Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Hard Look at Ken Burns Vietnam

Those who had fought in Vietnam recalled the Thousand Yard Stare of the traumatised soldier as he returned from the field of battle carrying the emotional scars of those lost deep within him. While this author will never know this experience first hand, I can suffice to say that in the three episodes I have viewed thus far have left me emotionally spent. This has been a hard thing to watch every hurtful morsel of truth that has come out. I'm sickened, saddened, even mortified, and just plain shocked that this happened. Worse, knowing fully that those at the highest levels of the American government including LBJ knew this was a disaster before he made his famous speech of July 1965 that sent my late father to Vietnam to fight a war that was already lost. Had the US Marines and Air Mobile Division not arrived in 1965, Saigon would have fell to the North by early 1966. All good intentions aside, the American Government knew as early as 1963 particularly after the coup & assassinations of Diem and Nhu that further American involvement would only delay the inevitable. But those above them kept this from the public. To Burns credit, he shared candid interviews with former NVA & Viet Cong fighters who fought our troops. It is safe to say they controlled over 50% of the countryside. It was with every wrongful death we contributed to, ten volunteers to fight for the VC would emerge. Our vast superior firepower could not account for the terrain nor the climate. Not knowing the culture or the history of Vietnam did not help either. France had left a mess in thier wake. Cold War tensions, threats of Soviet World Domination, and pressure from the French led the Americans to drop our early support for Ho Chi Minh (who we helped his fight against the Japanese) and back the French setting the stage for the greater tragedy to come. After a series of operations where American Advisors were left with ARVN troops ccommanded by Diem Cronies who refused to fight or on occassion cough on patrol to deliberately reveal their locations to the enemy, it was clear to those Americans on the ground that this was a lost cause yet stubborn Texas pride of LBJ went in anyways knowing fully he was betting on a bad horse. And there the American President went on to lie to the nation and justified a commitment to fight Communist aggression in South East Asia on a scale that would kill millions of Vietnamese on both sides and some 58,300+ Americans. By taking charge with American Combat Troops, we essentially took the fight away from ARVN and took full ownership of this debacle thus leading to what the NVA so rightfully called "The American War."

I can not imagine what many of you who were there are going through watching this. Even more so for our Vietnamese friends who must feel betrayed by Saigon's ineffective corrupt leaders who contributed to this human catastrophe and ultimate capitulation. They had an opportunity to build a nation. Instead, those who could make the most difference made out for themselves. Sooner or later the truth had to come out. I am certain there are some truths Ken Burns could not cover but from my perspective I feel he deserves an Emmy for this if not a Kennedy Honors for this arduous task of compiling the heroic struggles, the lies, and the human cost of the war. It is clear that America has not learned from the painful lessons of Vietnam. It is my hope that this documentary is shown to young people so that they will learn the mistakes of this tragic era and work to ensure that such endevors no matter how well intentioned are not repeated again. Every heartbreaking moment should be watched, discussed, and studied. It is only though confronting this past that ghosts of Vietnam can begin to find peace. In the end we will look back to Vietnam and take a hard look at where we are now. If you do not have access to PBS toview this, please check listing on the internet. The Truth is yours.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

North Korean Missiles Over Hokkaido

Welcome to a scary new world where Kim Jong-Un has acquired the capability to fire a ballistic missiles over Japan. In light of the absence of American Leadership though the abdication of commitment on the part of the Trump Regime, Japan has come face to face with the realities of an aggressive neighbor bent on waging war. While Japan's populace abhors the idea of abandoning the pacifist constitution imposed by the Americans at the end of WWII, this weeks events that saw three North Korean missiles fly over Hakodate should serve as a wake up call that Japan must scrap Article 9 and mobilize its forces to meet this crisis. While the United States Navy has pledged to honor its long term commitments to the defense of Japan, neither the Self Defense Forces or the United States do anything to stop these missiles from violating Japanese airspace. Had those missile been armed and malfunction or worse deliberately targeting Sapporo, Japan would have no choice but to defend herself which would almost certainly guarantee retaliation that would plunge the region into war.
We have stated many times we do not want war. At the same time we feel that to prevent a war one must have a strong defense. Article 9 limits Japan's capability to do that. This must change regardless of what protests Beijing sends Tokyo's way. The Belligerents of North Korea don't care about how Japan feels about the past. They want to prove they can hurt their one time colonial masters and thanks to their recent acquisition of technology allegedly from the Ukraine, Japan must act. This is about protecting Japan and right now Japan is threatened. I hope that PM Abe will push for stronger measures to protect Japan. But scraps of paper are not enough. It's up to the Japanese people. We hope they have heard this wake up call and will move towards a stronger defense to protect those they love.

Japan's First V-22 Osprey

Seen here is the first of 17 JSDF V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor craft performing engine tests at the Bell assembly plant in Amarillo Texas. This will be the same variant used by the US Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa. First flight tests are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Sayonara Gojira

It is sad news that we must share the passing of Haruo Nakajima. During WWII, he served as a gunner on a GM4 bomber and later was assigned to Shinyo suicide boats. Fortunately for us, he survived the war and found a new career in film where he was a stuntman and actor in Kurosawa films. From 1954 to 1972 he was the man in the rubber suit that played Godzilla. A charming, genial man, he was adored by his American fans in his many convention appearances here, even as recently as a few weeks ago. He will be missed, and long remembered. We at American Mishima offer our condolences to his family. 
Sayonara Naka-chan.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Obon 2017

Those who have passed on in 2017 at the Koyasan Temple.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back from the Dead: Texas Flying Legends Zero Restored

It was in 2016 that a taxiway accident involving an F-4U Corsair and the Texas Flying Legends A6M2 Model 21 Japanese Zero nearly cost the Zero community another plane. The Corsair crashed into the tail section of the Zero nearly obliterating it with its propeller.
We are happy to announce that the Zero has now been fully restored with a new tail. It is expected top take back to the soon.
Great Job Restoration Team!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Lost Earheart Evidence Debunked

Earlier this week, the History Channel aired a special claiming that lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were captured by the Japanese. The show alleged that they were taken to Saipan and died in there captivity. Further, they show claimed that the United States Navy knew about it and covered it up! Their big evidence came from the above photo that through recognition software was able to establish the identities of the doomed aviators. But it took a Japanese blogger by the name of Kota Yamano to dig deep and find the truth that this photo was taken in 1935 and not 1937 as the History Channel show concluded. The one thing that troubled us here at American Mishima was that if the above photo had merit to a capture by Japanese military forces of the Empire of Japan, then why were Earhart and Noonan not under guard by the Kempeitai of the IJA? And if Japan had indeed captured her and held her as a spy, then why didn't the Japanese use her as a propaganda tool like they did with some many captured airmen during the war? Why? Because it didn't happen that way!
It's widely believed that Earhart ditched her Lockheed Electra just short of Nikumaroro Atoll aka Gardner Island. It is uncertain how they wound up off course but this is where they believed this tragic tale ended. Based on bone fragments matching a Caucasian Woman and other items such as a woman's compact and a women's shoe sole, it is believed that she survived the crash. It's likely Noonan did not. The evidence suggests she likely held out for five months and ultimately succumbed to exposure and dehydration. Such a tragic end to a brilliant career but not at the hands of the Japanese. We are ever thankful to Kota Yamano for debunking this poorly researched story. It is an embarrassment for the History Channel to have aired this without further research. Mr. Yamano said of this: "I find it strange that the documentary makers didn't confirm the date of the photograph or the publication in which it originally appeared," he told The Guardian, "that's the first thing they should have done."