From Ch. 10 of Murdering History by Noam Chomsky

2. The Date which will Live in Infamy
As Year 500 opened in October 1991, other memories displaced the coming quincentennial. December 7 would be the 50th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the "date which will live in infamy." Accordingly, Japanese attitudes and practices were subjected to close scrutiny, and found wanting. Some profound defect left the aberrant Japanese unwilling to offer regrets for their nefarious deed.

In an interview in the Washington Post, Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe expressed "deep remorse over the unbearable suffering and sorrow Japan inflicted on the American people and the peoples of Asia and the Pacific during the Pacific War, a war that Japan started by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor." He said that the National Parliament would pass a resolution on the 50th anniversary of the crime, expressing Japan's remorse. But this turned out to be just more
Japanese treachery. Penetrating the disguise, New York Times Tokyo Bureau Chief Steven Weisman revealed that Watanabe had used the word hansei, "which is usually translated as `self-reflection' rather than `remorse'." The statement of the Foreign Minister does not count as authentic apology. Furthermore, Japan's Parliament is unlikely to pass the resolution, he added, in the light of President Bush's firm rejection of any apology for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

No one considers an apology for the 1000-plane raid five days after Nagasaki on what remained of major Japanese cities, a triumph of military management skills designed to be "as big a finale as possible," the official Air Force history relates; even Stormin' Norman would have been impressed. Thousands of civilians were killed, while amidst the bombs, leaflets fluttered down proclaiming: "Your Government has surrendered. The war is over." General Spaatz wanted to use the third atom bomb on Tokyo for this grand finale, but concluded that further devastation of the "battered city" would not make the intended point. Tokyo had been removed from the first list of targets for the same reason: it was "practically rubble," analysts determined, so that the power of the bomb would not be adequately revealed. The final 1000-plane raid was therefore dispersed to seven targets, the Air Force history adds.2

Some went beyond George Bush's dismissal of any thought of apology for the use of nuclear weapons to kill 200,000 civilians. Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings told South Carolina workers they "should draw a mushroom cloud and put underneath it: `Made in America by lazy and illiterate Americans and tested in Japan'," drawing applause from the crowd. Hollings defended his remark as a "joke," a reaction to Japan's "America bashing." The humorless Japanese did not find the joke amusing. The event was briefly reported, provoking no inquiries into the American psyche.3

Japan's obsessions with the bomb, which provoke much scorn here, were also revealed after the Texas air shows where the atomic bombing was reenacted annually for many years (perhaps still is) before an admiring audience of tens of thousands, with a B-29 flown by retired Air Force General Paul Tibbets, who lifted the curtain on the atomic age at Hiroshima. Japan condemned the display as "in bad taste and offensive to the Japanese people," to no avail. Perhaps the hypersensitive Japanese would have expressed similar reservations about the showing of a film entitled "Hiroshima" in the early 1950s in Boston's "combat zone," a red-light district where pornographic films were featured: it was a Japanese documentary with live footage of scenes too horrendous to describe, eliciting gales of laughter and enthusiastic applause.

In more sedate intellectual circles, few have considered the observation by Justice Röling of the Netherlands after the Tokyo Tribunal where Japanese war criminals were tried and convicted: "From the Second World War above all two things are remembered: the German gas chambers and the American atomic bombings." Or the impressive dissent by the one independent Asian Justice, Radhabinod Pal of India, who wrote: "When the conduct of the nations is taken into
account the law will perhaps be found to be that only a lost cause is a crime... if any indiscriminate destruction of civilian life and property is still illegitimate in warfare, then, in the Pacific war, this decision to use the atom bomb is the only near approach to the directives...of the Nazi leaders... Nothing like this could be traced to the present accused" at Tokyo, seven of whom were hanged along with over 900 other Japanese executed for war crimes; among them General Yamashita, executed for atrocities committed by troops over whom he had no control at the war's end. Even the reactions of high-ranking US military officials have been little noted, for example, Admiral William Leahy, chief of staff under the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, who regarded nuclear weapons as "new and terrible instruments of uncivilized warfare," "a modern type of barbarism not worthy of Christian man," a reversion to the "ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages"; its use "would take us back in cruelty toward noncombatants to the days of Genghis Khan."4

