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Not a Drunk Untrustworthy Criminal Adolescent

Date Posted: 2000-07-31

Here is my response to the "Cinderella Liberty" For The Military" letter on page 3 of the July 20-26 Japan Update.

Exactly how is the "Cinderella Liberty" a slap in the face to the local population? Imposing a curfew is not the only way to enforce discipline within the U.S. military. The overwhelming majority of military personnel stationed on Okinawa are outstanding citizens who do good for the local community and economy year round. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a very powerful tool which all U.S. military personnel are subject to anywhere in the world. In Japan we are additionally subject to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which in turn makes us subject to Japanese laws. The UCMJ and SOFA have serious consequences for any military member who may break the law. Military personnel on Okinawa know that they will be held accountable for their actions should they break the law. In answer to your question of "If these men and women (adults?) cannot be trusted to behave themselves before their own President what type of military force are they?" The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are brave men and women who volunteer their lives to protecting the greatest nation in the world and our allies 24 hours a day 365 days a year, regardless of if the President is watching or not. I resent the fact that three overly publicized infractions committed by military personnel suddenly clouds all the good the United States military does for Okinawa. Also using the G-8 Summit as an opportunity to send a negative message about the character of personnel serving on Okinawa. That is a true slap in the face to both the people of Okinawa and the military personnel stationed here. I wish the local civilian community would focus an equal amount of attention when one of their own commits a crime, like the woman who recently burned herself and children to death in a car...you don't hear much about that. I guess I'll just never get accustomed to being stereotyped as a drunk untrustworthy adolescent criminal based on the mistakes of a very limited number of military personnel.

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