Matt Cunningham's Red County/OC Blog has an interesting post today on legislation backed by Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) that would require present-day U.S. taxpayers to pay reparations to World War II residents of Guam.
It's not that our citizens or soldiers have ever done anything wrong to Guam. In fact, American soldiers—funded by U.S. taxpayers in the 1940s—gave their lives or limbs to remove the brutal Japanese military from their island. We could also note the U.S. role at the time in bringing freedom around the globe when fascists and Nazis roamed.
But Sanchez and other politicians in both major political parties say it is our responsibility to pay something in the neighborhood of $125 million in federal tax dollars to Guam residents. Why? To rectify Japanese acts of inhumanity during a war that ended six decades ago.
The Bush White House is apparently onboard. How do we know? In 2003, it put former Guam Speaker Antonio Unpingco and former Guam Supreme Court Justice Benjamin J. Cruz on the Guam War Claims Review Commission. That body wants to decide how much U.S. taxpayers will pay for the nearly three-year Japanese occupation of the island that began on Dec. 8, 1941, and ended when American soldiers liberated the place on July 22, 1944.
I'm elated but not surprised the people of Guam resisted the Japanese. The invaders weren't, well, pleasant folks. You could casually compare them to certain police forces in Orange County. Hello, Huntington Beach PD!
Nevertheless, I'm not demanding the people of Guam repay American taxpayers for the high costs of freeing their island. Or even that we force the current emperor of Japan to pay for his family's criminal acts. It was, I'm quite sure, his direct descendent who okayed the Japanese portion of the insanity of WWII. And, despite this disgrace, he was allowed to keep not only his crown but also his billions of dollars. Hirohito's son, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito, runs the palace today.
Yo, dude, show some class. You make the payment to Guam. And then apologize for gruesome acts committed in your family's name. Oh, and add some Gambino Family-like interest to the payment.
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How rude of me, right?
Like Cunningham, I'm puzzled that present-day U.S. politicians think the 10,122 American soldiers who gave their lives or limbs to free Guam from those very acts of Japanese inhumanity now think this country hasn't sacrificed enough.
I'm sickened by the disgraceful—even if unintended—slap at the service and memory of those WWII soliders.
Loretta, what were you thinking?