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If you are an American, you probably pronounce it as I did up until a few years ago: "Baton."  It's "Ba-ta-an"; Tagalog, like Spanish, does not have dipthongs; each vowel is pronounced.  Just as the name of the province that gave its name to the infamous "Death March" in 1942 has been given an American gloss, so has the tragedy of the March itself.  Yes, it was an terrible tragedy for Americans.  Many more of those who died were Filipinos.

My brother-in-law -- usually a deft and delightful Cindy-Shermanesque self-portrait artist when away from his day job in Philippine television -- posted something more serious today, commemorating Bataan.  With his permission, I'm sharing an adaptation of his post, commingled with material from Wikipedia.

Note: General DKos copyright customs notwithstanding, all photos are copyrighted by the photographer.  Contact diary author re licensed usage.

After three months of laying siege to the southern Bataan Peninsula, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded on April 3, 1942 and won its victory in the Battle of Bataan in less than a week.  They had not planned on winning so quickly; they were unaware that the U.S. troops had been on reduced rations and were suffering badly from malnutrition and disease due to the siege.  Estimates I read today of the number of POWs ranged from 72,000 to 78,000.  About 60,000 of them were Filipino.

The Japanese Imperial Army's priority was its military buildup in preparation for its assault on the island of Corregidor.  They didn't want Americans and Filipinos around observing those preparations and their tactics; in any event their logistical system could not have borne the burden of so many POWs.  They had anticipated only 25,000 Allied prisoners emerging after the battle; they had presumed that the Americans would hold out for a month longer than they did (by which time supply lines would be in place to support the prisoners).  The siege was too effective.

The Japanese Army at Bataan was not a highly motorized force; it had no spare vehicles to use to transport the prisoners.  The prisoners could only be relocated by foot.  The plan had been this: POWs were to be marched 25 miles to the central collection point of Balanga in a day, after which they would be given food marched an additional 31 miles to the town of San Fernando.  They were to be transferred by rail to Capas, then marched 9 miles to the abandoned military outpost Camp O'Donnell.  A march of 25 miles a day was considered standard for the Japanese army, whereas 15-20 miles was achievable by U.S. troops only under the best of conditions (and in this case, the U.S. troops were exhausted after five days of battle, malnourished, and suffering from a host of tropical diseases).

The Japanese had no plan adequate for the circumstances -- so they improvised.

Prisoners were stripped of their weapons and valuables and told to march to Balanga. The first major atrocity occurred when between 350 and 400 Filipino officers and NCOs were summarily executed after they had surrendered.

The forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war involved wide-ranging physical abuse and murder.  Prisoners were given no food for the first three days; they were only allowed to drink water from filthy roadside water buffalo wallows.  Japanese troops would frequently beat and bayonet prisoners that began to fall behind, or were unable to walk.  Soldiers improvised.

Once they arrived in Balanga, the overcrowded conditions and poor hygiene caused dysentery and other diseases to rapidly spread amongst the prisoners. The Japanese failed to provide them with medical care, leaving U.S. medical personnel to tend to the sick and wounded (with little to no supplies).  Trucks drove over some of those who fell or succumbed to fatigue.  "Cleanup crews" put to death those too weak to continue.  Soldiers improvised.  Bayonet stabs and beatings became more random.  Postwar archives, some filmed interviews, offer accounts of being forcibly marched for five to six days with no food and a single sip of water.

Many reached San Fernando; many did not.  Here the stories from American and Filipino sources diverge.  American sources place the death toll at between a minimum of 6,000; a maximum of 12,000, perhaps 18,000.  Filipino sources state that only about 30,000 of 60,000 Filipino soldiers survived the trip from Abucay and Mariveles in Bataan to San Fernando, capital of Pampanga.  The prisoners were collected to disembark from here.


The prisoners were stuffed into closed boxcars, 100 or more per car, unventilated and sweltering in the tropical heat.  The trains had no sanitation facilities, and disease continued to take a heavy toll on the prisoners.  From San Fernando, the prisoners were transported by rail to Capas, where they were unloaded and began the second phase of the Death March.  After they reached Capas, they were forced to walk the final 9 miles to Camp O'Donnell.  In Camp O'Donnell, 30-50 survivors continued to die per day, thousands in all.  However many prisoners died in the march, many more died in the internment camps from its delayed effects.  Most of the dead were buried in mass graves that the Japanese dug out with bulldozers on the outside of the barbed wire surrounding the compound.


