Friday, April 14, 2006

Dept. of Unrefusable Offers

OK, thought experiment time.

Say you go to war against a country, as one will do, and as part of your invasion plan, you occupy one of its islands (killing say a third of the civilian population) and you cover it with military bases. OK. War's over, you win, you get to keep the island as part of your package of valuable prizes.

OK, so then 27 years later, you officially give back the island, yet interestingly all your military bases are still there and operational (are belong to us, if you will [and if you are as ancient as I am]). Your troops occupy some 20% of the populated land area of the island, with all the innocent fun'n'games, civilian assault and general mayhem that entails.

Fast forward another couple decades (how time does fly!) and finally, in response not to years of massive local protests but to the rising toll of your military adventures in other lucky parts of the world, you decide to remove a paltry eight thousand of the 26,000 or so troops stationed on the island. Do you:

a) Throw them a rockin farewell party that keeps the neighbors awake till all hours and carpets their lawns with PBR cans and toilet paper?

b) Apologize for any inconvenience caused over the last 60 years, vacuum the corners and make a quiet, dignified exit?

c) 'Suggest' that your hosts pay 3/4 of the $10-billion cost of redeploying your own troops back to your own territory, or else nobody's going anywhere?

If you picked c), you have a bright future with United States Forces Japan.

Hey, what do they call that thing where you muscle around someone else's property making their life really difficult and maybe roughing them up a bit for emphasis, and then make them pay you to go away? Oh yeah! Protection.

Bonus Activity: Kids, try this at home! Go to this handy government info site and click on any of the links. Hmm?

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