Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tokyo Rose, American Hero

Oh, just read about it here.

What makes me happy at the end of a heartwrenching story is her pardon by President Ford in 1977 -- perhaps this even makes up for that other pardon -- and the fact that Iva Ikuko Toguri lived another 30 years as a free American woman, her name and reputation vindicated. Honestly, sincerely, I'm proud of my country for that.

If you ever hear any of her actual broadcasts, or what remains of them, or those of the other women called "Tokyo Rose" it's obvious they could never have been taken seriously by the servicemen they were intended to demoralize. So I'm not at all surprised to hear that she was deliberately subverting her own broadcasts, making them comical and ineffective; it's obvious just listening to them. I knew they were hilariously funny the first time I heard them...long before the real story came out.

If I may hamfistedly tie this in with a parallel to recent events...consider what a soldier faces on the battlefield. The heat, the blood, the illnesses, cramped quarters, unprotected vehicles, lack of proper equipment, lack of body armor, improvised explosive devices in the road, other people trying to kill you every day. Don't you suppose those things are a greater threat to troop morale than any propaganda broadcast could be? Do you imagine any soldier would ever say "Sure, my best friend just had his face blown off, and my shirt is spattered with his brains...but hearing a political candidate criticize the Commander in Chief is what wounds my fragile, delicate sensibilities?"

Anyway. In wartime, Iva Ikuko Toguri did much good for her fellow Americans and no demonstrable harm, faced terrible hardship and personal risk to save lives, and we should honor her memory as a true American hero.

Update: Read a more detailed account of her true story here.

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