By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin --(Ammoland.com)- In April of 1964 I stood for three hours in line outside the General MacArthur memorial in Norfolk, VA, waiting to pass by the coffin of General Douglas MacArthur who had died a few days earlier.
I had seen many pictures of General MacArthur and there was a lot of news coverage on the local Norfolk TV stations with images of the General. When I passed by the casket the only thing I recognized was the khaki uniform he was wearing and the five stars.
I have been to the Philippians, South Korea, Japan and Australia and I understand the impact Gen. MacArthur had on those four countries. I am also an Army trained infantry officer and you cannot spend six months at Infantry Hall, on Ft. Benning, GA without feeling the influence of Gen. MacArthur even on today’s modern Army.
MacArthur may have been buried in Virginia, but the State of Wisconsin claims the MacArthur family as their own. His father, Arthur MacArthur was a Wisconsin soldier who fought with the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War.
I attended a daylong seminar at the Marquette University Law School that dealt with Gen. MacArthur as the supreme commander of post-war Japan and the writing of a new constitution for that country after their unconditional surrender. No matter how you analyze the writing of the new Japanese constitution, what it comes down to is MacArthur had a team of American lawyers draw up a constitution.
It was given to the Japanese who translated it (not word for word) into their language and then their new government voted to accept the constitution. The suspicions on the part of the Japanese was that the US occupation would end, the Americans would go home and they could get rid of the new “forced”, western constitution and go back to the good old days. We never left Japan.
One third of the US Marine Corps is on Japanese soil at any given time. Though it might be politically incorrect to point it out, yes, the US is still an occupation force.
Article 9 of the new Japanese constitution outlawed belligerency as an instrument of state policy and this means no standing army. The US forced this on Japan and then it backfired when later in the 1950s we wanted Japan to build up their military capability (as West Germany did) and they did not want to.
Why should they, the US was footing the bill for all of Japan’s defense. Why buy planes and war ships when you could be spending your money building Toyota plants around the Pacific?
Japan does have a Defense Force that looks a lot like an Army and Navy–we just do not call it that. In fact their Defense Force is more robust and better equipped than fifty percent of the military forces of the rest of the world. They have good combat “stuff” and they know how to use it. There has never been any change to the post-war constitution, but in some circles of the Japanese society a desire to amend Article 9 to allow for a real and expanded military has been proposed.
I brought up the issue of Article 9 in the morning session of the seminar and got some unhappy stares. The Japanese Consulate from Chicago was scheduled to speak in the afternoon session and had been told that no discussion of Article 9 would be permitted.
The problem with this decision 69 years after Japan surrendered, not to discuss a Japanese issue goes back to MacArthur. Yes, MacArthur had war crimes tribunals held and some senior civilian and military leaders were executed or sent to prison, but he set the precedent of helping the Japanese save face by not allowing in the open, the discussion and reminders of their horrendous war crimes.
He could not really stifle the press, but he could control the words and deeds of the military and civilians under his command in Japan.
These, the very people who had actual contact with the Japanese and first-hand knowledge of the atrocities they committed. Japan needs to build up its Defense Force on a much larger scale and be prepared to take a greater role in its own protection. I would suggest that for now Article 9 needs to stay as it is. The day North Korea lands a missile on Japanese soil the process for removing Article 9 will start. Ninety days later Japan will have nukes.
Japan already has all the ingredients, they only need to mix up the batter and bake the nuclear cake. Japan also needs to stop sanitizing its school text books about that nation’s real role in WW II.Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” firstname.lastname@example.org