Every year on April 9, the captured soldiers are honored on Araw ng Kagitingan ("Day of Valour"), also known as the "Bataan Day", which is a national holiday in the Philippines.  During the 1980–1990s, the Boy Scouts of America Philippine troop would reenact this 10 km march every two years along a portion of the initial route in Bataan taken by the soldiers.

On May 30, 2009, at the 64th and final reunion of Bataan Death March survivors in San Antonio, Texas, the Japanese ambassador to the United States apologized to an assembly of survivors for Imperial Japan's treatment of Allied prisoners of war, on behalf of the Japanese government.


Terrible things happened on all sides of the war.  None of them should be forgotten, nor should what happens in wars of today and in what wars we may fail to prevent tomorrow.

Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:35 AM PT: In case this diary hasn't depressed you enough, thatvisionthing would like you to know about the recent history of the U.S.S. Bataan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have been to the Philippines three times (63+ / 0-)

    Once was to visit friends who worked in the Embassy, with whom I would visit Siem Reap in Cambodia.  Once was to meet my wife's family; once to pick up our kids.  The town not far from where they live is San Fernando.  One street sign I saw near their ancestral home points to Capas.  The monuments, as you see, are in disrepair.

    Not until I returned to the states did I learn that these names might as well be Manassas and Chancellorsville, Antietam and Gettysburg.  Not mere place names.

    I hope that everyone has had a good Memorial Day, that everyone did it right.

    Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

    by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:10:15 PM PDT

  •  I was in the Philippines once in the 80s (19+ / 0-)

    We were driving from Manilla, then to Clark AFB (this was before the volcano), and then on to Subic Bay.  Somewhere along that route was a memorial to the Bataan Death March.  It might even have been the large boulder that you have in the picture.

    A truly horrific event.  Thanks for the reminder of just one of the horrors of war.

  •  My Dad Served in the Philippines at the Time of (19+ / 0-)

    our return, and he related some of these stories to us that he'd picked up while there, later when we were kids and WW2 movies & tv shows were all the rage.

    It never failed to impress me that essentially all the combat veteran adults leading our various educational or recreational activities took a dim view of boys fixating on army surplus gear and war play. I couldn't have been the only boomer to notice this growing up, which must have been some factor in the way Vietnam War resistance played out.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:23:03 PM PDT

  •  I am old enough to remember. (20+ / 0-)

    Nothing the Japanese ambassador could possibly say could atone for these horrors done in the name of Imperial Japan and the Emperor.

    I cannot envision circumstances under which any apology would suffice. There are some things that cannot be forgiven and must never be forgotten.  

    •  I know people who (14+ / 0-)

      could not forgive the emperor and would never buy a Japanese car.  I do believe that my Dad referred to Volkswagen as "Hitler's car" once.  

    •  Forgiveness is a funny thing (20+ / 0-)

      I suppose I can only hold contemporary Japanese as responsible for Bataan as I can hold myself responsible for the disproportionate response to the Balangiba massacre on Samar, in which thousands of Filipinos, mostly civilians were killed in reply to the fatal guerilla attack on about 40 U.S. officers.

      There's more where that came from, too.

      I agree that the Japanese cannot atone for those horrors.  In this respect, though, I have to consider myself Japanese as well.  Humans did this; humans cannot sufficiently atone.  But we can damn well try.

      Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

      by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:30:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was in Japan on an exchange tour when I was (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        confitesprit, polecat, Seneca Doane

        16. We happened to be visiting a nursing home in early August when we noticed some sort of ceremony on the television. Very solemn, acres of people standing together and a bell being struck. Suddenly one of the older girls stopped and said, 'OMG, what's the date today?'.  Yeah, it was Hiroshima Day, and we were a baker's dozen of American teenagers standing in the middle of dozens of people who were there when the bombs dropped. We didn't know what to do, we stood looking at each other, very uncomfortable. Then some of the residents realized that we'd figured it out and were quick to reassure is, through translators, that we were kids and they didn't hold us responsible for what had happened so long ago. It was still a pretty quiet morning.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

        by FarWestGirl on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:24:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree 100% (15+ / 0-)

      The uniform viciousness of the Japanese army to all POWs and the horror of the Rape of Nanking will not be forgotten by me.  My Dad served in the Pacific.  The USS Helena was torpedoed and my Dad's ship, the USS Radford began rescue -- then the frigging Japanese pilots started strafing the waters to kill as many as they could.  The Radford saved a little over 300.

