The AP reported (“US Marine general says Okinawa troops not a burden“) that the commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific argued that the military presence in Okinawa was a blessing, not a burden to the Japanese.
The U.S. troop presence on Okinawa should not be seen as a burden but as a benefit, a senior Marine Corps general said Friday, despite calls from some Japanese leaders to move a major American base off the crowded southern Japan island.
Lt. Gen. Keith Stalder, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, said the more than 13,000 Marines on Okinawa play a key role in securing the region from threats such as North Korea, and said the presence should continue.
“I’m frequently concerned when I hear the word burden used as a description,” Stalder said. “I suggest that it is an obligation under the alliance to do the hosting and basing of U.S. forces. And for that, the government of Japan gets the services of one of the best and biggest militaries in the world.”
Tell that to the Okinawans. It reveals the arrogance of power that governs US strategy and military policies in the region. Stalder is based at Camp Smith. Under his command it is not surprising that the Marines in Hawai’i are trying to redraw the boundaries of the Kanaka Maoli burial sites in Mokapu so that they can build a training facility. It may also explain why the Marines chose to take concrete slabs that contained crushed bone fragments from Kanaka Maoli iwi kupuna and use it as fill for construction projects.