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September 28, 2006


I heard about about her and her "trial" last night on NPR-- prior to that, I'd heard the name but nothing more.

I'm off to read Jim Henley... thanks for mentioning Iva Toguri. Our imprisoning her (because we needed to imprison someone, and because Truman caved to the gold-star mothers) was a black chapter-- I'm glad Ike was brave enough to free her despite politics.

Thank you for your sacrifice in returning to active duty.

Andrew, for what it's worth I have a great deal of respect for you, mostly because of the intellectual honesty and (good manners in the face or adversity!) that you consistantly display. I think that patriotism means defending ot what the country is but what it should be. When I compare your values and your decisions to the so-called patriotism of people like Allen and Bush my head nearly explodes with rage. I have a student who just enlisted. I ope he ends up in the company of officers like you.

Not, not ot. Hope, not ope.

It's hard not to wonder if the country I want to defend is the one I may actually defend. It's hard not to wonder if I'm doing the right thing at times.

That must have been extremely difficult to write. FWIW I think you are in fact doing the right thing. Good luck.

Personally, I think it's sort of like the folk psychology test for insanity--if you wonder whether you're crazy, you're probably not. That is, as long as you keep wondering and worrying about whether you're doing the right thing, you have a good chance of coming close enough to it that you don't have to worry about cutting yourself shaving.

Thanks for your service and best of luck.

Thank you Andrew and God speed.

Yesterday I completed my packet to request my reinstatement on active duty, because I am painfully aware of the Army's need for good officers (and even mediocre ones). It's hard not to wonder if the country I want to defend is the one I may actually defend. It's hard not to wonder if I'm doing the right thing at times.

As a pacifist, of course I believe no one should join the army in the first place.

But, stipulated that there is an army, I would want everyone in it to be thoughtful, intelligent, and - at least sometimes - questioning whether they're doing the right thing.

Anyway, any country is more than it's government. You are defending your country, not the steaming pile of fetid muck that is the current administration.

And the post reminded me of a smidge of Specter's http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=all&page=s10265&dbname=2006_record>remarks yesterday:

Mr. President the testimony that was given by Thomas B. Sullivan was especially poignant. Mr. Sullivan is a man in his late seventies. He was U.S. Attorney for 4 years in the late 1970s. He has a distinguished law practice with Jenner & Block. He has been to Guantanamo on many occasions and has represented many people who are detained in Guantanamo.

His testimony was, as I say, especially poignant when he said that long after all of those in the hearing room are dead, there would be an apology made if habeas corpus is denied, just as the apology was made after the detention of the Japanese in World War II being a denial of basic and fundamental fairness, where we in the United States pride ourselves on the rule of law.

It's not for me to say whether it is right or wrong for you to do this, but I do thank you for it.

What would make me more thankful, though, would be for the fetid tu*ds who cheered us into this mess to go in your place.

Given that the problem is a lack of good officers, though, I'm not sure what that would solve.

PS It occurs to me that what I really want to say is "Yes, Andrew, you're doing the right thing": except that I don't want to say it, because part of what makes me feel Andrew is doing the right thing is his doubt that he is.

And then it occurs to me that I can go ahead and say it anyway because Andrew most likely won't believe anything I say. Especially if I begin the comment "PS".

I'm just about out of words so: best of luck.

Thank you for your service. We need people like you in the military all the more, at a time when the civilian leaders are so uniformly horrible.

I appreciate your commitment and professionalism and wish you well. I admire your convictions.

I also happen to wonder something. Clearly, history ahs taught us that there is some point at which one is fighting for the evil of a country's current circumstance instead of the good thing that the country has been or might in the future become. I don't know that we have reached that point yet here, but it does make me wonder. What would it take to convince you that America had crossed that line and you could no longer serve? I completely understand if you can not or will not answer that question.

Since we don't have an open thread, I'm dropping this here:

China has secretly fired powerful laser weapons designed to disable American spy satellites by "blinding" their sensitive surveillance devices, it was reported yesterday.

The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration for fear that it would damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic offensives against North Korea and Iran.

Sources told the military affairs publication Defense News that there had been a fierce internal battle within Washington over whether to make the attacks public. In the end, the Pentagon's annual assessment of the growing Chinese military build-up barely mentioned the threat.

"After a contentious debate, the White House directed the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line," Defense News said.

The document said that China could blind American satellites with a ground-based laser firing a beam of light to prevent spy photography as they pass over China.