      I just finished Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken.  Each page stunned and enraged me more than the last.

      So yes, there are evils in the world for which apologies can never compensate.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:33:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Rape of Nanking is one of the worst (15+ / 0-)

        horrors of war I've ever read about.  It should be taught about in every school.  It was the predecessor of many of the later horrors in the Balkans and Central Africa.

        Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

        by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:37:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We don't do a very good teaching job in the US (5+ / 0-)

        There continue to be those who think the civil war was about "states rights."

        The near extermination of North America's native population is taught as an "oh well, things happen" sort of story.

        How many folks really know what Pinkerton's was doing in the late 1800s and early 1900s?

        I agree with Seneca .... to a degree we are all Japanese - if by that we mean that we all come from societies that have at one time or another treated other human beings as far less than human.

        •  I do think these horror are worse they closer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane, Otteray Scribe

          they are to the present.

          Some countries/people do learn from their past. Japan and Germany were modern, mature societies when they committed their atrocities. By comparison the US is still a baby.

          While we may bomb - usually with a warning to the populace - and even commit water boarding, these are limited and thank goodness they are even controversial. We are allowed to protest these actions.

          The Bataan Death March, the Holocaust, etc were planned and carried out by their governments and backed by their people. Militarism and dictators seem to be the worst offenders.

          Progressives will win when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

          by auapplemac on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:17:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  While both were horrible, I don't think that the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mythatsme, the fan man, FarWestGirl

            comparison between Bataan Death March and the Holocaust is apt.  (I'm not one of those who say that nothing must be compared to the Holocaust, by the way; I thought that Rwanda, for example, was of a similar fabric.)  What happened in Bataan was that the Japanese didn't have a viable plan for moving that many POWs -- so the default plan was to let soldiers go nuts and use arbitrary violence, which had the effect of winnowing down the numbers and keeping complaints to a minimum.  It was rotten and animalistic, but it doesn't compare to the sort of cunning and sophisticated evil that came out of the Wannsee Conference.

            Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

            by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:33:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  USS Bataan (5+ / 0-)

        The sickening irony of it all -- the USS Bataan, a 600-bed hospital ship, has been used as a black site prison ship.

        "These secretive prisons are part of a global network in which individuals face torture and are held indefinitely without charge," he said.

        "All of this is in direct contravention of the Geneva conventions, international law and the UN convention against torture." The Ministry of Defence obtained a high court injunction preventing him from making any further allegations.


        A former prisoner told Reprieve: "One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship … before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other prisoners on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo."

        USS Bataan

        USS Bataan is one of the US government’s most infamous 'floating prisons'. At least nine prisoners are confirmed to have been held aboard the ship, including Ibn Al-Sheikh Al-Libi, who recently died in mysterious circumstances in Libyan custody.

        Jim White on Firedoglake wrote a diary last year about the Bataan, noting its then-current mission as a relief ship in Haiti:  The USS Bataan: From Floating Prison Ship to Floating Hospital and Haiti Relief Distribution Site.  But he didn't realize that in August-September 2005 -- Katrina -- the Bataan sat outside New Orleans, its 600 hospital beds unused.  (Did you know it was there?  I didn't.)   Tuesday, August 30, 2005:

        U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]

        It sat there, and Navy helicopters in nearby Florida sat there, wanting to be deployed but kept out of action by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  Covered in June 2009 GQ article on Rumsfeld...

        A FINAL STORY OF Rumsfeld’s intransigence begins on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans—and the same day that Bush viewed the damage on a flyover from his Crawford, Texas, retreat back to Washington—a White House advance team toured the devastation in an Air Force helicopter. Noticing that their chopper was outfitted with a search-and-rescue lift, one of the advance men said to the pilot, “We’re not taking you away from grabbing people off of rooftops, are we?”

