(Via ROK Drop)

U.S. congressman Barney Frank, longtime member of the House Armed Services Committee, thinks the U.S. Marines on Okinawa should be withdrawn.

“Most people, I think, that I talk to, thought the Marines left Okinawa when John Wayne died,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show on July 8, referring to the long-gone Hollywood star’s World War II movies. “It’s unclear to me what they’re doing there.”

He went on: “I don’t want to see China given a free hand over there vis-a-vis Taiwan, but 15,000 Marines aren’t going to land on the Chinese mainland and confront millions of Chinese soldiers. You need some air power and sea power.” (Link)

Frank has a point, sort of, when he says, “It’s unclear to me what they’re doing there.” Many in the Japanese government admit they themselves don’t know what the mission of the Futenma garrison is. Although GI Korea helpfully points out evidence that the Marines are to deploy on short-notice contingency operations to the Korean peninsula, the U.S. government has been less than explicit in explaining the role of the Futenma garrison, ignoring that point and concentrating on its absolute necessity.

Also, to give Frank credit, he’s not talking about removing the U.S. from Okinawa. His point seems to be that air and sea power should be a priority over land power. This blog agrees with him as far as the importance of air and sea power, but also believes that the Futenma garrison’s role is more symbolic than practical, a visible symbol (among many) of the U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch