America’s Gift To Japan
In 1946 The United
States Government decided that Japan needed a peace
constitution. One was written. It included Article Nine which
stated that Japan should never make war again.
Okinawan interpreter for the U.S. Army in John Patrick’s play
“Teahouse of the August Moon” reflects on this the most
democratic, liberal, anti-war constitution ever devised by man.
fortunate. Culture brought to us. Not have to leave home for
it. Okinawans most eager to be educated by conquerors.
Deep desire to
Not easy to learn.
But pain makes man
Thought makes man
Wisdom makes life
So…We tell little
story to demonstrate splendid example of benevolent assimilation
of democracy by Okinawa.”
The ink had barely
dried on Japan’s new constitution when America found herself
embroiled in another war, this time in Korea.
“Drop Article Nine
of the Constitution,” said Uncle Sam. “Go to war against North
Japan went into
shock. The American Eagle was acting irrationally. They had just
completed a four-year war against Japan, fire-bombed Japan’s
largest cities, A-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, demanded an
unconditional surrender—and now wanted Japan to fight for the
U.S. against North Korea.
It went against
every human rights principle America claimed to stand for—self
determination, “do unto others as you would have them do unto
you,” only engage in defensive wars for peace.
Above all Peace for
Japan—no more war forever.
Japan had barely
dug herself out of the rubble of World War II, could barely feed
herself, could hardly treat her radiated victims of
Hiroshima-Nagasaki. The physical, psychological and emotional
trauma was so huge—and now the Great White father wanted her to
tell her people that Article Nine was a mistake?! A lie? Take up
arms against her Asian neighbors who already despised her for
the atrocities she committed during the war! Send the rag-tag
remnants of her thoroughly crushed military back into battle?
Surely this can’t
be! The Eagle of Peace must have eaten some bad Sushi. Japan has
fallen to an all-time low. It’s an unforgivable sin. Bad Sushi
is the only explanation for the Eagle to make such an outlandish
The Diet called an
“Don’t tell the
press and the media that America wants us to drop Article Nine.
Don’t tell our people. It would cause a national embarrassment.
Instead let us cement relations with our benevolent conqueror as
though nothing had happened. Instead of dropping it, let us
embrace Article Nine as though it is a gift from heaven. But
above all feed the Eagle our best Sushi!”
This was done. The
result is that Japan has prospered as one of the world’s
economic giants and more importantly has lived in peace for 62
years. Not one Japanese soldier has been lost in war since 1945.
Not one civilian has suffered the agonies of war since 1945. It
is a legacy to be proud of.
What might have
happened if Japan had dropped Article Nine in 1950? She most
certainly would have gone to war against North Korea—then China.
Vietnam would have followed. Japanese soldiers would have been
led to the slaughter—just as American soldiers had been led—by a
pack of lies. That is fact. The lies are legion. From Roosevelt
to Bush II, lie after unmitigated lie. As a sample read former
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s book, In Retrospect,
which chronicles the lies perpetrated upon the American
people during the Vietnam war by the Kennedy and Johnson
Administrations. Add to that the LBJ audio tapes. They
corroborate everything that McNamara says.
America lost 34,000
young men in Korea and 58,000 in Vietnam. In addition she lost
many thousands more maimed, missing and forgotten. How many
Japanese youth would have been sacrificed? It is left to our
It is not
inconceivable that a pattern would have formed, an expectation
that Japan would follow America’s lead in the crusade to
democratize the world—by force if necessary, and by the tacit
threat of nuclear annihilation, necessary or not. Is this the
Japan of the 21st Century? Apparently Prime Minister thought so.
Right Wing neo-cons think so. Roughly 50% of the Japanese
population thinks so. The Japanese government wants to be rid of
Article Nine. This will pave the way for Japan to have a
permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. It will
give them an army capable of making pre-emptive military
strikes, an army that will be respected by the world community
and an army that will strike fear into the hearts of her Asian
Constitution that helped establish Japan as a model for peace
and prosperity around the world, a model that can project Japan
as the number one leader in that sphere could suddenly cast her
in the image of an imperial, self-aggrandizing bully still in
the shadow of her American protector, if she drops Article Nine.
Is there an
alternative? There’s always an alternative. It comes from
imagination and the desire to survive. Japan has lived for 62
years under the illusion of American security. That illusion was
self-sustaining until the reality of 9/11. America the
“protector” was rendered supremely vulnerable by the sudden
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not only can
she no longer protect her friends and allies, she is incapable
of protecting her own people. That reality is repeated every day
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Japan has a
real advantage. The Peace Constitution. By embracing it in 1950
and saying, “No,” to American coercion, Japan took the first
step in becoming the world leader for peace. Now Japan has a
golden opportunity to inspire other nations to embrace the idea
of peace as an organizing principle where non-violence and peace
become one and the same. Where the dynamics of non-violence and
peace become ingrained in every person’s daily activities, where
the spirit of Wa becomes the dominant force in every
society. Japan had the power to say, “No,” in 1950. Now she has
the power to say, “Yes!” to independence from the illusion of
American security. To say, “Yes!” to the abolition of nuclear
weapons. To say, “Yes!” to Article Nine and the Peace
Constitution. By so doing Japan will become a beacon of hope to
the world. Her beacon will unite instead of divide.