        “No, sir,” said the pilot. He explained that he was from Florida’s Hurlburt Field Air Force base—roughly 200 miles from New Orleans—which contained an entire fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters. “I’m just here because you’re here,” the pilot added. “My whole unit’s sitting back at Hurlburt, wondering why we’re not being used.”

        The search-and-rescue helicopters were not being used because Donald Rumsfeld had not yet approved their deployment—even though, as Lieutenant General Russ Honoré, the cigar-chomping commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, would later tell me, “that Wednesday, we needed to evacuate people. The few helicopters we had in there were busy, and we were trying to deploy more.”

        with this snip from the Chicago Tribune:

        Captain ready, waiting
        "Could we do more?" said Capt. Nora Tyson, commander of the Bataan. "Sure. I've got sailors who could be on the beach plucking through garbage or distributing water and food and stuff. But I can't force myself on people.

        "We're doing everything we can to contribute right now, and we're ready. If someone says you need to take on people, we're ready. If they say hospitals on the beach can't handle it ... if they need to send the overflow out here, we're ready. We've got lots of room."

        In Spike Lee's New Orleans documentary, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise, Michael "Heckuva Job" Brownie talked about finally reading about Rumsfeld's role in the magazine.   He was dumbfounded.  It really does sound like he was scapegoated while Rumsfeld said nothing.

        I tried to figure this all out once, here -- what was happening in New Orleans, and where the Bataan was.  What sticks in my mind is that even when things were so desperate, on Thursday the Bataan and all its unused 600 hospital beds was moved to Mississippi.


        ...told CNN that more than one person is being scrutinized as a possible person of interest for crimes related to euthanasia that may have been committed there.

        ...Memorial Hospital had been a storm refuge for up to 2,000 people. Patients, staff and their families rode out the storm inside. But by Thursday, four days after Katrina hit, despair was setting in. The hospital was surrounded by floodwater. There was no power, no water and stifling heat. Food was running low. Nurses were forced to fan patients by hand. And outside the hospital windows, nurses tell CNN they saw looters breaking into a credit union.

        The hours, and then days, passed with only the occasional boat or helicopter stopping by to pick up patients. On Thursday, according to people who were there, there was a shift in tone at the hospital.

        The Bataan finally came back for New Orleans duty Saturday afternoon.

        •  Diary updated with a link to this comment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thatvisionthing, FarWestGirl, polecat


          Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

          by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:36:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not my father's Navy (5+ / 0-)
            Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:35 AM PT: In case this diary hasn't depressed you enough, thatvisionthing would like you to know about the recent history of the U.S.S. Bataan.

            Actually, what I'd really like you to know is that we weren't always like this.  I left a long comment earlier tonight in Crashing Vor's diary, Not a Diary. Won't Delete.   KenBee had left a comment about how his uncle had bailed out of a crashing B-24 bomber and had been saved by the Germans, and I replied with the report of how the German sailors from the captured U-505 were treated onboard my father's ship, the USS Jenks.  It's long, but I could soak in it:

            U.S.S. JENKS (DE665)  
             FLEET POST OFFICE  
              NEW YORK, NEW YORK.  
              File: DE665 TE/ A16-3.  
              Serial No. 0001 (cl).                                                                                                6 June 1944.  
            From: The Medical Department Representative.
            To: The Commanding Officer.

            Subject: Treatment of Survivors (prisoners) from German Submarine.

                      1.         At 1154 on 4 June 1944, one survivor was taken aboard over the port side from a small inflated life raft. He stated that he had been the Second in Command of the submarine. He had been wounded. At 1303 two additional prisoners came aboard from our motor whaleboat.  

                      2.         The German Officer's diagnosis is as follows: WOUND, LACERATED, SCALP, SHRAPNEL. 2. WOUNDS, MULTIPLE , SCHRAPNEL, BODY.  

