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    Mother love

    Everyone is aware that Atsushi, always looking out for my well-being, has told me not to read the Asahi, yeah? And that the only reason I do is that I’m a disobedient boy? Okay. As long as we’re straight (so to speak) on that, one of today’s editorials is a model of weightless sentimentality, as you can see if I can just manage to pin the following citation down so it doesn’t float away:

    The most beautiful English word is “mother” to non-native speakers of the tongue worldwide, Britain’s organization for international exchanges found in a survey. The British Council polled 40,000 people.

    Other words that followed “mother” on the list included “passion,” “smile” and “love.” But “father” was not on the list, though I looked through it to the 70th place.

    The phrase “mother test” has several meanings in the United States. One of them is that the the U.S. president, as commander in chief of the armed forces, must be able to explain to the mother of a U.S. soldier why her son or daughter might die in some armed conflict.

    You can see where this is going, right? Actually, if you do, maybe you should tell me. I’ve read the whole thing, and I’m still not exactly sure what the big policy point is. The idea that adding a provision about withdrawing Japan’s SDF personnel if the on-the-ground situation in Iraq deteriorates seems odd at this juncture–that strikes me as warranting half a paragraph, not a whole op-ed, but otherwise, the author doesn’t, um, have, like, a whole lot to, y’know, say.

    But you know what? That doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that we’re all once again assured that President Bush is a very bad man:

    Was the addition of the provision a year later a ploy to soothe the stiff public sentiment against extending the term of the Iraqi mission? Couldn’t appropriate measures be taken if it were not for such a provision? How did the troops fare in the past year without it? [Just fine, dumbass, which explains the almost complete absence of casualty reports–SRK]

    This summer, I read the words of an American mother whose son had died as a soldier in Iraq. “It was the hollowest letter I have had in my life,” she said of the form condolence letter she received from President George W. Bush.


    Added (just barely) on 16 December: I’m not sorry I posted this one, but I do normally try to avoid just clipping the stupidest section of an article I don’t like, appending some smarty-pants comments, and then pushing “Publish.” I would, therefore, just like to repeat that I wasn’t aiming to produce the ultimate slap-down of the arguments against the Iraq War in general or the deployment of SDF personnel there specifically. I was just dumbfounded that someone working for the Asahi actually got paid to write an editorial that could have been scribbled on the back of a bar napkin after 13 rounds of shochu.

    Of course, I don’t think that the Koizumi administration is being out of line in extending the deployment. There was, after all, a Diet election a few months ago, which voters were incessantly admonished to treat as a referendum on Koizumi’s WOT and economic policies. Everyone who voted for an LDP or Shin-Komeito candidate knew that that meant formally supporting that coalition’s war policy and had the chance to send the opposite message. I’m sure a lot of people struck an uneasy balance between foreign and domestic issues, perhaps hoping that Bush would be voted out of office in November and the Japanese support for the Iraq occupation would become less intense. But those are the trade-offs you have to make as a voter, and you don’t get a do-over when external circumstances shift in ways you didn’t gamble on.

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