According to senior American officials: "China not only has the capability, but has exercised it." American satellites like the giant Keyhole craft have come under attack "several times" in recent years.


Andrew: one of the things that really, really gets me about what's happening now is that I think that all of us should be able to have no doubts at all about defending our country, or about the thought that the difference between the ideal and the actual country is the size one would expect given normal human fallibility, not some sort of horrible chasm. We should all be able to be proud without having to give the matter much thought. It should be obvious.

This probably isn't as important as the awfulness of imprisoning as a traitor someone who, to quote the article you linked to, "used the money she earned to help to feed and clothe Allied prisoners" (for some reason, the juxtaposition of official cynical amorality and ordinary decency really gets to me here), or keeping a good number of perfectly ordinary non-terrorists who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time incommunicado, with no hope of appeal.

But, damn it, it's still horrible.

Thank you for your service. At least one person who's never met you appreciates it deeply, along with the service of those like you who are quite unknown to me. If you meet any of them, give them my gratitude.

And, now having read to the end of the thread: I'm grateful that we have men like you in the armed services, Andrew. Thank you.

Agreed, Slartibartfast. Andrew is one of those people that I'm proud and honored to have as a part of our nation's armed forces. Thank you, Andrew.

Most everything has been said. Thank you for your service. There are many things worth fighting for before you have to reach that nebulosity "country". The whole may be greater than the sum of the parts, but the parts are pretty damn valuable.

Good luck.

Best of luck and a safe return home.

You honor this country and all of us with your service. Thank you.

Andrew, all of our thoughts will be with you as you serve. Thank you.

Best of wishes.

As a father of one of the, IMHO, better officers, I support you and others making this kind of decision.

In two years my son will be at the point, (8 years of active duty) where he can walk away and not worry about being called up again. That was not his original intent 6 years ago, but he is leaning in that direction.

Perhaps if there is a change in the direction this country is heading he will continue to do something he really wants to love doing, instead of dreading it.

Thank you for putting this on the front page, Andrew. Please forgive me for getting up on a soapbox here, but there are a few points I think should be added. One should note that even though it was the media that led the fight to have her pardoned, it was our hard hitting media, led by Walter Winchell, who originally tracked down Ms Toguri and demanded their pound of flesh. Furthermore, the government suborned perjury to get the conviction. From the above link

Neither Brundidge nor the witness testified at trial because of the taint of perjury. Nor was Brundidge prosecuted for subornation of perjury. According to FBI records available at the National Archives, the Department of Justice thought that the evidence came down to the witness’s word against that of Brundidge.

As a third generation Japanese American, this, along with the internment of Japanese Americans, underlies a lot of my views, so if I have been overly dismissive of your points in particular or conservative arguments in general, I hope you can see where I am coming from.

I also think that two people can do do separate acts that are totally opposite and still have them be morally correct, and praiseworthy. So even as I honor your commitment and sacrifice, I also believe that this act should be honored. Stay safe and godspeed.

I should probably point out that I'm just applying for active duty. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'll end up overseas, although I hope that will be the case, but until I've actually been picked up for active duty, I won't even have any idea what I may be doing next year. Thanks to all for the kind sentiments, however.


I respect LT Watada's decision to face prosecution for his beliefs. I even wrote about it when it first came to light, but I'm too lazy for find the link right now. However, I think that the military is correct to court-martial him as well. It's honorable to stand up for your beliefs, but LT Watada took an oath and while I realize that he doesn't think he's violating it, the courts clearly disagree.

I do believe that the US army will improve with men like you Andrew, and I have the utmost respect for people like you and Phillip Carter, who want to do the right thing - not the easy one.

And the band played on...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill setting rules for interrogations and prosecutions of foreign terrorism suspects, sending it to President George W. Bush to sign into law.

De-lurking to wish you godspeed in your choice, Andrew.

"In the end, their battle was the same. To protect and preserve an (America) they could proudly call home."


Every time I read about Iva Toguri's life I'm astonished 1. that she never had a cross word for the government of the United States (though apparently she didn't give many interviews) and 2. that nobody's made a movie about her. I mean--born on the 4th of July. Stuck in Japan during the war, where she never renounces her American citizenship despite what I'm sure was intense pressure to do so. Finally comes home but is convicted of treason because Walter Winchell thought it was a good idea. It's an amazingly American tragedy.

Andrew, I'm not asking for you to agree with Lt. Watada's actions, just pointing out that some of us can honor your committment and honor Lt. Watada's belief that there are higher commitments.

nobody's made a movie about her

there has been a project floating around, which George Takei (Lt. Sulu) mentioned he was developing about her life.


