Friday, April 27, 2012

Is Japan Doomed? USA Moves Marines out of Okinawa!

Break out the wine glasses... Some US military are finally leaving Japan!

People have been so indoctrinated by bad information and state-run education that they take completely false premises as gospel truth. A very common example is the ridiculous notion that "War is good for the economy" or "disasters are good for the economy" because they cause us to rebuild and that  creates jobs. Folks, building stuff and blowing it up or repairing destroyed property is not good for the economy. 

If disasters, like say, Katrina or the March 11 earthquake and tsunami (and subsequent nuclear disaster) were good for the economy then why don't we just bulldoze the entire country (including your house) underground and rebuild it... We'll be rich!

It's pretty obvious, if you think about it that way, why this notion is completely false. Read more about that in the "Broken Window Fallacy" here. 

Some other dumb ideas are idea is that the government creates jobs. No, it doesn't. The government destroys wealth. It takes money from the productive part of society and gives it to the non-productive part of society. For example; the military. Sure, people in the military get paid and can call it a "job" but they don't give or create wealth in any way shape or form. Yours and my taxes pay their salaries. They don't contribute to the economy at all.

And while we're on the subject of the military, (and the US military is not unique in this case), wherever the military goes, bad things follow... A military base is a scourge for the local population. I am not one against prostitution, but, it is a fact of life that one of the main businesses around military bases is nightlife and adult entertainment.

It's been that way since the days of the Roman empire.

Lew Rockwell wrote about military bases in Slouching Towards Statism:

Young people are put in distant places where they face no supervision from family or an organic community. They have little work to do and an abundance of discretionary income. Their housing, food, medical care, and clothing are provided at no charge by the government. Nobody need plan, for example, to come up with next month's rent.

The grayness and regimentation of the military base masks a deep debasement. Illegal drug use is rampant, on and off the base, and has long involved more than half of the enlisted men (recent declines in reported drug use measure only a rise in dishonesty). Alcoholism is more than double civilian levels. Tattooing is normal, gambling is rampant, and in its discount stores, the U.S. military is the biggest purveyor of pornography in the world.

Go to any military base in the country and look at the kinds of outlying enterprises taxpayers unwittingly support. Once-nice communities have been turned into magnets for nude dancing, prostitution, and every manner of sexual profiteering.

Look at Georgia's Fort Benning. Apart from the military, the area is populated by traditional people with traditional morals. Yet along the main drag you pass dozens of brightly lit sex parlors, an alarming sight in the Deep South. The military here is a cultural cancer that lives off the taxpayer. It's no surprise that the military is riddled with sexual abuse: in their off-hours, these guys are feeding our tax dollars to naked performers. It reflects the absence of chivalry inherent in all government operations.

Other businesses popular around military bases are pawn shops and the sort of car dealers that cater to people who don't pay their debts. That reflects another dirty secret of the military: live-for-the-moment attitudes and bad credit are typical, as in any welfare culture.

Like I said, it's not just the US military that is this way. It is the way of all imperial powers and their militaries. To think that a foreign military occupation is a boon to the local society or economy is to selectively view a small slice of the issue. 

While I go off on a tangent about the military, let me talk about the US military in Japan. Another really ridiculous idea is that if the USA closes military bases in Japan, then the Chinese will invade Japan and occupy it. Ha! That's funny! 

Hold that thought and let me get back to it in a moment.... But first some news; Folks, Japan is an occupied country right now and at this very moment! The USA occupies it. 

Anyone who thinks the USA is a benevolent country that fights wars to protect the rights of poor people and the disadvantaged and isn't interested in building an empire just hasn't been paying attention over these last, oh, 150 years. If the USA weren't interested in building empires (wars for resources, etc.) then the USA wouldn't have troops in over 130 countries, including Japan and they'd be long gone from Iraq (remember, "In and out in four weeks"?)

In spite of what the US government says, and is taught in school, to repeat; Japan is an occupied country.