                              (a) Upon being received aboard this officer was attended by McCOMBS, PhM2c, who examined him for possible concussion of head, fractures and possible internal injuries. The laceration of scalp, which was the most predominant wound was bandaged with a Battle Dressing Small. He was then brought to Sick Bay where the following treatment was administered. Wound was cleansed with tincture of green soap, area shaved; jagged edges were trimmed and cleansed with tincture of merthiolate; sulfanilamide powder was then sprinkled into the wound; two (2) sutures taken with good approximation of edges and again sulfanilamide powder was sprinkled onto the wound. The wound was then covered with a sterile 4 x 4 bandage and recurrent bandage of head was applied.  
                              (b) There were numerous small pieces of shrapnel covering the left hand, forearm, shoulder and just above the apex of the left pelvis, (hip bone). At first sitting there were about twenty-five (25) pieces removed from these areas, ranging from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in diamerter. After removal all places were painted with tincture of merthiolate.  
                              (c) Patient was also given one-half (1/2) cubic centimeter of alum precipitated tetanus toxiod. This patient was given a hair cut, shave, warm bath, clean survivors clothes (which had been supplied by the American Red Cross) and allowed to lie down. He was also offered food but refused stating that he did not have an appetite. He did drink a cup of coffee. Patient was not suffering from exposure and was in good spirits.  
                              (d) On the morning of 5 June 1944, after spending a rather restful night, patient's head wound was again dressed. A few additional pieces of shrapnel were removed at this time. Patient was in better spirits and had a rather good appetite.  

                      3.         The other two (2) survivors upon examination showed no injuries, externally or internally. They were given warm baths, shaves and hot liquids. They were also given clean survivors clothes which had been supplied by the American Red Cross.  

                      4.         On 5 June 1944, all three (3) of these prisoners were transferred to the U.S.S. GUADALCANAL (CVE-60). All were in good spirits upon leaving this vessel.  

                                                                                                          O. E. HILTZ, PhM1c, U.S.N.  

              ENCLOSURE (A) to PART I of U.S.S. JENKS (DE-665) report of action of 4 June 1944.  

            Dude, where's my country?

  •  One of the Horrible Chapters (17+ / 0-)

    ... of World War II, which had hundreds of such horrific stories spread over six long years of war from 1939-1945.

    As General Sherman once said, war is indeed hell.

    Apr. 10, 1942: The infamous Bataan Death March begins

    Following the fall of the Bataan peninsula to Japanese forces, some 78,000 Americans and Filipinos – huge numbers of them sick, starving, and wounded (those who are not, soon will be) – are force-marched in extreme heat and humidity some 80-90 miles to a Japanese prison camp in the backcountry of Luzon.

    Along the way, thousands of captives are beaten, raped, bayoneted, disemboweled, beheaded, or shot.  Those too weak to keep up with the march – or who stop to relieve themselves – are summarily executed.  All are deprived of food and water.  Fewer than 55,000 survive.  Fewer still will survive the prison camps or the so-called "hell ships" delivering them to labor facilities in Japan.


  •  Many were from New Mexico... (16+ / 0-)

    Because much of the Philippines still had Spanish speakers,
    soldiers from Spanish speaking Northern New Mexico were heavily represented.
    It was a terrible and shocking for New Mexico...some of these young men had hardly been out of their  mountian villages before they went to war.

    There is a museum in Santa Fe to honor them:

    •  That's really interesting -- I never knew that (8+ / 0-)

      I'll pass that along to my bro-in-law.  We're still hoping he visits soon.  I'd love to take him to Santa Fe.

      Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

      by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:38:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is also the "Eternal Flame" (10+ / 0-)

        that burns in font of the Capitol, with this inscription:

        this marker served to designate the location of the regimental headquarters of the 200th coast
        artillery (anti-aircraft), new mexico national guard, while stationed at ft. bliss, texas,
        during 1941. it was made by the men of that regiment. later that year, those same soldiers
        participated in the heroic defense of the philippine islands on bataan peninsula and were
        captured when it fell. they took part in the infamous death march, then went behind the
        curtain of secrecy of prison camps imposed by their captors, the japanese. anxiety and
        incertainty was the lot of their relatives and friends. this marker was moved from ft.
        bliss and placed on the state capitol grounds at santa fe. made by their own hands and thus
        representing an intimate link of memory, this marker became a shrine where friends and loved
        ones prayed for their deliverance. to perpetuate this sacred memory and to honor the heroic
        men of the 200th, both living and dead, the people of new mexico dedicate this monument.
        this plaque presented by
        bataan veterans organisation

    •  New Mexico still commemorates the March. (8+ / 0-)

      At least one annual event, The Bataan Memorial Death March, is a high desert marathon.