My apologies, I didn't mean to imply differently. I guess I just felt I should throw in my own opinion of the situation to be clear. I probably overthought it. ;)


She was a fascinating woman. Her actions in Japan were worthy of great praise, instead of a kangaroo court, years in prison, and never being permitted to be reunited with her husband. How she was treated is nothing less than shameful.

lj--Yeah, I read the same thing off a link from her Wiki page. I just wish somebody with a little more clout was attached to the project (not that Mr Sulu doesn't have clout, you understand.)

Andrew--And I don't know if this speaks to anything more than my own ignorance, but until I started reading her obituaries I had no idea what her story was, or that she wasn't Tokyo Rose, or that there wasn't even an actual Tokyo Rose. (All her obits are titled with variations of "Iva Toguri, Age 90, was not Tokyo Rose.") What a life she had.

Andrew -

We will overcome our flaws. People like you are the reason why.

Best -

I have a suspicion that the project didn't go forward because she probably didn't agree to participate. That's just an impression, though.

Yes, but I'm not talking about taking stupid risks with other people's lives--I'm talking about risking their political power.

whoops, wrong thread.

Andrew, I can't tell you whether it's the right thing for you--it's not a choice I would make, so how could I tell you to make it?--but it's a brave and noble thing, and I am really grateful.

Andrew, if you do get sent into active duty, may God watch over you and bring you (and as many of your fellow soldiers as is possible) home safely.

As for Tokyo Rose, I am reminded of the Vonnegut classic Mother Night, about an American who broadcast German propaganda during WW2, as written in his cell in Israel while awaiting trial for war crimes. The movie was very well done, also.

Don't forget to duck.

[Deletes some overly sentimental melodramatic stuff]

Just don't forget to duck.


One of the most wise, kind, tough, and thoughtful people I have ever met is an uncle of mine who was a career Army officer. I remember a lieutenant a ways back who stood up for something, and I've met a couple of great folks over at CGSC in the last few years. I have nothing but respect for these people and your last paragraph reminded me of them. Best of luck!

To add to my comment above, an excerpt from Sen. Dorgan's floor speech yesterday:

The Specter amendment is about habeas corpus. That is a big term, a kind of complicated term. Let me describe it by describing this picture. This is a young woman. She is a young woman named Mitsuye Endo. Mitsuye Endo looked out from behind barbed-wire fences where she was incarcerated in this country some decades ago during the Second World War. Let me tell you about her. She was a 22-year-old clerical worker in California’s Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento, CA. She had never been to Japan. She didn’t speak Japanese. She had been born and raised in this country. She was a Methodist. She had a brother in the U.S. Army, unquestioned loyalty to the United States of America, but she was incarcerated—picked up, taken from her home, her job, her community, and put behind barbed-wire fences.

Now, she eventually got out of that incarceration, and her plea to the courts was what really led to the unlocking of those camps, and let those tens of thousands of Japanese Americans out of those camps. They had been unjustly viewed as enemies of our country and incarcerated. And with one young woman’s writ of habeas corpus, an awful chapter in our country’s history soon came to an end. Her question to the courts was a simple but powerful one: Why am I being detained?

Oh, and Andrew: don't be overly modest. Reenlisting with the knowledge that you could be sent overseas to see combat is, I think, just about the most one could ask for, if one dared ask. Any other suggestions I might offer are probably things that you learned in your first couple of months of training. May God be with you, but still remember to check six just in case.

Best wishes, Andrew

You're a good guy and good blogger. I'm grateful to you for serving and representing our country.

Tokyo Rose has lots of imatators espcialy in National Public Radio and in hollywood

There is a movie being made of the life of Iva Toguri - to be produced and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption & The Green Mile) currently being written by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liasions & The Quiet American) - based 'in part' on the book by Masayo Duus - "Tokyo Rose: Orphan of the Pacific" -- Ms. Toguri gave her life story rights to Darabont's Darkwoods Productions. Here is a quote from Frank Darabont - released on her passing" "Iva Toguri was an extradionary woman with enormous personal courage and integrity. In the face of rabid public sentiment, media villany, cultural and racial injustice, she fought long and hard to preserve and celebrate her American Citizenship. She was a true inspiration and I am deeply honored to be entrusted with the honor of telling her story, and proud to be counted as one of her many friends and admirers. My thoughts and prayers are with her family."

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