Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ron Paul: "Why in the world would somebody think this [new US base in Okinawa] is in America's best interest for national security? I think the attack by Japan is long-time over."

"Why was Defense Secretary Carter in Japan?" - Great US video news discussion/analysis on Okinawa via Daniel McAdams and Ron Paul.  A former US Congressman, Paul, together with former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, notably supported former PM Hatoyama's efforts to close Futenma unconditionally in 2010.

In the same year, American traditional and libertarian conservatives, democracy- and peace-oriented liberals, and progressives initiated a movement called "Come Home America" to challenge the U.S. neocon foreign policy of global expansionism by preemptive wars and military force.

Despite diverse orientations, these foreign policy positions all represent American traditions that have antecedents dating back to the American Revolution.  Peace and noninterventionist adherents from these traditions represented the American mainstream until Dec. 7, 1941, when the military Japanese government's bombing of Pearl Harbor gave President Roosevelt a reason to enter the Second World War.

The first US bases on Okinawa were built during the ground war against Imperial Japan, to bomb Japanese cities, and to prepare for an invasion of the Japanese mainland. After the Japanese military government surrender on August 15, 1945, the US did not close the wartime bases on Okinawa, which were built on land seized from civilians who were put in detention camps during the war.  Instead, the US kept Okinawans in the camps (for up to 2 years) while seizing more private and public property, and building even more bases on them. Futenma is one of the bases that was built during the war. It is now a V-22 Osprey training base.  It is situated in the middle of a city because the base was built on the site of a former village. Some of the land owners relocated to property adjacent to the base to be close to family burial tombs that are now inside the base. During bulldozing, the US military actually destroyed some burial tombs; their remains may be seen sticking out of the fence around the base.

Camp Schwab, which is where the US wants to "relocate" Futenma and build a new military port, over the coral reef and dugong habitat, was built on land that also belongs to Okinawans. The US seized 5,000 acres of private and public lands for the base during the 1950's "Bayonets and Bulldozers" period of massive US base expansion throughout the prefecture.  The U.S. seized entire villages comprising tens of thousands of the best farm and coastal land in Okinawa  displacing 250,000 Okinawans who could only watch as their ancestral homes, farms, tombs, and cultural properties were taken by gunpoint and destroyed by American soldiers. Okinawans who resisted were assaulted and arrested. In Henoko, the Army officer in charge of the land acquisition for Camp Schwab even seized land to build an "entertainment" district of 200 bar/brothels.  The base's Red Light district "Appletown" was named after him.

Excerpts from the Ron Paul-Daniel McAdams discussion on Okinawa:
Ron Paul: Tell us what this is all about.

Daniel McAdams: Well, unfortunately, it's not all about all these troops that have been there since World War II. In fact, it's a celebration of the return of Japanese militarism, ironically. This review of the US-Japanese relationship will allow Japan to be more actively involved in US operations, they say, only in defense of an ally under attack, but... [knowing glance at Ron Paul].

Ron Paul: There are days that I am hopeful the president will be less interventionist and hawkish as the neocon Republicans. But then again, there's always a "good war" to fight, there's chaos in the Middle East, so he says, "I guess we have to ship our interests to the Far East."

I don't think China is too happy about us advancing militarism with Japan, but that remains to be seen. There's still another issue about what we should be doing in Japan. We still have 40,000 troops in Japan. And you know what my position has been for a long time, "Just bring them home..."

There are a lot of Japanese citizens annoyed with this, especially in Okinawa. Didn't we have some visitors in our congressional office dealing with this very subject?

Daniel McAdams: ...we had some fairly high-ranking individuals from the Okinawan government and different citizens' groups. What they're upset about is the US has had this base in the most densely part of Okinawa. You can imagine the noise pollution...So the US-Japan solution is "Okay we will remove this to a more remote part of the island. The problem with that is that this is one of the most pristine nature preserves that the U.S. military's going to take over. They're already drilling into the [live coral reef] seabed and the people who live there do not want this. They are really opposed to this.

Ron Paul: I am sure our government's goal was to announce the military debate that they're having there, but this pops up. This might be the biggest issue going, way bigger than our secretary is talking about.  The [former] governor of Okinawa took the position that he was with the people...then he changed his mind at the last minute and went along with the American government. And what happened? He lost the election.

Daniel McAdams: Exactly. He lost to a challenger who made it his number 1 campaign issue: "I'll fight Washington and Tokyo to prevent the moving of this base and to get rid of the base in the downtown. His name is Onaga and he's enormously popular now. He has an over 80% approval rating...He's a David against a big Goliath.

Ron Paul: It does raise a topic that is generally ignored in all this talk about our troops. People don't like to have them there. Increasing our military relationship with Japan. Why in the world would somebody think this is in America's best interest for national security?

It seems like it costs a little bit of money. We're not going to be attacked by Japan. I think the attack by Japan is long-time over. I don't see any way this can be construed as for national security.

It seems maybe a special interest, say the military-industrial complex. Somebody else might benefit from this. How in the world would the average American taxpayer get any benefit from pursuing this and insisting we change these bases around instead of the very simple solution: Just bring the troops home.

Daniel McAdams:...There was a really funny scene in the State Dept. press briefings. One of the great reporters Matt Lee from the AP always challenges the briefer.

She was complaining how the Russians are always flying planes around in eastern Asia to show us how horrible they were. Then Matt Lee pointed out isn't is true that we're also flying planes around there constantly. And actually increasingly so. It was a comical scene to see her trying to defend this.

Ron Paul: I don't think they're interested in being consistent. If Russia is influencing their neighbor or in the open sea, then all of a sudden, they're the worst people in the world.  Our people don't generally stop and think we're in 150 countries. Our Special Forces are in a lot of these countries; none of this goes well.

They send our defense secretary over there and he's expanding our military cooperation with Japan. There are some hawks in Washington that think China is an enemy. Nixon was not my favorite president, but things changed dramatically with opening the door to China. The odds are so slim that China is going to militarily attack us...

It seems like some of the people who run our foreign policy are obsessed and can't stand  the idea of peace breaking out...

Do you think very many  people knew that our secretary of defense was in Japan negotiating more militarism or do they care about the new air base in Okinawa?

Daniel McAdams: It's unfortunate that you don't see a lot of this reported in the mainstream media in the US.

Ron Paul: ...the point I tried to make was "What if they did it to us? Should we ever do something to somebody else that we wouldn't want them to do to us?" And of course that was blasphemy [to neocons].

I don't think this is a danger spot. It's this subtleness, this moving, this changing things. I'd like them to address the issue of bases in Germany and Japan. I'm afraid when they do, it will be in the midst of the bankruptcy of this country.
Japanese summary/ translation of the Paul-McAdams talk by KM, via I WITNESS OSPREY on FB.

 ロン・ポール元連邦議会下院議員が主催しているメディアで、普天間海兵隊基地の返還問題をとりあげているのをたまたま聴きました。 二人の話をきいていて、こちら(米国)の主要メディアは翁長知事の主張とその根拠(これが大事だとおもいます)を、まだ取り上げていないことをしりました。 どのようにしたら、とりあげさせることができるでしょうか? 参考になるかと思い、紹介してみました。 私は昨年12月に、連邦議会下院のマイク・ホンダ議員の補佐官と話す機会を得たときに、知事選挙での翁長知事の主張をつたえたら、理解して協力してくれるようになりましたよ。

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