Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor..and 9/11

65 years ago on this day, December 7th, Japanese pilots bombed Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack launched from a Japanese carrier force..while Japanese diplomats in Washington were still talking peace with Cordell Hull, then our Secretary of State.

They killed 2,403 Americans, mostly servicemen, and destroyed most of America's Pacific fleet.

The next day, December 8th,President Roosevelt went before Congress and asked them to declare war, and our nation took up the task of fighting not only the Japanese, but their axis allies as well.

Remarkably,that resolve came when the nation was largely unprepared for war.

Less than 4 years later, Germany, Japan and Italy were in ruins, their militaries destroyed, their capacity for evil extinguished. And a great darkness passed from the earth.

America was hardly free from politicking or dissension during World War II, but it was kept to a minimum, within bounds...because the American people knew that to let the evil of fascism continue, to not achieve victory,would be unthinkable and a sin against their posterity.

Sixty years after that grim December morning in Hawaii, there was another sneak attack on American soil. 3,000 Americans, mostly civilians perished in the flaming ruins of the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania.

It's been over five years since that happened, and we appear to be no closer to victory then we were the day after the attack.

Why is that?

Our military is not less competent or less courageous, we are far richer and more powerful than we were in 1941 and our enemies are much weaker than us, compared to how strong the Nazis, Fascists and Japanese were then.

What's changed?

Leadership for one thing.

On December 8th, 1941, President Roosevelt went to Congress and asked them to declare war against specific enemies. He called on his fellow citizens for sacrifice and support, in eloquent words that expressed the shock of the country and girded it for the struggle ahead. Once Congress declared war, he immediately put the nation on a war footing. He put together bipartisan commissions to mobilize the nation's labor, industry and manufacturing for the war effort. He called on his fellow citizens for shared sacrifice and instituted rationing of food, gasoline and strategic materials.

Roosevelt, aside from incarcerating and/or deporting anyone who was a known security risk or might have potentially been one gave the FBI carte blanche to intercept all overseas phonecalls and cable transmissions and to intercept any domestic mail within the US that it deemed necessary. I've personally seen a citation and medal given to one elderly woman who steamed the stamp off a domestic letter and found some microfilm under it...which resulted in the destruction of a Nazi spy ring and sent 6 spies to the gallows.

One can only imagine what the response of Congress and President Roosevelt's fellow citizens would have been if he had announced that America was now involved in The Great War On Aviation, that we should all calm down, that the creed of our enemies meant peace, that the goal of this war was `safety and security' rather than victory, and that everything would be all right if we would just go shopping.

That's essentially what we got after 9/11.

Imagine how different it might have been had President Bush had conducted himself the way FDR did after Pearl Harbor....

Another problem is the continued denial about who our enemies are. I don't think it's any coincidence that in the Harry Potter novels, JK Rowling has some of her characters refer to Voldermort as `you-know-who' or `the One we do not name.'

Many of our politicians, including the president, have been doing the same thing for five years now. It's only in the last year or so that President Bush has even allowed phrases like `Radical Islam', `Islamic Fascism' , and `Caliphate' to be part of his turgid rhetoric.

Take a hundred or so reasonably well-informed Americans into a room and ask them to write down the countries who are actively involved in waging and supporting jihad against America. Does anyone doubt that most of them would come up with pretty similar lists?

But our own government and influential elites , (for obvious reasons) tiptoe around this reality, and continue to spout the fiction that this is a different war, that we lack clearly defined enemies.

There has never been a terrorist or `insurgent' movement that has survived for long without a safe haven to train, regroup, recruit and finance. The Weathermen, the Baider-Meinhof Gang, and the IRA in its latter days are good examples of this principle. Destroy the enablers and the havens, end the terrorism.

Unlike World War II, we have put limitations on our war-making and our military that are self-imposed, and often counter-productive.After Pearl Harbor, anyone talking about `limited war' or `rules of engagement' and `exit strategies' would have been laughed out of the room at best and scorned as a coward or traitor at worst.

In that kind of climate `victory' becomes a controversial word.

Americans today, for the most part, are not less patriotic or less unified then they were 65 years ago. Anyone who was in America after 9/11 knows that.

They were merely allowed to go back to sleep, and lulled into the idea that this was another limited war without a significant effect on their personal lives.

It may take another Pearl Harbor type strike on America to harness the nation's energy again, to convince people that this is the existential war that it is, and that it must be fought accordingly.

Pearl Harbor is thought to be a tourist attraction today, a peaceful monument to the men who died there.

It is, but it's more than that. It's a monument to the Americans who defeated the enemies of freedom, the monsters that attempted to enslave them and their Republic.

It's a monument to victory.

And something that's a living example of lessons from the past that we need to revisit.


Anonymous said...

Great post, ff! What a way to start off my morning.

Perhaps back in the 1940s, the MSM wasn't as pervasive and well-funded as today. The propaganda war continues to be one of the most crucial elements of this struggle for the national will.

Though we are better informed as citizens, the MSM has somehow managed to act as the speakerpiece of our enemies (and by that I don't mean "Islamofascism"; I mean IRAN, SYRIA, aQ), perpetuating the myth that we should placate them and give them what they want so that they'll leave us alone. That the situation in Iraq is untenable and we're better off leaving the Sunnis in the lurch. That realpolitik works best in isolationism - if it still exists to this day.

That AP has been allowed to get away with Jamilgate in SIXTY-ONE reports shows that there's a very serious flaw in reporting. The ISG notes that there is significant underreporting of events in Iraq pertaining to attacks and acts of violence. I beg to differ - there are too many, exaggerating the fiction that US troops are simply unable to face up against the death squads, propping up the image of an enfeebled, incompetent army when we are anything but.

Dolchstosslegende - we need to remind Americans of the utter devastation that Baker, Gates and the rest of the realists, defeatists and cowards are threatening to bring to us all. They are traitors.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello, Harrison and thanks for the kind words.

Thwe dinosaur media is a problem, but not as big a problem as it was say, 20 years ago.

Theycan be handled IF THE WILL EXISTS. Remember the first Gulf War, when there were no imbedded reporters and they were all penned up in the press pool w/o jihadi stringers?

Plus (and this is important)the climate on the home front would not allow the MSM to commit the kind of routine treason they get away within Iraq today. That's because the first President Bush saw fit to declare war properly and get congress an dthe US population involved, as well as his so-called `coalition.'

The thing to know about Baker and some of the others is thatthey are beholden to the Saudis for their bread and butter.

The ISG report could just as well have been stamped `approved by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.'

Take care...


Anonymous said...

That's because the first President Bush saw fit to declare war properly

the manner in which this phrase is used would indicate, to me, that a formal declaration of war was issued by congress to initiate hostilities in GWI. this is not true. the US was merely the lead player in a UN coalition.

Freedom Fighter said...

You're correct, Louie.

But Congress voted to fund the war, to allow the US to participate and to utilize our armed forces as part of the UN force.

What's more, Congress even voted funds to hire ships from the foreign merchant fleets to transport supplies...since our own merchant marine was defunct and lacked the capacity.

Plus, bottom the Gulf War, President GHW Bush did a much better job of getting concensus and support from the American people. He even arranged for the Saudis, the Sabah family (Kuwait) and the UAE to pay for the US cost for the war almost in its entirety.