Reparations For Guam: Insanity Squared
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.