May we reflect a
moment to the time (1945) when weapons of mass destruction were
first introduced. Atomic warfare changed the face of war
forever. Nations having nuclear weapons possess the capability
of igniting a nuclear holocaust that threatens all life on the
planet. Battlefields are obsolete. Conventional weapons are
obsolete. The enemy is as much the tiger behind the gates as
the tiger at the gates.
The threat of
nuclear war has been used as an act of psychological terror
since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
There is no
excuse for it. It is blatant war-mongering at its worst. We, the
most powerful nation on earth have the responsibility to lead by
example....but we lack the long term vision, imagination and
fortitude to take the initiative to lead by alternative means.
Force and control is all we want to know.
Peace is an
undefined obstacle to world domination.
Now the United States
is after the Fukuda administration to drop Article Nine. The
stakes are much higher now for life on the planet than they were
in 1950. But the Bush Administration’s gambit is a form of
Russian Roulette and they’re gambling with our lives. This
initiative should be seen as a warning. A warning to all
life-affirming nations and world citizens to sound an alarm.
Demand that President Bush take a new initiative to support the
Japanese Peace Constitution as a model for world peace, rather
than as a convenient tool for world domination. Sixty-two years
of peaceful living in the second highest world economy is a
powerful incentive to pursue a world free from the threat of
While Government is
interpreted as being “for the People,” we, the people have no
choice but to follow. Government makes laws, makes foreign
policy, enforces laws, enforces foreign policy.
We in the peace
movement follow each indignation with a reaction. Until we
exercise our Constitutional Right to Government by the people we
are doomed to follow. Our peace movements will remain relegated
to a hideous dance of death as we protest in the streets while
millions are murdered in the name of peace by our imperialist
The stakes are
higher now than in 1945. With the continuous development of
nuclear weapons all life on the planet is threatened. Our
survival is at stake. It is not Japan alone who needs Article
Nine. It is the world. Now in America there is a bill before
Congress to create a Department of Peace on a Cabinet level in
our government. We have never had a Department of Peace. Ohio
Congressman Dennis Kucinich filed this unique bill that would
bring balance to our government that has no philosophy for
peace, no plans for peace without war and no budget for peace. A
Department of Peace would give us a VOICE where there is none.
The Department of
Peace as proposed by Dennis Kucinich is an inspiration and a
challenge to America as a true super power to lead the way to a
world opposed to war, to a world that may live in relative
harmony, free from the fear of major wars of mass destruction.
To lead in this fashion will take immense courage, a unique
vision for the future of humankind and the will to break the
bonds of war as a means to an end.
As a second step
may I propose that America amends its Constitution to include
it’s own version of Article Nine? After all, it is we who
created the idea for Japan in 1945. And it has worked for 62
years. We can create one for ourselves too. It will work. A
Peace clause in our Constitution might read something like this:
"From this day
forth the Government of these United States and its citizens
here-in will never more declare war outside of our geographic
borders. So too shall this great government and its citizens
abolish and destroy the design and planned use of all nuclear
weapons including those nuclear weapons stockpiled over the past
50 years. In addition may this amendment put into motion a
concerted effort by every Presidential Administration from here
unto perpetuity to exercise their leadership by supporting the
United Nations and the International Court in law and deed to
establish non-violence as an organizing principle by which all
nations may live in peace and harmony."
It is here that
Japan may play a major role. By keeping Article Nine in her
Constitution she will have displayed the strength, vision and
lacks. Japan’s fortitude will serve as an impetus for America to
live up to its own ideals.
The leadership of
this great country has a golden opportunity to lead by example
in this respect. We have the power, the resources and the
imagination to secure the survival of life on earth. Life is a
precious gift. May we live it without fear.
My background in
seeking a world without war began in 1960 (Germany). I began
writing anti-war plays, essays and poetry. Upon returning to
America I helped organize a curriculum course at Hunter College
in NY with sociology professor Alfonso Pinckney called
Violence In American Society. Subsequently I taught my own
course for 5 years at Newbury College in Massachusetts titled
War & Peace: America in Vietnam, spoke publicly on war and
peace issues, organized Model UN sessions with students over war
and peace issues and was active as a writer/speaker in support
of the Dennis Kucinich campaign for President in 2004 with a
particular focus on HR 2459, A Department of Peace.