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Interview :: International
Boston filmmaker talks about the need for a Department of Peace in this article and interview
by paul arenson
Email: paul (nospam) tokyoprogressive.org
27 May 2005
Modified: 08:08:09 PM
Brookline filmmaker, David Rothauser, is going to Japan this summer to complete a mixed-documentary on the nueacler victims known as Hibakusha. People can help in myriad ways. Please see the article on the film:
Below Mr. Rothauser talks about his proposal for a Department of Peace in an article and accompanying interview.
Japan's Constitutional "Article 9," the so-called "peace article, is now threatened by its right-of center government eager to please the U.S. and legitimize the use of its so-called Self-Defense Forces. This it is doing either by reinterpreting its pacifist document or by throwing it out altogether, and it comes at a time of resurgent nationalism in the form of radical right-leaning revision of school history texts and continuing visits to an infamous shrine, "Yasukuni Jinja". This shrine houses not only a few "class-A" war criminals (as many liberal media report) but also honors and glorifies Japanese imperialism and aggression, something almost never mentioned in either the vernacular or international press.
ARTICLE BY MR. ROTHAUSER (INTERVIEW FOLLOWS)
Article Nine, America's Gift To Japan
by David Rothauser
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.
Sakini, the 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.
"Okinawa very fortunate. Culture brought to us. Not have to leave home for
it. Okinawans most eager to be educated by conquerors. Deep desire to improve friction.
Not easy to learn. Sometimes painful.
But pain makes man think.
Thought makes man wise.
Wisdom makes life endurable.
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
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 request.
The Diet called an emergency meeting.
"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 60 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 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 imagination.
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 Koizumi thinks 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 neighbors.
The very 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 60 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 Sates is after the Koizumi 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 years of peaceful living in the second highest world economy is a powerful incentive to pursue a world free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
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 governments.
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 60 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 courage that America currently 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.
SOME QUOTES OF NOBLE NOTE
June 14, 1946: "We are here to make a choice between the quick and the dead. That is our business. We must elect world peace or world destruction." Bernard M. Baruch, a Wall Street speculator and American rep. to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission. His plan was that an International Authority would have jurisdiction over all atomic energy activities potentially dangerous to world security.
"Had we been willing to wait, the naval blockade would have starved the Japanese into submission." Earnest King, Chief of Naval Operations
"Even without the atomic bomb and Russian entry into the war, Japan would have surrendered in two weeks." "The atomic bomb is the worst thing that ever happaned." General Curtis LeMay, Commander 20th Air Force and head of Strategic Air Command
"When they ask why we died, tell them our fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling
David Rothauser is a filmmaker/peace activist producing a film in Japan this
summer called "Hibakusha, Our Life To Live." All donations are welcome to
make this educational film a reality.
INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ROTHAUSER (R)
Q. How did you become interested in World War II?
R. I grew up in America during WWII. I was seven years old when Japan bombed
Pearl Harbor. Every day of my childhood was filled with images of the war.
There were air raid drills, an army base in our town, soldiers marching on the
streets. We grew a Victory Garden. I saved my money to buy a War Bond and
signed my name to a bomb. My friends and I played "War Games," sang patriotic
songs, went to all the Hollywood propaganda movies.
Q. Did you ever question the truth of the propaganda?
R. Never. We loved our President (Roosevelt). We thought anyone who appeared
Asian was Japanese, therefore "the enemy." We were taught and believed that
everything our government did was right and more importantly God was on our
Q. Did you expect to become a soldier when you reached 18 years of age?
R. I dreamed of going to West Point. I saw the war as glamorous, heroic,
great uniforms, and victorious-we would win in the end-and accompanied by a
Q. Did you ever question your own feelings about the war?
R. When I was 10 years old I had a dream that our town was bombed at night by
German war planes. When I woke up the next morning I crept to the window to
see the damage. To my surprise nothing had changed. But my stomach felt pain.
There was an emptiness. For the first time war felt real to me.
Q. When did you begin to change your mind about Japanese people?
R. Ironically from fiction books and movies. "Sayonara" by James Mitchener
made a deep impression on me. I began to study the art and culture of Japan and
to meet Japanese people on a personal level.
Q. Did your actions lead to political activities?
R. Only on a personal level at first. It began for me after a summer in
Germany. That's when I began to write plays and poetry dealing with war and peace
The first play I wrote was a two character play between a German and a
Q. What brought you to study and write about Hiroshima-Nagasaki?
R. I had read John Hersey's book, Hiroshima during the 1960's. I never forgot
it and began to question why it was necessary for America to drop the bomb?
The usual answers such as, "It saved lives," didn't satisfy me. One day I
attended a lecture at Harvard by Phillip Morrison, one of the chief scientists who
worked on the Manhattan Project. After the lecture I asked him if the
scientists at Alamagordo knew of the long-term effects of radiation before the bomb
was dropped? "Oh sure, we knew about them, but it wasn't a consideration." I was
shocked by the casualness of his answer. I began to learn about Japan's
political relationship to America before WWII. It was not all that we had been
told. I learned that the reasons for Japan's attack at Pearl Harbor were very
complex. More importantly I learned that people in the Roosevelt Administration
probably knew that Japan would attack Pearl Harbor, then failed to alert the
commanding officers Admiral Kimmel and General Short.
Q. Did these revelations motivate you to dig deeper?
R. It took a long time, but eventually I discovered that Japan had a "Peace
Constitution." Digging deeper I found that it had been developed and written
one week by liberal members of the U.S. Foreign Service. By all accounts it
is one of the most liberal, democratic, anti-war constitutions ever written. It
is a strong, unwavering Constitution.
Q. How can it be un-wavering when the Koizumi administration is lobbying to
drop Article Nine, the Peace Clause? And he's gaining more support from the
R. In 1950 the United States, in a shocking turn-around tried to coerce the
Japanese government to drop Article Nine and go to war against North Korea. In
a show of immense courage and strength Japan refused. She has remained
un-wavering in her support of Article Nine for 59 years. There were many
opportunities for Japan to drop Article Nine and deploy an aggressive army in world
conflicts, but she has remained steadfast. The world at large would do well to
follow Japan's example of economic and peaceful leadership. John Dower's book,
Embracing Defeat, is an excellent study of the dynamics behind the Peace
Constitution and of Japan's commitment to peace even in the face of intense political
pressure to take up arms in support of a "new imperialism."
Q. Ideally, what course of action would you support for Japan in the future?
R. Personally I feel it is past time for Japan to throw off the shackles of dependence
upon America as her protector. Japan's strength will be in the future of her
commitment to her own values.
FIND OUT ABOUT Mr. ROTHAUSER's FILM PROJECT IN JAPAN THIS SUMMER AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
This work is in the public domain