Saturday, May 19, 2012

The status of Guam’s war reparations

It's time for Guam's political leadership to be frank about the status of war reparations. The $100 million being sought has an absolutely less than zero chance of being approved by Congress.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Bordallo recently announced that her latest attempt to advance this issue has failed.

Supporters of reparations have a compelling case to make. The stories of what happened during the war are terrible and heartbreaking. The U.S. was too quick to settle with Japan. The needs of Guam weren't properly accounted for. But the politics of the issue in Washington are too impossible.

The continuing pursuit of reparations, at this point, is just political theater. Congress is not going to fund war reparations as it cuts programs for the poor, the medically uninsured, and others in desperate need.

Guam's political leadership needs to ask whether continuing pursuit of war reparations is becoming a political liability to other legislative efforts in Washington.

A better strategy may be for the island's political leadership to see if they can use to failure of war reparations as leverage on other issues. It may help them bolster the case to improve education and infrastructure on the island.

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