Oh, all right, I skimmed Bush's statements. I have to preserve whatever semblance of sanity I may still retain after over six years of his presence in the Oval Office.
First things first: I will be ever so glad when this tawdry habit of world leaders referring to other world leaders by theirs first names in public is banned.
Secondly, I have a few idle, pointless remarks:
1) Does someone in the Administration understand what Prime Minister Abe is saying when he says:
"I explained to the President that as the mission that my administration I will strive to move Japan beyond the post-war regime. "
Because I sure don't.
Because he follows it with this sentence:
"As part of this endeavor, I explained to the President that I launched on the eve of this trip a blue-ribbon panel for the purpose of reshaping the legal foundation for national security in a way that will benefit -- that will befit the times, now that the security environment surrounding Japan is undergoing major change."
Now I am frightfully stupid--but last time I looked "moving beyond the postwar regime" was a code word for revising the Constitution.
The blue-ribbon panel, however, is charged with investigating the possibility that JMSDF can engage in collective security actions under the current constitution.
So unless the panel charged with failing to perform its function-- i.e., it is supposed, after a decent interval, to throw up its hands in collective despair and cry to the winds, "It can't...it can't be done! We need a constitutional rewrite now!" -- then it cannot be "a part of " moving beyond the postwar regime.
2) What's with the outpouring of religiosity?
"I visited Bethesda Navy Hospital and the Arlington Cemetery, and prayed for the repose of the souls of those who died for the cause of stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, and prayed for early recovery of those injured. And I would like to pay respect and express gratitude for the noble sacrifice the United States is making."
You would think he was trying to impress maudlin, self-absorbed, American, born-again Jesus freaks who value prayer above critical thought.
Abe-sōri---cut it out! The God Show is so 2001 to 2006 (Allahu akbar, baby!)
3) I could not help but notice how little the Bush plea for completion of the Doha Round moved Abe-san. That Mr. Bush's special authority to sign trade agreements is languishing seemed to be sooooo not Mr. Abe's problem.
4) If I ever hear another smirking "I am going to serve him delicious American beef while he is here" joke I am just going to be unpleasant.
If the U.S. producers are not willing to test every beef carcass for BSE, the U.S. government should just give up on the joshing and the arm twisting. Japanese consumers have been indoctrinated into believing that the testing of every carcass makes the meat supply safe.
Testing every damned ungulate is now a cost of doing business in Japan.
There is no way of getting around it.
5) Now I have hopped up and down over the irresponsibility of the view of expressed by some in Washington and in Tokyo that we must leave history to the historians.
But that assertion pales in significance to the all out Homo sovieticus creepiness of this request to move beyond the historical blame game as represented by the calls for a formal apology to the comfort women:
The 20th century was a century that human rights were violated in many parts of the world. So we have to make the 21st century a century -- a wonderful century in which no human rights are violated. And I, myself, and Japan wish to make significant contributions to that end. And so I explained these thoughts to the President.
First--uh, Abe-san, we are already six years into the 21st century. Believe me, rights have been violated.
Second--are you out of your freaking mind? Just because the date on Gregorian calendars start with a 2, we have to kiss off thinking about what happened in the past? (For all you on Jewish, Chinese or Hejirah calendars, you are not in the 21st century. You are on your own as to whether to violate or not violate human rights)
Why didn't the press go ballistic over this naked attempt to characterize the history of the 20th century as, well, water under the hashi, you know--spilt miruku, as it were?
"Keep moving folks; there's nothing to see. The show's over."
Not on your life, you sleepy eyed scion of war facilitators.