Here is the director himself discussing the matter with his usual dark wit:
"The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq," he said. "At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling."
I tried to post a comment on their blog, but the damned site wouldn't accept, for whatever reason. Maybe I should have gossiped about Michael Jackson instead? Most likely my post was too long, but I'm trying to educate people. The LA Times should be grateful I didn't drop 500 words in their lap. Anyway, here's what I wrote:
"It should be common knowledge to any serious Miyazaki scholar that he abhorred not only the Iraq War, but war itself. The idea of violence is depicted in his work as violent tragedy, slapstick mockery, or both. I can't imagine there being any public backlash in 2009, anyway. Most Americans are themselves opposed to this war and its endless occupation.
"I don't think very many Westerners know that the war in Howl's Moving Castle was itself a reflection on the Iraq War. It was a comment on that war, viewed through the lens of Miyazaki's long career. Like an old teacher, he asks if we were paying attention to his warnings all these years. This is a bit harder for us Americans, of course, because we are so late to the party, but the lessons remain."