      I've had friends who ran this event.  The sponsors always make it a point for the participants to understand the horrors of the real March.

      "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

      by IndieGuy on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:46:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for writing this Seneca. (8+ / 0-)

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:38:16 PM PDT

  •  This was very informative. (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you. I never heard of the Japanese-won-too-quickly angle.  But it makes a lot of sense the way you tell it.

    Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

    by Quicklund on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:47:18 PM PDT

  •  Psst (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue armadillo, Seneca Doane, kaliope

    Have you seen the ad the title of you diary generated? Google ads have a sense of humor/irony.

    •  No, I'm on my iPhone right now (0+ / 0-)

      What is it?  When I see it, am I going to laugh, vomit, or yank off my own head?

      Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

      by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:12:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fillipno dating service..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane, FarWestGirl
      •  You will probably be seriously pissed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        It is another form of exploitation that goes on in our world.  If it is gone by the time you get to a real computer, let me know and I will share.

        •  Someone mentioned the Filipino dating service (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan, gchaucer2

          (which I'm guessing means Filipina dating service) above.  I'm guessing that's it.

          Yeah, Americans don't seem to understand that countries somehow resent it when you turn their mothers, sisters, daughters and granddaughters into prostitutes.  But of course we "redeem ourselves" by not letting anyone who has engaged in prostitution for the past ten years into the country.  We're so moral that way.

          Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

          by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:53:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Kinda misleading statement (0+ / 0-)

            I currently maintain a home in the Philippines and have been in and out of there since 1978. And yes it is true that many foreigners frequent the prostitutes there. But I doubt if you can find anyone who could prove that anyone other than Filipinos where responsible for putting the girls in that situation.

            Having seen the abject proverty in which many of the women live, its not a stretch to think that many women would prefer working in the bars. Thats not a justification for letting the menthat frequent prostitutes off the hook, it just a fact of life there. And until the economic situation changes, it will remain so. There problems are the same as ours, the few have much and the many have little or nothing.


            by Diamond Jim55 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:59:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The presence of American military bases (1+ / 0-)

              and the American support of Marcos, while he and (especially) Imelda looted the country, have a lot to do with that poverty.  I remember when the Philippines was expected to become what South Korea has in fact become.  It didn't happen.  Our country, unfortunately, had a fair bit to do with those choices.

              Correct me if I'm wrong, but it was not always such a "fact of life" there.  Europeans -- especially military adventurers, just seem to have a knack for making sure that women in areas in which they set up bases turn to prostitution.  (Just lucky, I guess.)  I don't think it's much like American prostitution, which is largely a function of drug addiction, girls running away from sexual abuse, and individual predation rather than purely the result of poverty.

              Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

              by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:12:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Spain ruled (0+ / 0-)

                since Magaellan set foot there in 1521. History shows that anywhere you have an occupation by foreign forces, prostitution isn't far behind. So I think its been a way of life" there for a long time. Usually where there is no "occupying" force you will almost always find its the locals that are soley behind the prostitution trade, at least based on my first hand knowledge of the Philippines.

                The Philippines oligarchy has been in place since the Spanish days so I can't put the blame of the US for its existence, but I do think we are responsible for perpetuating it since we first arrived. What else would you expect from the US, a country that was accustomed to such an arrangement.

                Everythng you stated about American prostitution also holds true for the Philippines. Their level of poverty just adds to the misery.


                by Diamond Jim55 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:53:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, I've been told by lots of people (0+ / 0-)

                  (including those who proudly note their Spanish ancestry) that the Americans were far better colonial overlords than the Spaniards.  My sense -- and admittedly this is merely from second-hand experience -- is that prostitution in the Philippines is a Big Business.  The descriptions I've heard from Americans stationed in the Philippines (and second-hand through Embassy staff) is that it's to normal colonial prostitution what Disneyland is to the traveling carnival with a few thrill rides.  I don't think that that came from the Spaniards.

                  Yes, there are usually prostitutes in most societies, but not in this sort of Big Business.  We're in South Korea too, but I don't hear fables of the South Korean prostitution industry.  Maybe I should write a diary about Korea and see what happens.

