Pearl Harbor: Should Abe Apologize?

The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japa...
The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. USS Arizona sunk at Pearl Harbor. The ship is resting on the harbor bottom. The supporting structure of the forward tripod mast has collapsed after the forward magazine exploded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On May 27, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, site of history’s first atomic attack on August 6, 1945. The Japanese government did not ask Obama for an apology, nor did he offer one.

On December 27, Shinzo Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese attack on the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941. The US government hasn’t asked Abe for an apology, nor is he expected to offer one.

Some Japanese citizens — especially those who survived, or lost loved ones in, Hiroshima — believe an American apology is warranted.

Some American citizens — especially those who survived, or lost loved ones at, Pearl Harbor — believe a Japanese apology is warranted.

Both groups are wrong. Few people are left to apologize to and none to offer an apology. The senior politicians and military figures of World War II, those who planned and ordered both attacks, are dead.

Shinzo Abe was born nearly 13 years after Pearl Harbor, Barack Obama just two days shy of 16 years after Hiroshima. Neither had anything to do with Pearl Harbor, with Hiroshima, or with the war the two countries waged against each other in between those terrible days.

Of the two, Abe has a better argument for declining to apologize: Multiple Japanese governments have publicly apologized for, and in some cases paid reparations for, Japan’s aggression back them.

On the 70th anniversary of VJ Day (the day World War II in the Pacific formally ended), Abe himself expressed regret for the Japan’s aggression, but correctly  spoke against continuing such gestures and letting “our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise.”

Beyond a certain point, apologies not only cease to be needed but become mere rituals rather than genuine expressions of contrition.

In America, the subject of “reparations for slavery” occasionally becomes a matter of interest. When it does, many quite correctly point out that there’s nobody to pay such reparations, nor anyone to pay them to. Every American who was ever a slave owner, or a slave, is dead.

That’s not entirely the case with respect to World War II, but it’s nearly so. Now is the perfect time to stop endlessly demanding apologies from each other for past wars and instead join with each other in dedication to the prevention of the next war.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


Censorship: Tech Firms Should Abandon the EU to Its Madness

Ban Censorship (RGBStock)

The European Union has a censorship addiction, and a desire to inflict the costs of indulging that addiction on the world’s top tech companies.

Vera Jourova, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, complains that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft respond too slowly to demands that they delete posts deemed “hate speech” from their platforms.

In May, those companies “voluntarily” affirmed a code of conduct committing themselves to 24-hour turnaround on doing Jourova’s dirty work for her. Six months later, she claims the companies are too slow and that the EU may be “forced” to enact laws to punish them for not shutting people up as quickly as she wants them shut up.

All this follows other similar EU nonsense, including an absurd demand that search engines acknowledge a “right to be forgotten,” under which individuals could demand the removal of unflattering or inconvenient (but accurate) information from public view. The industry knuckled under to that in the EU, which quickly came back demanding they implement it worldwide.

Agreeing to the “code of conduct” was far from the tech industry’s first mistake. As Kipling wrote, “once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane.” By legitimizing a litany of claimed powers to conscript them as censors, the firms virtually guaranteed that Jourova and her gang would keep coming back with more, and more bizarre, demands.

The EU needs technology more than the world’s tech firms need the EU. At some point, the EU’s constant attempts to shift the costs of (and the public oppobrium aimed at) its ever-increasing police statism onto those firms will make doing business in the EU too expensive to be bothered with.

The world needs more of the “Wild West” atmosphere that censors in the EU and elsewhere attribute to it. A country with decent Internet infrastructure to constitutionally commit itself to non-interference with network traffic and content of all kinds would have a great pitch: “Domicile in our territory. Low taxes, no censorship. Countries that don’t like the traffic can bear the financial and political costs of blocking it.”

If the EU is unwilling to join civilized society and protect, rather than suppress, free speech, it should at least be forced to bear the full costs of its backward authoritarianism until it straightens up.

The tech industry should tell Vera  Jourova to pound sand, and make it stick.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


Boeing’s Iran Business: The War Party versus American Jobs

Boeing 747-200 of Iran Air at London Heathrow ...
Boeing 747-200 of Iran Air at London Heathrow Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In June, US aerospace company Boeing inked an agreement with Iran Air to produce 109 passenger aircraft. Estimated value: $25 billion. The agreement represents the biggest business interaction between the US and Iran since that country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

On November 17, the US House of Representatives voted 243-174  to block the deal. The Senate seems unlikely to follow suit president Barack Obama would almost certainly veto the bill, but Boeing’s stock took a temporary 2% tumble on the vote.

Why do House Republicans (the vote was pretty much party-line) want to destroy thousands of American jobs and hammer the revenues of a major American manufacturer?

The stock answers:

Iran has an active nuclear weapons program (the US and Israeli intelligence communities say it doesn’t).

Iran is violating the 2015 deal to end the non-existent program (the International Atomic Energy Agency says it isn’t, apart from a few ten thousandths of one percent more heavy water than the deal allows them).

Iran sponsors terrorism (even if that’s true, the US lacks moral credibility to complain about it given its 25-year, 24/7 terror campaign comprising hundreds of thousands of killings across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa).

Those are the War Party’s talking points. The conventional wisdom among the non-insane population looks more like this:

For nearly 40 years — ever since the Iranian people rose up and overthrew the authoritarian monarchy installed by the US in a 1953 coup  against its democratically elected government — enmity with Iran has been a sacrament of American political class religion. It’s one of those cold war relic feuds that our politicians just don’t quite know how to let go of.

I think that conventional wisdom gives the political class too much credit for morals and too little credit for guile. The truth, in my opinion, is more along these lines:

Boeing builds swords and it builds plowshares. That is, it builds military aircraft and weapons systems on one hand, and civilian passenger aircraft on the other.

When Boeing builds plowshares, the only thing it’s beholden to the political class for is permission. It shouldn’t even have to ask pretty please, but unfortunately does. The politicians don’t hold the purse strings, though. It’s legitimate business.

When Boeing builds swords, on the other hand, it works directly for the politicians. The end user is either the US armed forces or a foreign military approved of, and probably funded by, American politicians. Kiss the ring, Boeing.

The War Party (both Republican and Democratic wings in tag-team fashion), given the opportunity, prefers to forbid Boeing to build plowshares and keep it in the position of begging to build swords.

Not that Boeing is innocent in all this. Since World War II, the primary mission of the US government has been to transfer money from your pockets to the pockets of Boeing and other “defense” contractors.

But Boeing’s 150,000 employees are relatively innocent. Those employees have families and friends. All of them who vote should remember which members of Congress tried to send them to the unemployment line on November 17.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.