Thursday, January 17, 2013

Japan's deniers use anti-Semitism

In the October 2012 issue of the popular Japanese monthly magazine, Seiron, is an unattributed commentary on the Bataan Death March. The author dismisses the brutality of the March by asserting that the Americans were racist cowards and prevaricators who willfully murdered civilians. Passages from Dr. Lester Tenney's book, My Hitch in Hell, on the battle of Bataan and the Death March are used as "proof."

The Seiron writer emphasizes his point by identifying Dr. Tenney as Jewish, thus drawing on common prejudices against the Jewish people as villainous, lazy liars. Dr. Tenney, a former tank commander from Company "B" of the Maywood 192nd Tank Battalion and the last Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, persuaded the government of Japan in 2009 to issue a formal apology for Imperial Japan's the abuse and misuse American POWs.

Anti-Semitism is used to separate veterans like Dr. Tenney from other “Americans” and to imply that his quest for justice is corrupted and not mainstream. The point is to isolate those who want sincere apologies for the war by suggesting that they as not true Americans. To do this, the Seiron article selectively quotes Dr. Tenney and employs false facts. This article is part of the current greater effort, under the new Japanese government, to deny Japan’s war history and to undo Japan’s few war apologies of which one was to the American POWs of Japan that was based on the Murayama apology of 1995.

Below is a translation of the Seiron article and HEREyou can see APP's 
correction of the facts with a full analysis of the piece and links to additional information.

Unnamed author, Seiron, October 2012, pp. 35-37
Provisional Translation by Asia Policy Point

The bombardment on the Philippine’s Clark Field came almost at the same time as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two weeks later, on December 22, 1941, Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma and his 40,000 troops hit the shores of the Lingayen Gulf. Subsequently, they defeated the American and Filipino forces, which were three times stronger than those of the Japanese.

MacArthur was terrified and reported to Washington the abandonment of Manila and started withdrawing to the Bataan Peninsula. Cowards always run fast when they escape. Lester Tenney, a Tank Corps member who had just arrived at Luzon, was a coward equal to MacArthur.

His Tank Corps rushed to the Bataan Peninsula, avoiding any encounter with the Japanese. According to his book, the Bataan Death March, he wrote that he killed all residents and “indiscriminately shot at shops and huts because we could not distinguish Filipinos from the Japanese” when they passed by a small village.

He also wrote “we killed those who did not have identification” and “we fired the tank cannons to blow up four houses with their families because they tried to leak the American presence to the Japanese.” Though he is, in fact, a Jew, it seems he thinks that the whites have a special privilege to kill any colored people.

Six months later, he surrendered to the Japanese. The Japanese forced him to walk to a camp, which was only 120 kilometers away. Half of the march was actually “by freight train” (Ibid.). He exaggerated as if “it was a march from hell.” The foolish Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada invited him to Japan and apologized.

It would have been better to send him [Tenney] to The Philippines and try him for killing many innocent people. 

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