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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

November 9, 2005

Written by C.N.

Marines on Okinawa Reduced by Half

As many news organizations like CNN are reporting, the Pentagon has just announced that, in consideration of constant opposition by native Okinawans, it will eventually cut the number of Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa by half in the next six years:

The announcement from the Pentagon came Saturday and stated that the United States and Japan had agreed to shift 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam during the next six years. . . . Local residents have held widespread protests periodically during the past decade in response to U.S. military personnel committing crimes.

Protests boiled over in 1995 after three American servicemen were found guilty of raping an Okinawan schoolgirl. Since 1995, U.S. service members have been convicted at least five times on sexual assault charges. An airman was convicted of rape in 2002. In July, Okinawa police in July charged another U.S. airman following the molestation of a 10-year-old girl in a parking lot. Sgt. Armando Valdez, 27, later pleaded guilty.

The Pentagon apparently is trying to portray this as a shift in strategy, all part of an ever-evolving plan to respond to changing geo-military conditions around the world. But make no mistake about it — this is also a capitulation by the Pentagon to the overwhelming anti-American hostility and hatred that they have brought upon themselves by the criminal actions of some of their soldiers.

Why does it seem that almost everywhere the U.S. military tries to set up a semi-permanent presence — and in the process try to win over local inhabitants — they always shoot themselves in the foot by committing criminal acts and atrocities against these very same local inhabitants, thereby squandering any goodwill they’re trying to build and ultimately leading to overwhelming opposition to their presence?

This happened in Viet Nam, is happening in Iraq, and as this story shows, has happened too many times on Okinawa. As the cliche goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same . . .

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Marines on Okinawa Reduced by Half" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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