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« Big Tent progressivism | Main | Business opportunity »

Dec 06, 2007


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"We took land from Japan, established military bases in all three countries mentioned, and established ourselves as a military and economic power in ways and regions of which we had only dreamed before."
What land are you thinking of? I don't know all the history, but weren't most of the islands like Iwo Jima not historically Japanese? Are there any historically Japanese islands that are in our possession now? I am not trying to zing you; I truly don't know.

The military bases are all leased from those countries, and we would leave if they wanted us to, just look at the Philipines. In fact, the BRAC process (base relocation and closing process) has upset many of our European allies because they like the economic development that comes with bases.

Daniel in Brookline

Perhaps what Ed means is that land conquered by Japan was taken away from Japan as part of the war. We took other things away from Japan as well; we wrote their new Constitution for them, for example, and made sure they would abide by it.

And perhaps what Romney means is that, if we took things away from other countries, we did not take them for ourselves, for our own gain. We demand no tribute from other countries, even those we legitimately conquered. Indeed, only a few years afterwards, we invested enormous treasure to rebuild those countries, and to feed them and keep them warm.

Colin Powell said it best, in my opinion: "We've put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives. We've asked for nothing but enough land to bury them in."

Daniel in Brookline

John Burns

Isn't this the same guy who reportedly recently said he couldn't be bothered to hireany muslims into his cabinet?

yep: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1107/7059.html

Cal H

Ed, overall a great post but I have to question your ending statement. Okinawa was considered historically part of Japan but was returned by us to Japanese posession in 1972. The bases we established were for the defense of the defeated from soviet expansion, not for reasons of imperialism as your statement seems to imply. Contrast this with the USSR's annexation of Sakhalin in 1945, followed by their expulsion of 400,000 Japanese from the island in 1949. As the Russians were looting the industrial infrastructure of Europe, removing whole factories to Russia, we were launching the Marshall plan. The rise of American military and economic power was the natural effect of the expansion of our industrial production caused by the war not the result of anything we appropiated from the shattered. I'd have to say that Romney's view of history is more defensible than yours.

Ed Cone

Thanks for the comments. Agreed that we did not take land and make it our own by right of conquest for as long as we could hold it.

But we did take land and hold some of it for a generation, and while we leased bases in Germany and Japan we imposed that relationship and did so for reasons of our own far beyond pacification of those particular nations. Not saying it was a bad thing to do so, just quibbling a bit with Romney's sanded-edge version of history.


A deeply offensive speech, especially this line:

Freedom requires religion...


Interesting that it was given at the library of Poppy Bush, who once said that atheists weren't Americans.

I realize he was pandering to the lizard brains of the fundamentalists but this was really offensive.

In Kennedy's famous speech, he said:
"I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end — where all men and all churches are treated as equal — where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice."

Note the not attend part.

Ed Cone

Good point on the "freedom requires religion" line, I meant to include that in my criticism.

Kip Watson


I'd say that freedom definitely does require religion. Where there is no religion, where atheism is in effect the state religion, freedom will disappear. This has happened repeatedly.

But that doesn't say everyone is required or ought to be religious. He didn't even suggest it -- you just wrongly inferred it.

Romney was making a profound and profoundly true point. That an unreligious person would read an attack on atheism into into a defense of religion rather proves his point.


"Isn't this the same guy who reportedly recently said he couldn't be bothered to hireany muslims into his cabinet?"


Besides being a misrepresentation of what Romney said.....

"'His question was did I need to have a Muslim in my Cabinet to be able to confront radical jihad and would it be important to have a Muslim in my Cabinet,' said Romney, 'and I said, "No I don't think you need to have a Muslim in the Cabinet to take on radical jihad any more than during the second world war we needed to have a Japanese American to help us understand the threat that was coming from Japan."

The people who would be part of my cabinet is something that I really haven't given a lot of thought to at this point, but I don't have boxes I check off as to their ethnicity…instead I would choose people based upon their merits and their capabilities,' he added."

......your comment brings up an important point.

Perhaps we need an affirmative action program for Muslims in a presidential administration.

What percentage do you suggest?

Dave Dobson


The fact that 20th century communists are anti-religion (in addition to being anti-business, anti-capitalism, anti-elitism, anti-education, etc., etc., etc.) and were also very repressive does not prove that religion makes one free. If you want to make a list of where religion has led to enhanced individual rights vs. where religious folks have been doing the persecution, I think you'd find that list skewed not in the way you indicate.

It may well be that freedom augments and enhances religious faith for individuals; I hope that's the case, although it's not something I've personally experienced. But governing through the tenets of a particular religion, whether overtly or implicitly, does not enhance the freedom of those not sharing the religion. The intertwining of religious fervor with government was not at all what the founders intended; read some Jefferson.

You say Debra's reaction proves Romney's point, but from where I sit, you're actually proving Debra's.

Kip Watson


And if Romney said, 'in order to have a high level of health, society needs doctors', would you reply that the crazed Doctorists are oppressing you and forcing everyone to go to Medical School?

Dave Dobson

Um, no, but I also wouldn't say that doctors:health::preachy politicians:freedom.

There are many religions that nominally support freedom, but very few of them support freedom from themselves. And even the ones that support freedom still have a moral code that, if turned into law, would restrict the behavior of non-believers. For example, in my experience, modern Quakers are pretty much pro-everybody and certainly pro-freedom, but if they were writing the laws to suit themselves, we might have severely strict gun control and a very limited military.

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