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Some Ways We Could Offend The Japanese Even More Than We Already Have.

By Max Burbank
3/1/01

By now you’re all probably quite familiar with the story of how on February 9 the U.S.S. Greenville struck the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru, sinking it and killing 9 people, most of them teenage students. You’ve probably also heard at this point that civilians were at the controls of the sub at the time, and you may have wondered just how Joe Six-pack gets aboard a highly classified naval vessel or even ‘hey, now, how do I gits me that gig?’. You might also have been puzzled as to how one of the most technologically advanced pieces of hardware ever to exist could have been unaware a whole entire ship was above them when they came up. Knowing where other ships are is, I presume, the second most important function of our submarine fleet, the first obviously being a difficult to locate launching platform for initiating the total destruction of all life on earth.

The sinking of their teaching vessel is painful enough to bear for the Japanese, a culture more concerned with Honor and Face than say, us. It gets even better as you keep digging, though. America has a proud and lengthy tradition of adding insult to injury, if by ‘insult’ one means not giving a little tin crap and making sure to show it and by ‘injury’ the brutal if sometimes unintentional maiming and slaughter of foreign nationals. We bomb the wrong building here, blow open an airliner and dump the dump the lifeless passengers out over eight or nine miles of turbulent sea, hey, c’mon, we’re a superpower, when we shrug people die. Screw ‘em. But this particular incident really raises the bar on carving open an Ally and then hunkering down and rubbing a few handfuls of rock salt in the open wound.

There were civilians at the controls because this was a fund raising junket. The event was organized by retired Admiral Richard Macke. Admiral Macke ‘retired’ a wee bit earlier than he’d originally intended, at the Navy’s request. It was over a little gaff he made while the senior most officer in, oh, where was it, Japan. It seems a couple of U.S. servicemen abducted and raped a twelve year old Okinowan girl. Macke sensitively (and publicly) suggested that in the future our enlisted men instead avail themselves of local prostitutes.

Now that seems like plenty, but to make for the personal best this incident has become, there’s more. If this tragedy resulted from a totally unnecessary rapid surfacing designed to entertain guests at a fund-raiser, just what were we raising funds for? Several of the civilians on board the sub at the time were heavy contributors to a pet cause of Admiral Macke’s, the restoration of the U.S.S. Missouri. If you’re old or you dig the History channel, you’ll recognize the Missouri as the World War II battleship on which one of the nations we were fighting with finally surrendered. I believe it was shortly after instead of showing them we had nuclear capability by blowing up some uninhabited island, we vaporized a whole bunch of men, women and children and gave those that survived some nice Cancer. Now I could be wrong here, I wasn’t always first in my class, but if memory serves the nation in question was Japan.

The question ‘how can we avoid this sort of thing in the future?’ is, at it’s core, un-American. We’re number one, the leader of the free world. Like the school yard bully who ruled recess, we need to constantly remind the world of our role. This cannot be accomplished solely through violence. Ritual humiliation is called for. I’d say we’ve done pretty well here, but foreigners and voters have notoriously short memories, news cycles are fast and we need to be prepared for next week. After all, this isn’t like when we ‘accidentally’ bombed the Chinese embassy because of ‘old’ maps. They owed us a favor. Remember that little misunderstanding in Tianamen Square? The one where all those kids ‘misunderstood’ about staying alive with a whole bunch of bullets in them and so ended up dead? Hell, former Kissinger Catamite and Casper the Friendly Ghost lookalike Brent Scrowcroft couldn’t get to China fast enough to toast their leadership and reassure them that whatever he might say about ‘human rights’ to the world press, Bush the elder was talking in code. The thing to understand is, see, we hardly think of Chinese teenagers as ‘humans’.

So, as an academic exercise, and in the hopes that our nation will be adequately prepared to exceed the admittedly impressive abuses of this most recent international debacle, I’ve come up with a few ways we could have debased the Japanese more. Who knows, by the time this sees print, some of these things may already have happened.

Now that we’ve found the Ehime Maru, we could drag it the hundred miles or so to Pearl Harbor and float a bouie over it with the inscription “Don’t turn your back on the U.S.A.... Payback never ends!” We could get old Dubya to tell that joke that ends ‘rooky, rooky, balls on hooky’ during his weekly radio address. We could get him to do that thing where you pull the corners of your eyes up and down and say “Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, Lookit these” during his first press conference should he ever have one.

Or maybe we should forget all about classically subtle American wit and just Nuke ‘em again. I mean, after all. We showed them what one of our subs could do without firing a single weapon and they’re still whining.
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