WWII and the Path to Saipan Sweatshops

In the Gary Post Tribune, John Wolf, a WWII vet and minister who served in Saipan wonders if the the bloody beaches were worth it.

Wolf on the sacrifice:

My ship was a part of a large amphibious task force. We carried the 2nd Marine Division and landed them on June 15.

As was our task in previous island invasions, we took on casualties from the beach — nearly 200 in a short time. Some I recognized as the same Marines I had served the sacraments to the night before.

Wolf on what became of Saipan:

Saipan was exempted from U.S. labor and immigration laws, and over the years thousands of people, primarily Chinese women, were brought there as garment workers. They lived in crowded barracks. Saipan became known as “America’s biggest sweatshop.”

Garments manufactured there for American companies bore the label “Made in U.S.A.” Workers had no rights and were paid little.

Attempts to change working conditions were rebuffed by congressmen who played on the beaches Marines had soaked with their blood. Abramoff was paid $10 million to represent the Northern Mariana Islands.

After 65 years, did these 18-year-olds die for sweatshops and the corruption of democracy?


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