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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Protection Racket

After 60 years, the US military is finally planning on withdrawing some of 50,000 troops who have been occupying Okinawa for 60 years. (I'm sure W needs them to rebuild the levees in New Orleans. What other possible reason could there be? Oh crap.) Since we pulverized Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese have let us write their constitution and quietly built our cars and TV's and bought our debt ever since, posing not even the slightest of military threats to the US. Nevertheless, Okinawa has remained a popular destination on the military vacation circuit, and the nuisance and worse caused by the hard-partying Americans has been a non-stop annoyance to the natives. (See Chalmers Johnson's excellent book, Blowback, for more on Okinawa and other US military colonies around the world.)

Anyway, the US finally decides it is time for the troops to leave, at least partially, and the Japanese will be thrilled to see them go. Except that the US negotiator (why do they need to negotiate?), whose name is appropriately "Lawless," insists that the Japanese pay for most of the cost of bringing the troops home (or send them to Iran or whatever), which the US claims is $10 billion.

Bionic Octopus points out that there is a name for this sort of activity:
Hey, what do they call that thing where you muscle around someone else's property making their life really difficult and maybe roughing them up a bit for emphasis, and then make them pay you to go away? Oh yeah! Protection.
Cue Lee Greenwood:

Yes I'm proud to be an American 'cause I do not have a clue
Any crime that's done is okay by me if it wears red white and blue
And I'll dumbly stand up, cheer her on, as she blows the world away
'Cause there ain't no doubt I'm dumb as nails I am the USA!