Recognizing where power lies, Prime Minister Watanabe adopted US conventions in expressing Japan's regrets: he traced Japan's crimes to December 7, 1941, thus implicitly discounting hideous atrocities that killed 10 to 13 million Chinese, by conservative estimate, from 1937 through 1945, not to speak of earlier crimes.5

Passing silently over Watanabe's dating of the guilt, Weisman raises only one question: the evasiveness of the gesture at apology. The anniversary commemoration was based upon the same principle: killing, torturing, and otherwise abusing tens of millions of people may not be wholly meritorious, but a "sneak attack" on a naval base in a US colony is a crime of a completely different order. True, to heighten the recognition of Japan's iniquity, its atrocities and aggression in Asia are regularly tacked on to the indictment, but as an afterthought: the Pearl Harbor attack is the real crime, the initial act of aggression.

That decision has many merits. It enables us to ruminate on the strange defects of the Japanese character without having to confront some facts that are better removed from history. For example, the fact that pre-Pearl Harbor, much of the American business community and many US officials rejected "the generally accepted theory that Japan has been a big bully and China the downtrodden victim" (Ambassador Joseph Grew, an influential figure in Far East policy). The US objection to Japan's New Order in Asia, Grew explained in a speech in Tokyo in 1939, was that it imposed "a system of closed economy, ... depriving Americans of their long-established rights in China." He had nothing to say about China's right to national independence, the rape of Nanking, the invasion of Manchuria, and other such marginal issues. Secretary of State Cordell Hull adopted much the same priorities in the negotiations with Japanese Admiral Nomura before the Pearl Harbor attack, stressing US rights to equal access to the territories conquered by Japan in China. On November 7, Japan finally agreed to the US demand, offering to accept "the principle of nondiscrimination in commercial relations" in the Pacific, including China. But the wily Japanese added a qualifying clause: they would accept the principle only if it "were adopted throughout the world."

Hull was greatly shocked at this insolence. The principle was to apply in the Japanese sphere alone, he admonished the impudent arrivistes. The US and other Western powers could not be expected to respond in kind in their dominions, including India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cuba, and other vast regions from which the Japanese had been effectively barred by extremely high tariffs when they unfairly began to win the competitive game in the 1920s.

Dismissing Japan's frivolous appeal to the British and American precedent, Hull deplored the "simplicity of mind that made it difficult for...[Japanese generals] see why the United States, on the one hand, should assert leadership in the Western Hemisphere with the Monroe Doctrine and, on the other, want to interfere with Japan's assuming leadership in Asia." He urged the Japanese government to "educate the generals" about this elementary distinction, reminding his backward pupils that the Monroe Doctrine, "as we interpret and apply it uniformly since 1823 only contemplates steps for our physical safety." Respected scholars chimed in with their endorsement, expressing their outrage over the inability of the little yellow men to perceive the difference between a great power like the US and a small-time operator like Japan, and to recognize that "The United States does not need to use military force to induce the Caribbean republics to permit American capital to find profitable investment. The doors are voluntarily open" -- as even the most cursory look at history will show.6

