Sunday, December 07, 2008

Shame on Pearl Harbor Day 2008

Shame on Pearl Harbor Day 2008

By Walter Haan,

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 67 years ago led to the shame of the US Government in its treatment of POWs of the early days of the Pacific War. The Japanese attacked the Philippines the day after their attack on Pearl Harbor and that resulted in our loss of the Philippines, then a US dependency, the surrender of all US troops in the Philippines by May 12, 1942, the Bataan Death March and Japanese treatment of US captives as slaves working in Japanese steel mills and other war plants.

Leaders of the ADBC, the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, traveled to Washington, DC in September to make a last ditch plea to senators to cosponsor or support Senate Amendment 5303 to S. 3001 (Defense Authorization Act). It authorized $20,000 compensation for the remaining survivors or their widows of those who were interned in Japanese POW camps during World War II. They contacted Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who agreed to cosponsor Senate Amendment 5303. They also contacted Senators Bunning (KY), Menedez (NJ), Byrd (WV) Senate President Reid (NV) and Rockefeller (WV), all of whom expressed interest in righting this injustice. However, their final effort appears to be dead, just as all of the efforts to obtain compensation for our POW veterans of World War II have been killed.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) objected to the bill because it included earmarks he did not support and the bill ultimately passed with only three amendments to an authorization measure that typically has dozens of them. The amendment supporting the $20,000 payments to our POWs of the Japanese was among those removed and the appropriations bill passed 88 to 8.

Every other Allied nation of World War II has compensated its POWs of the Japanese. That includes Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. They did it because the Japanese wouldn’t. But the USA is quietly waiting for all of its POWs of the Japanese to die which will make the matter to go away. Those POWs are now in their 80s and 90s. It won’t be long now. Shame on us.

The movie poster shown here with this posting was advertising the very first movie to use the Japanese attack as promotion for a film. The movie was released by Republic Pictures in May 1942. Copyright 2008 by Walter Haan,


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