                  I think that had the Philippines become one of the Asian Tigers, as it should have (and I think would have but for the American-backed Marcos dictatorship), you'd see a much more demure prostitution industry there -- and fewer websites like the one whose ad graced this diary.

                  Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

                  by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:51:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Seneca Doane

                    Having spent time in South Korea in the 70's, 80's and 90's I also saw first hand of what it was and what it has trsansformed into. South Korea was very much like the Philippines as far as prostitution goes up till the time of their economic boom. They are a shinging example of my point about econimics being a significant contributor to prostitution. Now they import prostitutes from the Philippines and Central Asia to cater to GIs and other foreigners.

                    I also believe that the PI could yet still be an Asian Tiger if they can break the hold of the oligarchy. Marcos and those before him (with American help), did a number on the psyche of the people akin to the slave mentality which plagued Black Americans from emancipation until today. The crabs in a barrel mentality is alive and well there.
                     Since I plan to retire there nothing would please me more than to see a boom which benefits all the people.


                    by Diamond Jim55 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:51:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Not Phillipines, but Burma railroad during WWII (8+ / 0-)

    was another horrible encounter.  Our local PBS station WFYI, Channel 20, Indianapolis ran a special this week about an artist from Amsterdam, who lived through that horrible experience.  This artist now lives and works in Colombus, Indiana.

    Through art, the artist is trying to capture some of the feelings and cruelty. One particular painting moved me deeply.  He called it "Gates of Hell."  In it was pictured the place where nealy-starving. European  prisoners of war were forced to work around the clock to build a high pass for the railroad to reach Burma.  The" Fires of Hell" were the huge bondfires built at night to provide enough ligh, for the work to continue 24 hours, despite the heat of the jungle.  

  •  The American National Cemetery (8+ / 0-)

    in Manila:

    philippines cemetery

    From The American Battle Monuments Commission

    The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,202, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The headstones are aligned in 11 plots forming a generally circular pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:32:01 PM PDT

  •  My father was on Corregidor (11+ / 0-)

    He was on MacArthur's staff and was captured when Corregidor fell. He didn't talk much about his time in captivity but we did get a few stories over the years.

    He often told us kids that we should always believe in ourselves and never, ever, allow ourselves to give up - he swore that relatively healthy prisoners would at some point just give up hope...and be dead the next day. He truly believed that there was an inner strength of spirit that we must call on to survive.

    Whenever life gets "tough" for  me, I recall what he survived. And my problems seem puny in contrast.

    He survived the Hell Ship transit to Japan, work in the copper mines, beatings, starvation and illness. And the will to live kept him alive.

    Thanks for commemorating the horrors that these men experienced. They did feel like forgotten men when they returned.

    I had the honor of dining with the ADBC group several times and was there when the apology was given - not all in attendance felt it was an apology at all, and others...well, after the level of horror and all the years that had passed, it seemed somewhat inadequate, even if it was given sincerely. It was remarkable to hear anything resembling an apology from the Japanese.

    My father was a POW from April 1942 until the Americans found his camp in September of 1945. It is remarkable that he survived, and lived to the ripe old age of 83. He surprisingly did not hate the Japanese - he often told us how touched he was when the little old ladies along the streets would try to sneak rice balls into the hands of the starving prisoners as they were marched to the mines each day, even though these women were quite obviously on meager rations themselves....and risked beating and death if the guards caught them. Their generosity and bravery truly impressed him. He loathed the guards though.

    Thanks for remembering.

    How much can you donate to support our troops? NFTT needs your support. Donate today!

    by blue armadillo on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:32:25 PM PDT

    •  Blessings for your Dad (5+ / 0-)

      and his remarkable strength.  If you haven't read it, Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken is the story of the remarkable Louis Zamperini (world class runner) who survived not just 27 days in a raft after his plane was shot down but then over 2 years in a camp much as your father described to you.  You will understand perfectly why your Dad could only get out his story in little pieces.

      I honestly don't know how there are humans with the inner strength to have survived those conditions and those in Germany's concentration camps.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:41:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2, auapplemac, mofembot

      OK, next Memorial Day, you're up.

      Have you been to Corregidor?  I have something like 100 pix of it from my first trip to the Phils and would be happy to share them.  PM me if interested.