3. Missing Pieces
Also unmentioned in the historical musings is an air of familiarity about Japan's actions in Manchuria, as they established the "independent" state of Manchukuo in 1932 under the former Manchu emperor. The procedure was "a familiar one," Walter Lippmann wrote at the time, not unlike US precedents "in Nicaragua, Haiti, and elsewhere." Manchuria had claims to independent status, surely stronger claims than, say, South Vietnam 25 years later, a fact recognized by the US client regime, which always defined itself as the Government of all of Vietnam, even in an unamendable article of its US-imposed Constitution. Scholars noted that had it not been for Western intervention in support of Chinese rule over the outer regions, motivated by the desire to increase "the sphere of future Western investment and exploitation," the Tibetans, Mongols, and Manchurians might well have moved towards independence (Owen Lattimore, 1934). Japan undertook to "defend" the "independent state" against "bandits" who attacked it from China. The goal of Japan's Kwantung army was to "liberate the masses" from exploitation by military and feudal cliques and to protect them from Communist terrorists. Adopting the policies favored by Kennedy doves in later years, its military leadership undertook counterinsurgency campaigns, complete with "collective hamlets," earnest measures to win hearts and minds, and other ideas that have a certain resonance. Among a series of unpleasant -- hence unmentionable -- facts is the similarity of these operations to the no less brutal and atrocious ones conducted by the United States a few years later near China's southern border, operations that peaked in murderous violence shortly after the Japanese documents on Manchuria were released by the RAND Corporation in 1967, to be shelved with appropriate silence by the cultural managers.7

The similarity is not entirely accidental. Apart from the fact that the same thoughts naturally come to the minds of similar actors facing similar circumstances, US counterinsurgency doctrine was consciously modelled on the practices and achievements of World War II fascism, though it was the Nazis who were the preferred model. Reviewing US Army manuals of the 1950s, Michael McClintock notes the "disturbing similarity between the Nazi's view of the world and the
American stance in the Cold War." The manuals recognize Hitler's tasks to have been much the same as those undertaken by the US worldwide as it took over the struggle against the anti-fascist resistance and other criminals (labelled "Communists" or "terrorists"). They adopt the Nazi frame of reference as a matter of course: the partisans were "terrorists," while the Nazis were "protecting" the population from their violence and coercion. Killing of anyone "furnishing aid or
comfort, directly or indirectly, to such partisans, or any person withholding information on partisans," was "legally well within the provisions of the Geneva Convention," the manuals explain. The Germans and their collaborators were the "liberators" of the Russian people. Former Wehrmacht officers helped to prepare the army manuals, which culled important lessons from the practices of their models: for example, the utility of "evacuation of all natives from
partisan-infested areas and the destruction of all farms, villages, and buildings in the areas following the evacuations" -- the policies advocated by Kennedy's dovish advisors, and standard US practice in Central America. The same logic was adopted by the civilian leadership from the late 1940s, as Nazi war criminals were resurrected and reassigned to their former tasks (Reinhard Gehlen, Klaus Barbie, and others), or spirited to safety in Latin America and elsewhere to pursue
their work, if they could no longer be protected at home.8

The notions were refined in the Kennedy years, under the impetus of the President's well-known fascination with unconventional warfare. US military manuals and "antiterrorism experts" of the period advocate "the tactic of intimidating, kidnapping, or assassinating carefully selected members of the opposition in a manner that will reap the maximum psychological benefit," the objective being "to frighten everyone from collaborating with the guerrilla movement." Respected American historians and moralists were later to provide the intellectual and moral underpinnings, notably Guenter Lewy, who explains in his much-admired history of the Vietnam war that the US was guilty of no crimes against "innocent civilians," indeed could not be. Those who joined our righteous cause were free from harm's way (except by inadvertence, at worst a crime of involuntary manslaughter). Those who failed to cooperate with the "legitimate government" imposed by US violence are not innocent, by definition; they lose any such claim if they refuse to flee to the "safety" provided by their liberators: infants in a village in the Mekong Delta or inner Cambodia, for example. They therefore deserve their fate.9
Some lack innocence because they happened to be in the wrong place; for example, the population of the city of Vinh, "the Vietnamese Dresden," Philip Shenon casually observes in a Times Magazine cover story on the belated victory of capitalism in Vietnam: it was "leveled by American B-52 bombers" because it was "cursed by location" and hence "was a natural target" for the bombers, much like Rotterdam and Coventry. This city of 60,000 was "flattened" in 1965, Canadian
officials reported, while vast surrounding areas were turned into a moonscape.10 One could learn the facts outside the mainstream, where they were generally ignored, or even flatly denied; for example, by Lewy, who assures us, on the authority of US government pronouncements, that the bombing was aimed at military targets and damage to civilians was minimal.

