Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Keep at it

ROK Drop has more on Okinawa crime stats and US military crime stats. I'm so glad to see him still on that. The completely off-base idea of US troops as criminals and thugs which prevails in Japan and South Korea needs to be flogged mercilessly and deported back to North Korea where it belongs. The American media isn't going to do that for us since that would require that they be biased in favor of the truth rather than seeking balance between the agendas being fed to them, which is easier. GI Korea assures me that the US State department and USFK have consistently done the right thing and issued press releases protesting the unfair treatment of our troops in Korean and Japanese newspapers, but that these releases have been consistently ignored.

One nitpick: he describes the crime rates as "out of control" when they were double that of the local population. To double a crime rate that's reasonably low to begin with--while rightly unacceptable to a commander in charge of the unit--isn't really an "out of control" rate of crime.

I haven't looked at that graphic yet, but I noticed on the data table from Okinawa prefecture's website that the year that SOFA personnel crime rate finally dipped below that of the local population and then stayed there, was around 1974, two years after the draft ended. There's probably a connection there.

I also agree with ROK drop that restricting troops to the base is a good response to the smears of anti-American protest groups. I sure would have hated it when I was in Korea, and I feel for troops on Okinawa who are imprisoned by the policy, but it sends a clear message to those who do business with the military. You can sit silently and not speak out against your country's media when they smear us, but you can't count on our business with that attitude.

Update: ROK Drop has posted the mother of all GI crime in Korea posts. He even has footnotes. If the State Department or any of the commands in Asia who are actually professionally responsible for doing this kind of thing have done as well at publicizing this issue, I would like to see the link. ROK Drop showed me one link concerning the armored vehicle incident, but I can't think of a good reason why all of this information is not easily accessible by a search of the State Department website. There might be a relatively innocuous reason, but it's very hard for me to imagine a good one.

On an unrelated note, nothing is accessible at all from the main page of the USFK official site. They could have called for volunteers from the special-ed class of the Yongsan post elementary school and gotten a better job done on it. I'm sure that at least one in 10 brand new recruits could code some functional HTML, if the special-ed students were too busy. I hope they didn't pay too much for the design.

Another Update: More on the Okinawa post restriction.

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