current cabinet members and heads of state were the ones directly responsible for whatever atrocities were committed.

    Response:
    No Jennifer, that isn’t what I’m saying, but it sounds like what you are saying is that anyone who is harmed at time has a claim against anyone they can find.

    Then what are you saying? Japan owes nothing to anybody over this?

    If we get a Democrat in the White House next election, combined with a Democratic controlled Congress, one could say that the US government of 2009 was NOT the Republican US government who trashed Iraq from 2003 to the present, and therefore after 2009 the US owes Iraq absolutely nothing. Nor would the US government of 2009 owe anything to those people in Gitmo who are undeniably innocent.

    I doubt that is what you’d actually argue, but it sounds like it to me.

  79. The post-war Japanese government hasn’t really owned up to a lot of the things done under the militarist government. Given that they kept Hirohito, there’s some continuity of blame there, so I don’t see much wrong with saying, “Hey, we acknowledge that these wrong acts were done by this nation’s government. We deeply regret that these things happen, and we apologize to those who were harmed.” Everyone understands that a 20-something Japanese taxpayer had nothing to do with it, but it does mean that they don’t approve of it, or dismiss it.

    I had a similar reaction when visiting the Yasukini shrine, which enshrines the kami of Japan’s war dead, including Tojo. My friend who was guiding us around the place said that the huge steel Tori gates were replacements, as the original steel Tori gates had been melted to proved war materiel during WWII. My comment was “Yeah, because they really needed that steel at the bottom of the ocean.” I’d have been more charitable if they’d not considered being hung for war crimes as ‘dying for the emperor’.

  80. Jennifer, I do not believe that compelling innocent people to make restitution for something they had nothing to do with is moral. Doesn’t matter whether it is slave reparations, the 20 grand my buddy Aki got for being locked up in the camps, or raising your taxes to compensate the victims of the Iraqi invasion that you did not approve of or vote for. In fact, you vocally made your opinions known at the time as I recall. Why should you be taxed to compensate anyone who was a victim of a war policy that you rejected from the beginning?

    On the flip side of that coin, if you agree that the Japanese government is morally responsible to compensate these women for the horrors that were visited upon them, I would assert that the Japanese government is also morally responsible to compensate every American family whose lives were visited with death, maiming, destruction, deprivation, and disruption for the duration of the war that was begun by the Japanese government with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

  81. Lunch,

    so I don’t see much wrong with saying, “Hey, we acknowledge that these wrong acts were done by this nation’s government. We deeply regret that these things happen, and we apologize to those who were harmed.”

    Nor do I, and I said so. Twice.

    Everyone understands that a 20-something Japanese taxpayer had nothing to do with it, but it does mean that they don’t approve of it, or dismiss it.

    I’m not clear with that, are you saying that most Japanese approve of or dismiss the issue of the Comfort Women?

    I’m not so sure that everyone understands. Based on the foregoing comments, if they do understand, they don’t seem to much care, which is hardly a moral or libertarian position to take.

    It all boils down to two wrongs don’t make a right.

  82. If we get a Democrat in the White House next election, combined with a Democratic controlled Congress, one could say that the US government of 2009 was NOT the Republican US government who trashed Iraq from 2003 to the present,….

    Sure, Jennifer, but it is still the same government, because it is still under the same charter, the US Constitution. In fact, if we are supposed to be living under a “government of laws rather than one of men”, one could argue that the constitution is the government of the United States. In the case of Japan it doesn’t even have the same form of government that it had prior to WWII.

  83. I meant prior to the end of WWII and the occupation. (sorry)

  84. TWC.

    I’m not on the list of those arguing for reparations.

    My comments are only tangentially related to you and Jennifer.

    I’d just as soon see the US government apologize for Wounded Knee (if we haven’t already). I believe that we have done so for the Japanese Internment, and for slavery. I’d like to see states like South Carolina apologize for Jim Crow and segregation. I’m not a fan of reparations, except in the immediate aftermath (maybe 20 to 50 years at most). If individual organizations can be identified who have benefited materially and demonstrably from some war crime (slave labor, theft of property, etc) such as Daimler Benz and Volkswagen in the ’90s, then I don’t think its wholly inappropriate for reparations to be made.

    Dave

  85. Lunch, thanks for the clarification.

  86. if you agree that the Japanese government is morally responsible to compensate these women for the horrors that were visited upon them, I would assert that the Japanese government is also morally responsible to compensate every American family whose lives were visited with death, maiming, destruction, deprivation, and disruption for the duration of the war that was begun by the Japanese government with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    Except that after we won the war, we had the right to dictate terms of surrender and could have made any reparations claims we wanted to. The comfort women had no such option.

    Smartass–
    Point taken.

  87. How come SASOB gets the point conceded and I don’t? 🙂

    Except that after we won the war, we had the right to dictate terms of surrender and could have made any reparations claims we wanted to.

    True enough, but it doesn’t change the morality issue.

  88. Lunch, just a point of clarification…

    Based on the foregoing comments…

    Not your foregoing comments, the comments throughout the thread made by several different people.

  89. “If individual organizations can be identified who have benefited materially and demonstrably from some war crime (slave labor, theft of property, etc) such as Daimler Benz and Volkswagen in the ’90s, then I don’t think its wholly inappropriate for reparations to be made. ”
    Did I read somewhere in my travels that General Motors was compensated millions from the U.S. govt after WW 2 for the factories they lost to allied bombs in Germany? Factories that were producing vehicles for the nazis?

  90. TWC, it still seems to me that your argument boils down to “don’t make governments pay compensation for wrongdoing because it’s the taxpayers who get hurt.”

    How come SASOB gets the point conceded and I don’t?

    Because he regularly makes funny comments on my blog, and I just love guys who do that. I’m quite forgiving when my legs get all rubbery, alas.

  91. The problem (one of the problems) of surrogate agency on behalf of the unconsulted (= gummit) is that aggrieved victims of state aggression have no recourse other to hold malfeasers’ innocent heirs accountable for their predecessors’ debts.

    I guess all citizens of any particular society must hope that those debts will be outweighed by credits to which they arrived too late to contribute as well. And that hope seems to be what we call the social contract.

    As to why Honest Abe apologized to Mr. Bush, can anyone offer a better explanation than that any sitting US President is now viewed as the King of the World? One-stop shopping, how convenient.

  92. Because he regularly makes funny comments on my blog, and I just love guys who do that. I’m quite forgiving when my legs get all rubbery, alas.

    Aw, I’d bet you got real nice legs, Jennifer, you having been a dancer at one time. 🙂

  93. “What they were pissed about was that Shinzo repealed the from the Diet’s record both the apology signed by the surviving actual offenders (circa 1990)for the comfort women and then proceeded to state that they shared responsibility for what happened to them.”

    Wait, there’s *already* been an apology, and the Diet then tried to un-apologize? They apologized for the apology? Where can a lazy person look up this information?

  94. Mad Max

    The apologies were called the Kono Statements
    I have compiled a list of links to them here.
    http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/women/fund/state9308.html
    http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/women/fund/state9308.html

    I was wrong that the Diet wanted to take them back, the proposal by Abe was instead to revise the statement to remove any reference to the Japanese government or military and place the blame entirely on the private contractors.

    A history of Abe’s statements and attempted revisions are here.
    http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:j1WnT0sGKucJ:japanfocus.org/data/CRS%2520Comfort%2520Women%25203%2520Apr%252007.pdf+Proposed+revisions+of+the+Kono+statement&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us&client=firefox-a

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