Plainly, it is better to keep the history under wraps. The Politically Correct approach, adopted without notable deviation on the anniversary, is to date Japan's criminal course to the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor; to bring in Japan's earlier atrocities only as a device to sharpen the distinction between their evil nature and our purity; to put aside the uneasy relation between the doctrine that the war began on December 7, 1941 and the fact that we denounce Japan for atrocities
committed through the 1930s, which were, furthermore, deemed acceptable in influential circles; and more generally, to eliminate from the mind discordant notes from past and present history.

It is interesting to see the reaction when the rules of decorum are occasionally violated by comparisons between Japan's policies and actions and ours in Vietnam. For the most part, the comparisons are so unthinkable as to be unnoticed, or are dismissed as absurdity. Or they may be denounced as apologetics for Japan's crimes, an interpretation that is quite natural. Given that our perfection is axiomatic, it follows that any comparison drawn confers upon others a share of our
nobility, and thus counts as apologetics for their crimes. By the same irrefutable logic, it follows that applause for our crimes is not apologetics, but merely a proper tribute to our magnificence; and silence about them is only a shade less meritorious than enthusiastic approval. Those who fail to comprehend these truths can be condemned for their "irrational hatred of America." Or, if not so completely beyond the pale, they can be offered a course of instruction, like the Japanese

The ban on such subversive thoughts was revealed on the Pearl Harbor anniversary in a striking way, to which we return (section 8). Another example is provided by a commentary on the anniversary by the noted Japan scholar John Dower, solicited by the Washington Post. Dower commented that there is "more than a little irony in observing Americans ramble on about other people's military violence and historical amnesia," considering how Vietnam and Korea have
entered officially-sanctioned memory. The invited column was rejected.11

Another pertinent question was omitted from the deliberations on the aggression launched by Japan on December 7, 1941: How did we happen to have a military base at Pearl Harbor, or to hold our Hawaiian colony altogether? The answer is that we stole Hawaii from its inhabitants, by force and guile, just half a century before the infamous date, in part so as to gain the Pearl Harbor naval base. The centenary of that achievement falls shortly after the opening of Year 501, and
might have merited a word as we lamented Japan's failure to face up to its perfidy. Lifting the veil, we find an instructive story.

As long as the British deterrent remained in force, the US government vigorously defended Hawaiian independence. In 1842, President Tyler declared that the US desired "no peculiar advantages, no exclusive control over the Hawaiian Government, but is content with its independent existence and anxiously wishes for its security and prosperity." Accordingly, Washington would oppose any attempt by any nation "to take possession of the islands, colonize them, and subvert the native Government." With this declaration, Tyler extended the Monroe Doctrine to Hawaii. Its independence was also recognized by the major European countries and others, and confirmed by numerous treaties and declarations. As the century progressed, the balance of power shifted in favor of the United States, offering new opportunities, as in Latin America. US colonists established a thriving sugar industry, and the value of the island as a stepping stone towards broader Pacific horizons became increasingly apparent. Admiral DuPont had observed that "It is impossible to estimate too highly the value and importance of the Hawaiian Islands, whether in a commercial or a military sense." Plainly, our sphere of legitimate self-defense must be extended to include this prize. But there was an impediment: the independence of the island kingdom, and the "demographic problem" posed by the 90 percent majority of native Hawaiians (already reduced to one-sixth the pre-contact era). The colonists therefore undertook to guide and assist these people, so "low in mental culture," and to provide them with the gift of good government -- by their betters. Planters' Monthly observed in 1886 that the Hawaiian "does not yet realize" the "bounds and limits fixed" and the "moral and personal obligations attending" the gift we have offered them: "The white man has organized for the native a Government, placed the ballot in his hands, and set him up as a lawmaker and a ruler; but the placing of these powers in his hands before he knows how to use them, is like placing sharp knives, pointed instruments and dangerous tools in the hands of infants." Similar concerns about the "rascal multitude" and their innate stupidity and worthlessness have been voiced by the "men of best quality" throughout the modern period, forming a major strand in democratic theory.12

