By Max Burbank
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
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
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.