When the men who saved the world from imperialism need a little help, suddenly our government cares about setting “problematic precedents.”
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan â€“ The military has denied a request from a World War II veterans group for transportation to Iwo Jima this week to commemorate the historic battle that took place there 65 years ago.
The Greatest Generation Foundation asked the military for help after a charter plane company that had volunteered to take the group from Okinawa to the battlefield canceled unexpectedly two weeks ago. But Pentagon officials denied the request because it could set a problematic precedent for other nongovernmental agencies that ask for similar assistance, U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Marine Maj. Bradley Gordon said Tuesday from Hawaii.
Before the decision was made, the Denver-based nonprofit brought 12 aging veterans who fought at Iwo Jima from the United States to Japan over the weekend as planned, hoping the military would be able to provide transportation.
â€œ[The veterans] are very emotional. They know the dream of going back to Iwo Jima is not going to take shape,â€ said Timothy Davis, president of the foundation, which has sponsored battlefield trips for veterans since 2004.
â€œWeâ€™re going to fight this,â€ Davis said. â€œI have to do what I can to get these boys back to Iwo Jima.â€
Here are a couple of ideas that might help the Greatest Generation Foundation get the veterans to Iwo:
2) Invite President Obama. A photo-op like that in a congressional election year and with 2012 right around the corner would be priceless. Suggest to the prez that nothing beats a “date night” on Iwo (throw in this Iwo Jima cigarette lighter to close the deal). The least we can do for these men is to let them hitch a ride on the presidential jet.
3) Veterans groups could raise money from the government by disguising their real intentions, because obviously getting a group of men back where they helped win WWII isn’t important enough. Asking the government for a few million dollars to restore a beer museum and to develop a sex-ed video game for kids would probably get funded in no time. Our government prioritizes like no other.
In all seriousness though, behold this irony. The men who helped defeat Japan cannot go back to the island where they helped defeat Japan without the permission of… Japan:
Military officials recommended the group arrange the flight from Okinawa to Iwo Jima with another company. But Davis said the foundation could not afford the $50,000 it would cost after already having spent the $150,000 to get the group to Japan.
The government of Japan must approve all flights â€” commercial or military â€” to Iwo Jima, now officially known by its original name Iwo To.
How many of those Iwo veterans are now wearing confused looks and saying, “I thought we won.”
In any case, if you know of anybody who wants to contribute to helping these heroes get some closure, put them in touch with TGGF.
Update: From the sound of this story, the US government was involved in helping sponsor a commemoration Wednesday on the island. No word though on why some others apparently weren’t aided in getting there.