The first Marine landing to support the colonists took place in 1873, just 30 years after Tyler's ringing endorsement of Hawaii's independence. After failing to take power in the 1886 elections, the plantation oligarchy prepared for a coup d'état, which took place a year later with the help of their military arm, the Hawaiian Rifles. The "Bayonet Constitution" forced upon the king granted US citizens the right to vote, while excluding a large part of the native population through
property qualifications and barring Asian immigrants as aliens. Another consequence of the coup was the delivery of the Pearl River estuary to the United States as a naval base. Exhibiting the "uniform" interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine that so impressed Secretary of State Hull, his predecessor James Blaine observed in 1889 that "there are only three places that are of value enough to be taken. One is Hawaii. The others are Cuba and Puerto Rico." All were shortly to fall into the proper hands.

Regular military interventions ensured good behavior by the locals. In 1891, the USS Pensacola was dispatched "in order to guard American interests," which now included ownership of four-fifths of the arable land. In January 1893, Queen Liliuokalani made a last ditch effort to preserve Hawaiian sovereignty, granting the right to vote in Hawaiian elections only to Hawaiians, rich or poor, without discrimination. At the order of US Minister John Stevens, US troops landed and
imposed martial law -- to support "the best citizens and nine-tenths of the property owners of the country," in the words of the commanding officer. Stevens informed the Secretary of State that "The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it." Long before, John Quincy Adams had used the same imagery with regard to the second of "the places of value," Cuba, a "ripe fruit" that would fall into our hands once the British deterrent
is removed (see chapter 6). The US planters and their native collaborators produced a declaration proclaiming the conviction of the "overwhelming majority of the conservative and responsible members of the community" -- who numbered a few hundred men -- "that independent, constitutional, representative and responsible government, able to protect itself from revolutionary uprisings and royal aggression, is no longer possible in Hawaii under the existing system of government." Under protest, the Queen surrendered to the "superior force of the United States of America" and its troops, abdicating in the hope of saving her followers from the death penalty; she herself was fined $5000 and sentenced to five years at hard labor for her crimes against good order (commuted in 1896). The Republic of Hawaii was established with American planter Sanford Dole proclaiming himself President on July 4, 1894. Each sip of Dole pineapple juice offers an occasion to
celebrate another triumph of Western civilization.

Congress passed a joint resolution for annexation in 1898, as the US went to war with Spain and Commander George Dewey's naval squadron sank a decrepit Spanish fleet in Manila, setting the stage for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos as another ripe fruit was plucked from the tree. President McKinley signed the annexation resolution on July 7, 1898, creating "The First Outpost of a Greater America," a journal of the "conservative and responsible
members of the community" triumphantly proclaimed. Their iron-fisted rule eliminated any residual interference by the "ignorant majority," as the planters called them, still about 90 percent of the population, soon to become dispersed, impoverished, and oppressed, their culture suppressed, their lands stolen.13

In this manner, Pearl Harbor became a major military base in the US colony of Hawaii, to be subjected a half-century later to a scandalous "sneak attack" by Japanese monsters setting forth on their criminal path. On January 2, 1992, the Institute for the Advancement of Hawaiian Affairs published a document entitled "The Cause of Hawaiian Sovereignty," reviewing the history, in preparation for "the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of Hawaii" in January 1993.14 Short of a dramatic change in the reigning culture, that anniversary is destined to remain deeply buried in the memory hole, joining many others that commemorate the fate of the victims of the 500 year conquest.

4. Some Lessons in Political Correctness
Let us return to the public commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the infamous date, carefully sanitized and insulated from improper thoughts. Americans are much annoyed by the unwillingness of the Japanese to face their guilt for the Pearl Harbor crime, Urban Lehner reports in a lengthy Wall Street Journal article on Japanese "revisionism." He quotes the Pearl Harbor memorial park historian on "the complete absence of a sense in Japan of their own history." To illustrate
"Japan's ambivalence toward remembering history," Lehner describes a visit to the home of a "courtly" Japanese military historian, who "can't understand why the U.S. won't forget it. `If the U.S. and Japan are partners, why talk about Pearl Harbor forever? That's what Japanese people are thinking,' he says. `Why do you keep reminding us?'"15

So the article ends, no comment being necessary on the unique sins of the Japanese exhibited with such clarity.

