Reparations For Guam: Insanity Squared

Fellow contributor Jason Pye notes on his personal blog this absolutely insane piece of legislation:

The Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act is scheduled to be considered and voted on in the House Committee on Natural Resources this week. This is the first stop on its way through the legislative process in the 110th Congress. This version of HR 1595 is the very same version of the bill that was prepared to go the House floor last year, but never made it there before adjournment of the 109th Congress.

The bill would authorize payment of claims to surviving spouses and children of those who died during the occupation, to survivors of the occupation who suffered injuries who were forced to labor and who were interned, and to surviving spouses and children of those who survived the occupation but have since passed away. There are no changes in terms of the proposed claims amounts and categories of claimants from the bill that was reported out of the House Committee on Resources and the House Committee on the Judiciary in the 109th Congress.

To make things perfectly clear, the power that occupied Guam during World War II was the Empire of Japan. And, while I appreciate the loyalty of the citizens of Guam during the occupation, the truth of the matter is that any suffering that they experienced is the responsibility of Japan, not the United States. Moreover, and to be completely frank about it, Guam has benefited over the past sixty years or so from the American military presence there and from its status as an American territory.

Quite honestly, if anyone owes the citizens of Guam reparations for what they had to endure during the war, it’s Japan, not the United States.

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  • georges

    You do realize, don’t you, that “the citizens of Guam” are actually tax-paying citizens of the US? The US signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan in 1952, which set down the terms for all the reparations the US was going to get from the Japan, which Japan thereafter paid in full. The blame for the fact that the US government never got around to sharing those reparations with its own citizens in Guam doesn’t lie with Japan.

  • Clynt

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you nor do I take a particular stance on this issue but I must enlighten you to some facts that may help you better understand the issue as a whole.

    It is true that Japan is responsible for those attrocities however it is the U.S. government who forgave Japan for all those attrocities. Since Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States and not an independant country it’s government cannot ask Japan for reparations. Guam could ask the federal government to ask Japan for reparations on Guam’s behalf however because the U.S. already forgave Japan this makes it impossible to seek reparations. This is the reason why those who are seeking reparations are instead asking reparations from the US federal gov’t. It is their belief that the U.S. forgave Japan without any input from Guam therefore it is also their belief that the U.S. should ultimitately be held responsible for war reparations.

  • http://jasonpye.com/ Jason Pye

    Oh…and read some of the comments I’m getting.

  • Don Lloyd

    …Moreover, and to be completely frank about it, Guam has benefited over the past sixty years or so from the American military presence there and from its status as an American territory.

    I would be reluctant to call it a benefit even if Gaum had been granted statehood status. As a territory, we can be certain that its interactions with the US have almost solely served US purposes and interests.

    Regards, Don

  • jerry fell

    Did Japan make any reparations to those U.S. servive men and woman killed or wounded by there forces? Also what if anything was done for our POWs in the Pacific?