Letter to the Editor/ Vox Populi by Jim Saito 9/15/06
There should be more people like Ehren Watada, and not just in the military. There are many government agencies, city, state and national organizations ruled by two-bit Hitlers, educated idiots and supported by gutless “yes men”.
Lyn Crost’s book “Honor by Fire” is a “tell it like it is” book.
When the 100/442 was moved to France from Italy, I believe they were used as cannon fodder. They were expendable. They were put under the command of General John E. Dahlquist, a stubborn and complete idiot. He was a “desk jockey” general. He was responsible for the plight of the Lost Battalion.
From the get-go, General Dahlquist put the 100/442 in untenable situations. The army’s way of blindly obeying orders led to many unnecessary and tragic deaths of the Nisei.
Deep into the rescue campaign, Lt. Allan Ohata and Colonel Alfred Pursall defied Dahlquist’s orders to charge uphill with fixed bayonets. It would have meant a total annihilation of their men. Lt. Ohata refused the orders. He was willing to face a court martial. Ohata and Pursall said that they would do things their way to save as many lives of their men as possible.
Should Ohata and Pursall face a court martial for disobeying orders? To those that condemn Lt. Watada it would seem so.
I can’t believe that all of the members of the veterans’ organizations would condemn Lt. Watada. I’m sure my brother Frank (deceased) of Company H would have supported Lt. Watada. Frank was not a flag waver or a yes man.
The mind set of many in government in 1946 believed that the Nisei were still just “Japs.”
In 1946, Lyn Crost overheard Sam Rayburn discussing statehood for Hawaii with two men. Rayburn said, “If we gave statehood to Hawaii, they’ll send a delegation of “Japs” over here.” Lyn Crost was stunned. Rayburn must have heard of the rescue of the Los Battalion by the 100/442.
To this day “Bully Boy Bush” starts a war in Iraq on faulty information received from his team of educated idiots and supported by gutless yes men.
Many believe, like Lt. Watada, that the war in Iraq is illegal. Was General Shinseki’s sound advice ignored because he is a Nisei? A war that was supposed to end in a few months may never end.
Grant Ichikawa, Katsuji Kobata and Howard Okada call Watada an embarrassment to the veterans. I think the veterans’ organizations are an embarrassment to those of us that were imprisoned in 1942 by F.D.R..
When the war memorials were built, why did they allow the hypocritical words of F.D.R. in 1943, “America is not or never was a matter of race or ancestry,” to be engraved on the monument?
F.D.R.’s words were used to con the Nisei to enlist in the Army to become cannon fodder.
The Thurman, Naval and F.B.I. reports stated that we Issei and Nisei were not a problem. Why didn’t F.D.R. say those words in 1942 instead of allowing General DeWitt to say “A Jap is a Jap”?
The reason F.D.R. didn’t support us was that the white farmers and fishermen got to him.
The Issei not only lost farms and boats, but they also lost 20 to 30 years of hard work.
I never felt I had to prove anything. F.D.R. proved he was an unprincipled bigot.
Even though the heroics of the 100/442 hastened our acceptability, I believe without the 100/442, eventually we couldn’t be denied our birthrights. All we had to do was be ourselves.
Before the exploits of the 100/442 were known, many Issei and Nisei settled in the Midwest and East. Good people were accepted by good people. Soon the work habits, literacy, and intelligence of the Issei and Nisei were recognized- making them more than welcome.
I shall never forgive F.D.R. for putting us into concentration camps. It was not all fun and games for the Issei, especially the women who suffered in silence. Many people don’t realize that the plight of the Japanese American railroad workers was even worse than for those of us put in camp.
The abuse of power is a terrible thing for the abused.