The New York Times Magazine devoted a cover story to this peculiarly Japanese malady by Tokyo Bureau Chief Weisman, entitled "Pearl Harbor in the Mind of Japan." There is "little sound of remorse," the subtitle reads, and "no commemorative ceremonies of the bombing in Japan." The US will approach the event "from a completely different perspective," Weisman writes, reflexively taking that perspective to be right and proper, no questions asked. His study of this topic exemplifies the general style and provides useful instruction in the techniques of Political Correctness, encapsulating many of the standard gambits.16

Americans were not always so clear as they are today about the simple verities, Weisman observes. In the late '60s, "guilt-ridden over the Vietnam conflict...American historians were more willing to question American motives in Asia. Today, their tone is much less apologetic" -- the last word, an interesting choice. With the Persian Gulf war and the collapse of communism, "Times have changed," and "Roosevelt's drawing a line in the sand is no longer seen as improper." Weisman's claims about the late '60s contain a particle of truth: younger historians associated with the antiwar movement did indeed begin to raise previously forbidden questions. They were compelled to form their own professional association (the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars), with very few senior faculty involved, to discuss subversive thoughts about possible flaws in "American motives." Though they were the cream of the graduate student crop at the time, not many
survived the authoritarian structure of the ideological disciplines; some were eliminated from the academic world in straight political firings, some marginalized in other familiar ways. The young scholars did receive some support in the mainstream, notably from John King Fairbank, the dean of Asian scholarship and a figure at the dissident extreme, often accused of crossing the line to Communist apologetics. He outlined his own position on the Vietnam war in his presidential address to
the American Historical Association in December 1968, well after the corporate sector had called for terminating the enterprise. The war was an "error," Fairbank explained, based on misunderstanding and naiveté, yet another example of "our excess of righteousness and disinterested benevolence."17

One will find very little questioning of American motives in respectable circles then, or since. Conventional falsehoods commonly retain their appeal because they are functional, serving the interests of established authority. Weisman's tales about the late '60s are a case in point: they buttress the view that the academy, the media, and intellectual life generally have been taken over by a left-wing onslaught, leaving only a few last brave defenders of simple truths and intellectual values, who therefore must be given every bit of support that can be mustered for their lonely cause, a project well-suited to current doctrinal needs (see chapter 2.4).

Like all right-thinking people, Weisman takes it as axiomatic that the US stance in the Persian Gulf and the Cold War is subject to no imaginable qualification, surely no questioning of "American motives." Also following convention, he evades entirely the issue of shared responsibility for the Pacific war. The issue is not "Roosevelt's drawing a line in the sand," but rather the decision of the traditional imperial powers (Britain, France, Holland, US) to close the doors of their domains
to Japan after it had followed the rules of "free trade" with too much success; and the US position, maintained to the end, that the US-Japan conflict might be resolved if Japan would permit the US to share in exploiting all of Asia, while not demanding comparable rights in US-dominated regions. Weisman indeed recognizes that such issues have been raised, making sure to frame them in a proper way. He does not refer to the discussion of the actions of the imperial powers in
Western scholarship as events unfolded, or since. Rather, these are the "startling" words of Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, hanged in 1948 as a Class A war criminal, who "defiantly defended the attack on Pearl Harbor as forced by `inhuman' economic sanctions imposed by Washington," which "would have meant the destruction of the nation," had Japan not reacted. Could there be a particle of truth lurking behind the thought? The question need not be answered, since it cannot rise to consciousness.

