Saturday, December 28, 2013

Let's Not Be War Criminals on Okinawa

We will finally be able to move our air base at Futenma to another location on Okinawa. Which should end that potential war crime in the making.

This is good news:

The governor of Okinawa gave the go-ahead Friday for land reclamation to begin for a new U.S. military base, advancing the effort to consolidate the massive U.S. troop presence on the southern Japanese island but also making protests from residents likely.

Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima approved the Japanese Defense Ministry's application to reclaim land for the base on Okinawa's coast to replace the U.S. Marine Corps base in Futenma, a more congested part of Okinawa's main island.

Over the decades, civilians structures advanced toward the Futenma base and crowded in so close to the base that a Chinese air assault on the base would have killed lots of civilians.

I know that the concept of human shields relies on the hesitation of an enemy to risk hitting civilians and that China is unlikely to be deterred. But it is still bad form to have a base close to civilians even if the civilians hugged you rather than the other way around.

So even apart from the local opposition to a base right in their midst, I've been uncomfortable having a base with so many civilians way too close for comfort.

It will take many years to move the base, but at least we can see the day when we can move without losing military capabilities in the region.