      Your father's attitude towards the Japanese is beyond admirable.  The story about the rice balls is deeply touching.  It takes me back to Claude Lansmann's Shoah, where the neighbor takes credit only for "bravely" making a throat-slitting gesture towards the passengers on the train to Auschwitz as a warning.

      Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

      by Seneca Doane on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:59:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not at all comparable, but my own mother (5+ / 0-)

      as a small girl in a midwestern town during World War II got in quite a bit of trouble for giving a glass of lemonade to a German POW who was with a crew laying bricks in the summer sun to pave the streets of her hometown not far from the POW camp.

      The kindnesses shown by human beings toward one another should never be discounted. It's a cliche to bring up the flapping of the butterfly's wings in China, but these acts smooth the way for a more peaceful future.

      After WWII, former German soldiers emigrated to the USA, and in the midwest, precisely because they had been treated humanely and had come to love the country and the people while prisoners. The POWs were treated firmly, according to strict rules, but not inhumanely.  The belief at the time is that we show what kind of nation we are by the way we treat our prisoners of war.

      It makes me sick to think what we are brewing in Guantanamo in comparison. Or the in the common attitude on the streets and in the media toward our imagined enemies in the unending "War on Terror."  

      Those old ladies handing over rice balls and my mother handing out lemonade as a small girl were the hope for the future. Cruelty brings something darker if we cannot move past it.

      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

      by YucatanMan on Mon May 30, 2011 at 09:38:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Baa Baa Black Sheep (3+ / 0-)

      I remember reading the book, by Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, about his fighter squadron and subsequent time as a POW in Japan.  He spoke of sneaking treats with the help of Japanese.  Just tried to find that anecdote, didn't, but found this on wikipedia:

      Boyington was a tough, hard-living character who was known for being unorthodox. He was also a heavy drinker, which plagued him in the years after the war, and possibly contributed to his multiple divorces. He himself, freely admitted that during the two years he spent as a P.O.W. his health improved, due to the enforced sobriety
  •  A little story... (9+ / 0-)

    About  20 years ago in Winter Park, FL, I used to eat breakfast at the counter in a diner.  One morning there was a man on the stool next to me, not quite right in the head.  The waitress told me he was disabled, a casualty of Bataan.


    I was well aware of what that meant.  I turned back to him and talked through breakfast.  He was genial but spoke with difficulty and had a hard time finishing his sentences.  He had been on the death march and was clobbered on the head by the Japanese, which left him the way he was.  He pulled out his wallet and showed me a green and white card stating that he was a veteran and a surviver of Bataan.

    I told him I was buying his breakfast.  He became very animated and would not allow it.  So I didn't, but when I left I paid the cashier for his meal.

    Can you imagine?  That man wouldn't let someone buy him a breakfast.  After what he went through for us.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:47:00 PM PDT

  •  In 1966 (7+ / 0-)

    my father couldn't help me make my Pinewood Derby car for the Cub Scouts, because he was in Vietnam. Mr. McClure, who lived kitty-corner across the street, helped me carve the balsa block and paint it red and silver. It was only years afterward, when my dad returned and made an off-hand remark that I found out that Mr. McClure was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, and it was years after that that I realized what that entailed.

    That to me is the amazing story of that group of veterans: my Uncle Al (Army Air Force, Pacific), my Uncle Paul (Army Air Force, Atlantic - Libya), my father-in-law Herb (a German Jew who fled to America and went back to Germany via Utah Beach and the Bulge), and Mr. McClure, for instance - all of them came back and instead of wanting to be regarded as heroes, just went about their lives and became Americans.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:53:49 PM PDT

  •  My dad... (5+ / 0-)

    ..was pulled off the embarkation deck moments before his unit shipped out for the pacific. He had taken an aptitude test for radio communications the prior week and scored well so he was reassigned to a different unit. He later learned all his buddies were lost either in battle or in that march.

    Today he (and my mother, a volunteer who taught aviators mapping on the fly) are both 91 and looking forward to their 68th wedding aniversary on June 17th.

    My mom likes to say "we make plans and God laughs."


  •  US Army Official Poster (0+ / 0-)

    japan march

  •  Andersonville Prison. /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:23:22 AM PDT

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