Weisman writes that "of course, most American historians would have little trouble rendering a judgment on Japan's singular responsibility, if not guilt," noting Japan's "annex[ation] of Manchuria in 1931," and its "bloody sweep through China" in 1937 and later into Indochina, driving out the French colonial regime. No words here on the US attitude towards all of this at the time, except for an oblique hint: "Beginning with the decision to move naval vessels in 1940, the United
States responded to Japanese military aggression with warnings and protests" -- nine years after the invasion of Manchuria, three years after the murderous escalation in China. Why the delay? Weisman also puts aside other questions: Why were Western claims to their colonial domains stronger than those of Japan, and why did indigenous nationalists often welcome the Japanese conquest, driving out the traditional oppressors? Nor is he troubled by a simple fact of logic: If these were
Japan's crimes, then why do we commemorate a much later event as the "date which will live in infamy"? Why is it "the tragedy of 50 years ago" that evokes Weisman's inquiry into Japan's flawed psyche?

Weisman does concede a measure of US responsibility: not for what happened, but for Japan's failure to face up to its crimes. The US wanted "to create a democracy" after the war, but "After China fell to the Communists in 1949 and the Korean War broke out a year later, Washington changed its mind, deciding to foster a stable conservative Government in Japan to challenge Communism in Asia," even sometimes allowing war criminals to regain authority. This revision of history also has its functional utility: under the laws of Political Correctness, it is permissible to recognize our occasional lapses from perfection if they can be interpreted as an all-too-understandable overreaction to the evil deeds of selected malefactors. In fact, as Weisman surely knows, Washington's "reverse course" was in 1947, hence well before the "fall of China" (to translate: the overthrow of a corrupt US-backed tyranny by an indigenous movement); and 3 years before the officially-recognized Korean war, at a time when the pre-official phase was charging full-speed ahead, as the US-imposed regime, aided by fascist collaborators restored by the US occupying army, was busy slaughtering some 100,000 anti-fascists and other adherents of the popular movements that the US clients could never hope to face in political competition.

Washington's "reverse course" called a halt to democratic experiments that threatened established power. The US moved decisively to break Japanese unions and reconstruct the traditional industrial-financial conglomerates, supporting fascist collaborators, excluding anti-fascist elements, and restoring traditional conservative business rule. As explained in a 1947 paper prepared under the direction of the primary author of the reverse course, George Kennan, the US had "a moral right to intervene" to preserve "stability" against "stooge groups" of the Communists: "Recognizing that the former industrial and commercial leaders of Japan are the ablest leaders in the country, that they are the most stable element, that they have the strongest natural ties with the US, it should be US policy to remove obstacles to their finding their natural level in Japanese leadership." The purge of war criminals was ended, and the essential structure of the fascist regime restored. The reverse course in Japan was one element in a worldwide US campaign at the same time with the same goals, all prior to 1949.18

The reconstruction of what US technical experts angrily condemned as "totalitarian state capitalism," with popular and democratic forces suppressed, was underway well before the reverse course of 1947. The Occupation also determined at once that the basic issues of war guilt would be shelved. General MacArthur "would neither allow the emperor to be indicted, nor take the stand as a witness, nor even be interviewed by International Prosecution investigators" at the War Crimes trials, Herbert Bix writes, despite ample evidence of his direct responsibility for Japanese war crimes -- available to MacArthur, but kept secret. This whitewashing of the monarchy had "momentous" consequences for reestablishing the traditional conservative order and defeating a far more democratic alternative, Bix concludes.19

Weisman observes correctly that Japan's "goal was to assure access to natural resources, markets and freedom of the seas." These goals it has now attained, he adds, by "its own hard work" and "the generosity (and self-interest) of the United States." The implication is that Japan could have achieved the same goals 50 years ago, had it not been in the grip of fascist ideology and primitive delusion. Overlooked are some obvious questions. If Japan could have achieved these ends by accepting Western norms, then why did the British, the Americans, and the other imperial states not simply abandon the high tariff walls they had erected around their colonies to bar Japan? Or, assuming that such idealism would be too much to ask, why did Hull not at least accept the Japanese offer for mutuality of exploitation? Such thoughts go beyond legitimate bounds, reaching into the forbidden territory of "American motives."

