[Editorial]US Marine Corps officials’ insulting remarks: It is time to leave

February 14, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

U.S. Marine Corps officials have frequently made insulting remarks against Okinawan people opposing U.S. base construction. Their remarks are not just personal opinions, but reflect an entrenched attitude. We cannot help but say prejudice is deeply ingrained in the Marine Corps organization .

There have been injuries to citizens protesting against construction work for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to Henoko, Nago. Capt. Caleb D. Eames, the deputy public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Base on Okinawa, referring to this, said, “The attempt to appear injured is laughable when you see it in person.”

The results of an investigation carried out by the Ginowan City Government show the number of Osprey flights is increasing. Regarding this report, “break out a calculator and do the math for yourself,” Capt. Eames posted on Facebook. He has no consideration for the people suffering from problems caused by U.S. military bases. His remarks are not just an expression of personal opinion, but amount to just mental abuse. His attitude is a disgrace, and shows he is not fit for the job of public affairs officer.

Such insulting remarks are not only coming from Capt. Eames, but also other officers. Maj. Tim Kao, the commander of Camp Gonsalves in the Northern Training Area in Higashi, accused residents protesting against construction of a helicopter landing zone (helipad) of being paid by a fundraising group, nonprofit or political party. He has used accusatory language against the residents, while providing no proof for his claims.

Moreover, Robert Eldridge, the foreign policy deputy director of U.S. Marine Corps on Okinawa, posted this comment; “Wake up folks,” in defense of Capt. Eames’ remarks which initially appeared in an article on the Japan Times.

Reporters at the Ryukyu Shimpo asked the three officers what their true intentions were, by email or over the phone and in direct contact with them. However, they refused to comment. If they have responsibility for their own words, they should explain publicly their intentions.

A position directional written for public affairs operations states “Tell the Truth. The joint force commanders’ public affairs personnel will release only accurate information.” The verbal abuses made by the three marine corps officers go against the mission of the joint public affairs of the United States Forces. They are not entitled to continue their duties. If U.S. Marine Corps leave this issue without further comment, the officers’ remarks will be taken as the mission of the U.S. military.

The U.S. forces highlight a “good neighbor” policy regarding stationing in Okinawa. The officers’ remarks show that they are willing to behave as a good neighbor but only to residents who favor the U.S. military presence. They have become a bad neighbor to residents who raise any objection to it.

Such an opportunistic neighbor is a nuisance for residents, and not welcome in Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT)

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