Japanese Admiral "Drives" USS Seawolf
Check out this picture of Japanese Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Tohru Izumi sitting at the Ship's Control Panel of USS Seawolf (SSN 21) while the boat was in port this week:
I think it's great; it's always good to see our allies getting a good look at our most capable class of submarine. (Note that the other Japanese admiral in the shot is the head of their submarine forces.) One reader wrote in to say that the picture kind of gave them "the creeps". I can understand that a little; to explain that, I'll have to explain the one prejudice I have against a national group. I'll come right out and say it... I don't feel comfortable around Germans.
As far as our former enemies from WWII go, I've never really had anything against the Japanese; it seemed to me that they accepted the verdict of the war, and they really have been a good ally since then. The Germans, on the other hand, took losing two World Wars before they came to their senses, and even then we were still adversaries with half the country during the Cold War. None of that history should make me feel badly towards this new generation of Germans, I know... it's just a prejudice that I can't justify. Nevertheless, it exists. When I was stationed in Groton in the early 90s, a German U-boat came over for a visit, and I got to help tour them around the Topeka. This was the first time I had met German military personnel, and I just couldn't help but think about what their grandparents had done. Later on during my Topeka JO tour, we met with Japanese submariners who were visiting San Diego, and I didn't have these bad feelings at all towards them. Later, when I was at CENTCOM during 2003-'04, the German officers had no problems with letting us know how smart they were for not getting involved in Iraq; even the French officers were much better, saying they were sorry their government wasn't acting like a good ally.
So what do you think? I recognize that I'm wrong to feel uncomfortable around Germans for what their grandparents did, but I know that the feelings are real nonetheless. Do any of you feel uncomfortable about being around any of our former enemies? (To avoid too much political debate, please don't say you don't like Mexicans because of what Santa Ana did to the Alamo.)