In the real world, Japan's aggression gave an impetus to the nationalist movements that displaced colonial rule in favor of the more subtle mechanisms of domination of the postwar period. Furthermore, the war left the US in a position to design the new world order. Under these new conditions, Japan could be offered its "Empire toward the South" (as Kennan put it) under US control, though within limits: the US intended to maintain its "power over what Japan imports in the way of oil and such other things" so that "we would have veto power on what she does need in the military and industrial field," as Kennan advised in 1949.20 This stance was maintained until unexpected factors intervened, notably the Vietnam war with its costs to the US and benefits to Japan and other industrial rivals.

Yet another fault of the Japanese, Weisman observes, is the "bellicose terms" in which they frame Japanese-American relations, thus revealing their penchant for militarism. The Japanese speak of "their `second strike': if Washington cuts off Japanese imports, Tokyo can strangle the American economy by cutting off investments or purchases of Treasury bonds." Even if we adopt Weisman's unexamined judgment on the impropriety of such retaliation, it would hardly seem to
rank high in comparison to standard US practices: for example, the devastating and illegal economic warfare regularly waged against such enemies as Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, and Vietnam; or the efforts of Jacksonian Democrats to "place all other nations at our feet," primarily the British enemy, by gaining a monopoly over the most important commodity in world trade.

Japan's worst sin, however, is its tendency towards "self-pity," its refusal to offer reparations to its victims, its "clumsy attempts to sanitize the past" and in general, its failure to "come forward with a definitive statement of wartime responsibility." Here Weisman is on firm ground -- or would be, if he, or his editors, or their colleagues in the doctrinal system were even to consider the principles they espouse for others. They do not, not for a moment, as the record shows with utter clarity.

4 See PEHR, II 32f., 39. On the principles of justice employed, see also FRS, ch. 3, reprinted from a Yale Law Review symposium on Nuremberg andVietnam. For excerpts from Pal's dissent, see APNM. See Minnear, Victor's Justice. Leahy, cited by Braw, Atomic Bomb, from his 1950 autobiography, I Was There.
5 Japan historian Herbert Bix, BG, April 19, 1992.
6 APNM, ch. 2, for further material and sources.

7 Ibid., for excerpts.
8 See TTT, 194f.; Simpson, Blowback; Reese, Gehlen.
9 McClintock, Instruments, 59ff., 230ff. Lewy, America in Vietnam. For discussion of this parody of history, see the review by Chomsky and Edward Herman, reprinted in TNCW. For Lewy's thoughts on how to eliminate the plague of independent thought on the home front, see NI, 350f.
10 Bernard Fall, Ramparts, Dec. 1965, reprinted in Last Reflections. For a postwar eyewitness description, see John Pilger, New Statesman, Sept. 15,
1978. Shenon, NYT magazine, Jan. 5, 1992.
11 Dower, "Remembering (and Forgetting) War," ms, MIT.

12 Hietala, Manifest Design, 61; Kent, Hawaii, 41f. Daws, Shoal of Time, 241. Poka Laenui, "The Theft of the Hawaiian Nation," Indigenous Thought,
Oct. 1991. See pp. 17-18, 38, above; DD, ch. 12.
13 Kent, Daws, Laenui, op. cit.
14 Institute for the Advancement of Hawaiian Affairs, 86-649 Puuhulu Rd., Wai`anae Hawaii 96792.

15 Lehner, WSJ, Dec. 6, 1991.
16 Weisman, NYT magazine, Nov. 3, 1991.
17 On Fairbank's views, see TNCW, 400-1.

18 DD, ch. 11, and sources cited. Kennan, cited in Cumings, Origins, II, 57; see volumes I, II on the mass murder campaign in US-occupied Korea prior to what
is called "the Korean war."
19 Sherwood Fine, quoted by Moore, Japanese Workers, p. 18; Moore, on the general topic. Bix, "The Showa Emperor's `Monologue' and the Problem of War Responsibility," J. of Japanese Studies, 18.2, 1992 (citing John Dower, Japan Times, Jan. 9, 1989).
20 Cumings, Origins, II, 57.