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to see if they re different, and if they are, whether you think your translation is
more accurate than the other guy s. Clear?
 Yes, Sir. I think so.
 How long do you think it will take you?
Moore glanced at the calligraphs.
 Ten, fifteen minutes, Sir.
 Can you type?
 Yes, Sir.
 Well, I ll go see about scrounging a typewriter. For the time being, do these in
pencil.
 Yes, Sir.
Hon took a lined pad and a Planter s peanuts can full of pencils from the top of
one of the filing cabinets and put them on the table. Then, without a word, he
walked out of the room. The door closed and Moore heard the key turning in the
lock. He was locked in.
He picked up a pencil and started to read the calligraphs. He became aware of
a strange feeling of foreboding and decided it was because he didn t like being
locked behind a steel door with no way that he could see to get out.
Battleground / 149
He read both documents quickly, to get a sense of them, and then again more
carefully.
They were obviously Japanese Army radio messages. The first was from the 14th
Army in the Philippines to Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters in Tokyo. It was
signed HOMMA. The second message was a reply to the first. It was signed, IN THE
NAME OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY.
He began to write his translation. It was hardly, he thought, a matter of world-
shaking importance. It dealt with captured American weapons, ammunition, and
food supplies. Not surprisingly, there was a comment to the effect that most
weapons of all descriptions had been destroyed before the American surrender.
Another stated that there was a large stock of captured ammunition, mostly for
large caliber artillery, but that it was in bad shape, and that the possibility had to
be considered that it had been& he had to search for the right, decorous, words in
English, for what popped into his mind was  fucked up  tampered with? rendered
useless? sabotaged? by the Americans.
There was another comment that captured American food supplies were scarce,
in bad shape, and inadequate for the feeding of prisoners.
The reply from Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters was brief, and far more
formal. It directed General Homma to& again he had to search for the right
words to inspect and rehabilitate? evaluate and repair? inspect and salvage? the cap-
tured artillery ammunition as well as he could using facilities? assets? capabilit-
ies? available to him. It reminded General Homma that shipping, of course, had
to be allocated on the priorities of war. And finally, somewhat insultingly, Moore
thought, it reminded Homma of the duty? obligations? price to be paid? sacrifices
expected? of soldiers under the Code of Bushido.
Finally, he was finished. He looked at what he had written and heard his mother s
voice in his ear,  Johnny, I can t understand how you can do that calligraphy so
beautifully, but hen scratch when you write something in English.
He hoped that Lieutenant Hon would have no trouble reading his handwriting
and was considering copying what he had written more neatly, when he heard the
key in the lock of the steel door. It creaked open dungeon-like, Moore thought and
Hon came back into the room. Moore started to get up.
 Keep your seat, nobody can see us in here, Hon said, and then asked.  Fin-
ished?
Moore handed him the sheets of lined paper.
Hon read them carefully, then opened one of the filing cabinets again and handed
Moore two more sheets of paper with TOP SECRET stamped on them.
They were someone else s translations of the two messages. Moore read them,
wondering how different they would be from the translation he had made. There
were minor differences of interpretation, but nothing significant. Moore felt a sense
of satisfaction; he had obviously done as well as whoever had made the other
translation.
 OK. Now tell me what the messages mean, Hon said.
 Sir?
 Tell me what they mean, Hon repeated.
Moore told him and could tell by the look on Lieutenant Hon s face that he was
disappointed.
 Look beneath the surface, beneath the obvious, Hon said.
 Sir, I don t quite understand.
150 / W. E. B. Griffin
 Forget you re a sergeant, forget that you re an American. Think like a Japanese.
Think like General Homma.
How the hell am I supposed to do that?
When there was no response after a moment, Hon said,  OK. Try this. What, if
anything, did you notice that was unusual, in any way, in either message?
Jesus Christ, what is this, Twenty Questions?
He went over the messages in his mind, then picked up the original messages in
Japanese and read them again.
 Sir, I thought it was unusual& I mean, Homma is a general. Why the reminder
about the Code of Bushido?
 Good! Hon said, and made a  keep going gesture with his hands.
Off the top of his head, Moore said,  If I was General Homma, I d be a little
pissed insulted that they had given me the lecture.
 Good! Good! Hon said.  Why?
 Because it was discourteous. Not maybe the way we would look at it, but to a
Japanese& 
 OK. Accepting it as a given that the IJAGS& 
Hon pronounced this  Eye-Jag-Ess, saw confusion cloud Moore s eyes, and
translated:
  the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff did insult General Homma by
discourteously reminding him about Bushido. He is a General officer who has to
be presumed to know all about Bushido. Hon now switched to Japanese:  Why
would they do this? In what context? Reply in Japanese.
Beats the shit out of me, Moore thought and dropped his eyes again to the calli-
graphs.
 The context is in&  he said.
 In Japanese, Hon interrupted him.
 & reference to a shortage of shipping, Moore finished, in Japanese.
 Is it?
 Homma s message to What did you say,  Eye-Jag-Ess ? said that the food he
captured from us was inadequate to feed the prisoners, Moore said. He had in his
sudden excitement switched back to English. Hon did not correct him.
 And?
 IJAGS s reply was that there was a shortage of shipping, and then reminded
Homma of the Code of Bushido.
 Right. And how, if you know, does the Code of Bushido regard warriors who
surrender?
 It s shameful, Moore said.  Disgraceful. A failure of duty. More than that,
there s a religious connotation. Since the Emperor is God, it s a great sin.
 Meaning what, in this context?
Moore thought that over, and horrified, blurted,  Jesus, meaning,  fuck the pris-
oners, they re beneath contempt, let them starve ?
 That s how I read it, Hon said.  You did notice that there was just a hint of
sensitivity to Western concepts of how prisoners should be treated the Geneva
Convention, so to speak the reference to the shortage of shipping, which IJAGS
uses to rationalize not shipping food?
 My God!
 Why are you surprised? Hon asked.  You grew up there.
Moore s mind was now racing.
Battleground / 151 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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