Still don't believe me? Did you know that the US military enforces a "No Fly Zone" over some areas of the main island of Japan? Yep... Just like the USA did in Iraq and Libya. For example, for over the last 30 years Japan has been begging the United States to give her back the airspace above and around areas of Tokyo. Here is an extract from an article entitled U.S. to return part of Yokota airspace that appeared in the Japan Times on March 12, 2006:

"The United States has basically agreed to return part of the airspace over Yokota Air Base in Tokyo as part of the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan, informed sources said Saturday.

"The basic agreement is expected to alleviate the overcrowding caused by the 470 commercial flights that must take detours around the so-called ‘Yokota RAPCON (Radar Approach Control)' area each day.

"The Yokota RAPCON covers the airspace above Tokyo and eight prefectures — Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Niigata, Nagano and Shizuoka. The military airspace is 7,000 meters high at its northern part and 3,700 to 5,500 meters in its southern part near Tokyo.

"Flights bound for western regions, such as Chugoku and Kyushu, have to ascend to avoid entering the banned airspace, while flights originating from those regions must make a detour south of Yokota, according to the transport ministry.

"The agreement, however, will effectively shelve Japan's request for the complete return of the airspace, which it has been seeking since the 1980s."

For decades, Japan has also been trying to get US military bases off Okinawa where there has been much animosity between the locals and the military due to cases of US military crimes that included murder of locals and the rape of children and just generally raising hell. As CRI English reports:

The whole dispute roots in the 1995 kidnapping and rape of a schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen in Okinawa. Though top U. S. government officials publicly apologized for the crime, tensions continued to grow on the island.

While I disagree with the above quote as being too simplistic, it was a symptom of the larger problem. These sorts of things used to happened far too much on Okinawa.. They haven't happened in the last few years because US military personnel are restricted to base.

But, now, there's been some good news that Marines are being moved off of Okinawa. From Japan Today: U.S. to move 9,000 Marines from Okinawa; no change to Futenma plan

The United States is to shift 9,000 Marines out of Japan in a move Washington hopes will ease sometimes fractious relations with its ally over a huge American military presence.

The redeployment, which will see troops moved to Guam, Hawaii and Australia, will go ahead regardless of any progress on the moving of a busy airbase on Okinawa that had originally been a key plank of a deal with the U.S.

In a joint statement issued in Washington and Tokyo, the two sides said they remained committed to the relocation of the Futenma base from its present urban location to a coastal spot—a move that is heavily resisted in Okinawa.

The two governments “reconfirmed their view that (this) remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date,” the statement said.

This is good news as having US troops on Japanese soil is not good for Japan at all. Hopefully we can get rid of all US troops on Japan in the near future. 

That being said, though, there are a lot of people who have bought into the government story that "US bases are good for the local economy" hook, line and sinker. They think the closing of bases will hurt the local economy (as if the US taxpayer should be paying to support businesses in Okinawa). Or, even worse, they think US troops on Japanese soil have prevented wars in Asia or Japan... Some people even think that the Chinese will move in when the Americans leave.


Japan has a quite large military (#6 in the world on military spending in 2010) as it is, thank you, and can defend herself. The USA being on Japanese soil gets Japan involved as a second-class citizen with her Asian neighbors and that doesn't help anyone. I wrote about that once in the Paradox of Japanese Remilitarization.

Anyway, if the people of Okinawa want the US military off their land, then it is, after all their land. The people get what they want. It's called democracy and it's supposed to work that way.

That's the funny thing about foreign occupation, though... It seems the antithesis of democracy. Occupation, military and politics seem to involve big money changing hands... The desires of the public are third-rate concerns...

For both the good of the Japanese public and the American public, the sooner the USA closes these foreign bases and gets her financial house in order, the better for everyone. The people of the USA cannot afford this empire anymore.

For the Japanese, the sooner they get on even and mutually respectable terms with her Asian neighbors without having to be a little sister behind the skirt of her American big sister, the better for everyone.

The Philippines got rid of their US bases in 1992 and the Chinese haven't invaded them... The Chinese haven't invaded Taiwan, either.... 

