Page 12 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • July 22, 2009 hired him to do for free, out of gratitude. “People say Japanese this and Japanese that, but if it wasn’t for the Japanese I wouldn’t be here,” he said. Many Armenians, incidentally, were rescued by German missionaries and even by one German general, who told the Turks that if they touched one Armenian in his (Turkish) Army, he would go home and tell the Kaiser. They remember. The Greek plumber had a longer memory – or was a more honorable man – than some of the British diplomats who let the 20-year treaty lapse in 1922 because Canada and the United States were worried about Japanese immigration. Two years after influencing the British to scrap the treaty, the United States set a quota of exactly 100 Japanese or Koreans allowed to come to America. European nations got immigration quotas with five figures. Any more questions about how some countries came to dislike us? The problem with waving the flag too much is that you tend to get it wrapped around your head so you can’t see what is happening elsewhere. This tends to make you stumble and trip over your political feet. We assume that we are the greatest country in the world – still true, I think, because of our political system and our natural resources – but we also assume that we are the selected target of immigrants from all over the world who are just tripping over themselves to get here. This part needs a second look. Most Asians and some Eastern Europeans would much rather live in France or Germany, where the racism is less palpable and the reduced opportunities are offset by a far less violent society and a social system that works better if you are not especially ambitious. Neither France nor Germany has let itself get drawn into the decision made by a couple of previous administrations to follow up the Cold War with a War on Islam. Remember all the France-bashing that took place during the days when we thought all the world’s problems would be solved by invading Iraq – a country that did NOT attack the World Trade Center and, dictatorship or not, had a decent record for tolerating Christians, unlike some of the Islamic countries whose oil we love more than life itself? I never agreed with the war on Iraq. I assumed we would make short work of their field armies due to our technical prowess and the high quality of our volunteer army, but that we would never be able to subdue the resistance at any moral cost the American people would deem acceptable because most Muslims do not want to live in a secularized society, and many of them will die before they do so. We need to have our foreign policy controlled by people who know how to think, who know something about the rest of the world, and who are not controlled by media cheerleaders on the take from foreign governments and corporate interests. Here is a brief example of how little we understand media morality. During the hostage crisis that helped vitiate the Jimmy Carter administration, some friends of mine from the American Indian Movement were called upon to deliver mail to the hostages being held in Teheran and to bring back mail for the hostage families in the United States. The American Indians – political neutrals if ever there were any – brought back a printed list of which American journalists were on the take from the Shah, and for how exactly how much. John Chancellor and Hugh Downs did not take any bribes. The American Indians were not news junkies plugged into city room gossip, but Chancellor and Downs both had a reputation for honesty and integrity, so that part of the picture fit perfectly. The one newsperson who was down for $100,000-plus in bribes is still alive, so I won’t mention her name, but she was always broadcasting stories about how wonderful the Shah was and how much the Iranian people all loved him. In fact, a lot of Iranians hated the Shah, as became obvious when they kicked him out, and after the United States supported Iraq in a war against Iran, they didn’t improve their opinion of us one iota until we sort of evened things up by invading Iraq and not Iran. Iranians love Americans today, according to objective travel reporters who have been there. Americans are more popular in Iran than in most counties of Europe, but the Iranians do not necessarily love American foreign policy. It is not in their interests. The story of the 2,000 dead “POWs” isn’t new. The story was on the front page of a national news magazine when it happened in 2001. Some people exulted. Others yawned. Few who lost neighbors at the World Trade Center were upset. The story at that time was that the Afghans on our payroll rounded up the Taliban members taken prisoner. The prisoners were placed in moving vans and driven to a prisoner of war camp in 100-plus degree heat. When they opened the moving van doors, a lot of the people who danced when the World Trade Center was blown up were dead. They wanted to die fighting America and they got their wish. The deaths that bothered me were the Iraqi civilians who got killed in bombing attacks. The numbers are said to be close to 100,000, most of them women without rights and children. These deaths – when we have a chance to recycle some more politicians – may go down in history as a war crime, just as Dresden and Hiroshima are war crimes everywhere but in Britain and the United States. Gun-toting Taliban hoodlums who vowed to die fighting Americans are not innocent victims. Let us not sacrifice Afghans who obeyed our orders liberating their own country because we need to make friends with unattached Muslims or conduct a media circus to take our minds off the economy. The news last week was that President Obama ordered a probe into the mass execution of as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war in Afghanistan. The news, as usual, is a bit skewed. A prisoner of war is someone captured in hostile uniform. The Taliban fighters, to the best of my recollection, were not wearing uniforms, and were not supported by the majority of Afghans when they entered that unhappy country illegally from elsewhere. They were not prisoners of war. They were fanatics and guerillas. It’s a big bad world out there, and once the boys put down the books and pick up the guns, guerillas are always executed. We did this in the Philippines 109 years ago, the Japanese did it in Korea and in China, the Germans did it in Belgium during World War I and in Russia and France during World War I, the French did it in Algeria, and none of the invading forces should have been in these countries. Those who opposed us, of course, were villains while we were merely misunderstood. The South Koreans and the South Vietnamese did it while they were our allies – though of course our boys never did it. Oh, right, there was that guy named Calley who killed something like 121 women and kids at point blank range in some place called My Lai, and got a year locked up in a motel with his girlfriend before a presidential pardon let him out to work for his father-in-law. The response to Obama’s request for an investigation has more prickles than a porcupine. The Afghan warlord who supposedly did the killing was on the CIA payroll, and helped us kick the Taliban out of large parts of Afghanistan where they were not wanted anyway. Afghanistan, also, was the Vietnam of the late Soviet Union, whose long overdue demise was widely cheered in civilized and decent countries like Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, so he was, in essence on our side whether he knew it or not. What are we supposed to do? We could say, “Sorry, Dostam, you took our money and you did a very useful job of work for us but now it’s time to throw you to the wolves because we want to suck up to Muslims in Africa and Indonesia.” Imagine how happy that would make him, his tribal warriors, the country he helped liberate from a bunch of fanatics, and anybody else who might contemplate taking our side against hostile madmen. How many other allies are we likely to attract if we visibly render them disposable? Not many people remember this, but Japan was an ally of Britain and France, and ultimately of the United States, during World War I. Japanese destroyers convoyed Australian and New Zealand troops to Gallipoli in 1915, where the Turks fought the ANZACs to a standstill and they later had to be evacuated. They fought German U-boats in the Mediterranean. Some of the same Japanese destroyers rescued Armenians fleeing the resultant massacre by the Turks and dropped the Armenians and some Ionic Greeks they also rescued off in safe territory. Nobody in mainstream history books ever mentions this. I learned about it 40 years ago when a Greek-American whose grandparents were rescued told my wife and me the story, and did the plumbing we We’ve heard this all before Ridgewood’s Benjamin Franklin Middle School (BFMS) recently held a Promotion Day. Speakers were Student Council President Riley Clark and classmates Natasha Brotsky Janice Sung. All students who were interested in speaking were asked to write an essay about their memories at BFMS. Natasha and Janice along with Riley, the student council president, were selected to present their thoughts at the ceremony. Pictured are Riley Clark, Natasha Brotsky and Janice Sung. Memories of middle school