Probably the only people who really do want to keep the bases open are local politicians and anyone else who can exploit people and get kickbacks. Don't worry, folks. With or without US bases in Japan... Japan can defend herself; the Chinese aren't coming here anytime soon; and Okinawan businesses will most likely survive as businesses did in the Philippines after the closing of US bases...

No, the people can do better for themselves than servicing the empire. The sooner they start, the better life can be for their children. The USA out of Japan - and every other foreign nation!


Andy "In Japan" said...

From what I hear, the agreement to withdraw troops has already been postponed indefinitely.

It's unlikely the occupation force will be leaving any time soon, and if they do go, they will be replaced by others.

Anonymous said...

No, I did not know they had a no-fly zone over the main island of Japan.

The U.S. sure is focused on Australia a lot lately. A small focus, but a focus none-the-less.
They must anticipate invading China?
Makes sense, what with "everyone" worried about the Chinese attacking the unitedstate, the truth is just the opposite?

- clark

Mr. Nobody said...

Hello Mike,

US defense spending isn't very good for the US, but I believe it does have some benefits for Japan along with others.

For one money is spent in Japan that might otherwise be spent in the US, helping the Japanese economy albeit in a minor way.

For another, the money that is used for "defence" spending in effect tying one arm behind Uncle Sam's back, which otherwise might have been used for making the US more economically competitive. My conjecture is this is one of the main reasons why the JPG seems to want to maintain the status quo.

Governments can create jobs, the question is should they? Sure the government might take money, energy, or personnel that might be used for purposes other than the private sector. I'm generally against this, but not 100%. An example, the British government to a minor degree subsidizes the Church of England. This goes for both the property and the clergy. They might not contribute much economically, but I believe that Britain would be a far worse place without them.

As to the military being a scourge, can you tell me what group of single, young, men, in a foreign country that in aggregate aren't a scourge? It seems to go with the territory, or should I say the testosterone...

As to the complaints from Lew Rockwell, I believe that it is a rather specious argument. One doesn't have to go far in almost any part of the world where one can find similar or frequently worse behaviour. I believe that almost any similar socio-economic group that was separated from love, home, and family, for extended periods of time, exhibits the same behaviour.

What does one consider an occupied country? If Japan is an occupied country, what does that make Germany? A totally overrun and enslaved country? If the JPG at a national, not just a prefecture level, asked the USG to leave, and footed the bill, do you think they would or wouldn't go?

As to what the people of Okinawa want, isn't it a trade off with what the federal government wants? Isn't this more an issue about federalism vs. regionalism? Isn't a democracy an issue of the wishes of the many versus the wishes of the few? Or as I believe Franklin said something along the lines of democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.

Many countries under the US protection seem to be to some degree either happy or indifferent with the arrangement. It may be hurting the US to a great degree economically, but that perversely seems to help many other countries.

If Uncle Same is being bled dry by war racketeers, it makes things so much easier for other countries to win on the business side of things.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Nobody,

You lost me at, "US defense spending ... does have some benefits".

And especially at, "Governments can create jobs"

I'm curious, did you read the link, "Broken Window Fallacy"?

What did you think about it?

Mr. Nobody asked, "can you tell me what group of single, young, men, in a foreign country that in aggregate aren't a scourge?"

Answer: Peaceful ones.

They do exist, I've met them.
Heck, I've been them.

Perhaps you meant, what group of occupiers or conquerors?

Mr. Nobody wrote, "I believe that almost any similar socio-economic group that was separated from love, home, and family, for extended periods of time, exhibits the same behaviour."

Psft, you don't know People much, imho. Whore-mongers are not the norm among all groups.

Mr. Nobody wrote, "Many countries under the US protection seem to be to some degree either happy or indifferent with the arrangement."

Hm, "countries" can not be happy or indifferent, only individuals can be that way.
A mobster is happy if a goberment policy helps him to kill and plunder. Some might call that a good thing. Others, not-so-much.

- clark