Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor ...And 9/11

66 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.In fact, there was a considerable constituency for isolationism and non-involvement.

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 this time perished in the flaming ruins of the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania.

It's been over six years since that happened, and we have yet to defeat these enemies who pose no less of a threat to our civilization and our freedom.

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 phone calls 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 Voldemort 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 six years now. It's only in the last two years or so that phrases like `Radical Islam',`Islamic Fascism' , and `Caliphate' have begun to be uttered in these circles. That has yet to be translated into a concerted war effort, even when it comes to the enemy exporting the ideology of radical Islam to our shores.

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 tiptoe around this reality, and continue to spout the fiction that this is a different war, that we lack clearly defined enemies.

We are not fighting `terrorism'. That is merely a tactic used in this war. 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.

Most Americans today, deep down, are not less patriotic or less unified then they were 66 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. And the nation has been deliberately and artificially divided for political purposes.

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.

I hope not.

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 and act on. By doing so, we honor not only the Americans who died at Pearl Harbor but all of our countrymen who've given to our beloved Republic what President Lincoln aptly called `the last full measure of devotion.'


GW said...

An exceptional post. There is little that I can add except to point to an old post that contains FDR's actual speech to the nation in the dark days after this attack on our nation. Its
You may find it of interest.

Freedom Fighter said...

Thanks for the kind words..and congrats on your Council win this week - speaking about great posts!

All Best,

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post!! If I may so myself, this is one of your best posts ever. In my opinion, this is saying something. You have had many excellent posts!!

Your spot on in pointing out that terrorism is merely a tactic and specific enemies need to be named. I would list them as follows: Russia, China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and all of the terrorist organizations they support. Russia is the primary backer of the Islamic terror supporting states. If we can get them to withdraw this support, the Islamic states will be much easier to defeat.

You seem to imply that the current enemies we face are not as strong relative to us as our enemies during WWII were. I respectfully disagree. The enemies we face today are far more dangerous than Nazis or imperial Japenese ever were or likely ever could have been.

You point out that this is an "existential war." You are spot on. This truly is a war for the survival of our country and our civilization. It is long past time we began to conduct ourselves accordingly. At a minimum, we should be rationing gasoline and oil. Also, we should be drilling for any all domestic sources of oil and natural gas and building more refineries. In addtion to this, much of our manufacturing capabilities have been hollowed out. We need to see about rebuilding those.

I think our biggest problems are as follows. 1.) We have largely turned our backs on the Judeo-Christian heritage that made our civilization great. Our ancestors called on God for assistance in times of trouble. We need to do this today. Unfortunately too few people seem willing to do this today. 2.) While probably not large in number, the anti-American/anti-Western left excersizes a very strong influence on the operations of the US and Western European governments. Also this group, wields tremendous influence within the American and Western news media. As such, any government official who wants to present a strong front against the enemies of the free world faces an uphill battle. 3.)Many people in the US and Western Europe lack the moral confidence in Western civilization to adequately defend it. This due largely to the disproportionate influence that the anti-American/anti-Western left have had within Government policy making and implementation circles, the news media, and the education system for the last fifty years or so.

Anonymous said...

Truly an excellent post here. All of it needed to be said. Kudos.


Freedom Fighter said...

Thanks very much Hube...nice of you to drop by.

Hube said...

My pleasure. Again, this is good stuff. One of the best reads for me in quite a while.

Fritz J. said...

So your solution to the problem is to declare war on I'm not sure how many countries, and then bomb and nuke them back to the stone age? Perhaps I'm very wrong, but I was under the impression that al Qaeda was a group of terrorists, not a country or the government of a country. I was also under the impression that they receive support from many citizens within various countries, but are not part of the governments of those countries. You can make a quite good argument that there are still a number of countries with governments who unofficially support al Qaeda, and that perhaps we should declare war on those countries, but it seems like a pretty tall stretch to advocate declaring war on a country simply because some of its citizens committed a crime against us and that is what we would have to do in an all out war against al Qaeda, or more generally Muslim terrorists. Are we going to declare war on say Great Britain because one or more of its citizens helped and aided al Qaeda financially or with communications or other help in planning 9/11? Based upon your essay it very much appears to me that is exactly what you are advocating. Sorry, but I am not at all impressed with your essay no matter what the council voted. I'm sure you can do better because I've read better here in the past , but this time you flat out blew it.

I also find it more than somewhat disingenuous when you imply that Bush said our enemies were peaceful and that everything would be all right if we simply went shopping. Yes, he did say that we should continue on with our lives, but he never even implied that our enemies were peaceful. What he did say is that all Muslims are not terrorists and that we should not equate the ones who attacked us with all Muslims. And to say that he is not for victory is beyond my comprehension when he has continued on in Iraq long after most would have given up. He has seen himself vilified because he has continued to seek victory in Iraq.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Fritz,
Thanks for dropping by, and also for the respectful way in which you posed your objections.I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this piece.

Let me address your points, if I may.

Al-Qaeda are indeed terrorists, but more importantly they are shock troops in a jihad waged against the west and thus mere subcontractors.
Do you really think that al-Qaeda operated out of the blue, with no ties to some of these countries? I certainly don't.

Without the countries that finance and enable al-Qaeda and others, they would cease to be a threat and I gave several examples of terrorist groups who no longer are a threat for exactly that reason.

Had I been the president on 9/12, I would have asked Congress to declare war on Islamic fascism, al-Qaeda and those countries supporting and financing it. I would have put the country on a war footing.

After all, wasn't that the rationale for going into Iraq and Afghanistan? That they were harboring terrorism?

The president himself did this in a backhanded way with the Bush Doctrine, saying that `you're either with the terrorists or with us.' Unfortunately, he did not stick to these principles, as I've chronicled here is some detail.

I also take exception with your take on `needing to bomb I'm not sure how many countries into the stone age.'

Think back to what happened after we invaded Iraq and took out Saddam Hussein.Libya revealed a nukes program we had no idea about, got rid of it, and began working on better relations with the US, Syria hightailed it out of Lebanon, Egypt began cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranians put a hold on their nuclear program, if you believe the NIE.

That's what happens in this part of the world when these people see that you're serious.

But because of the gross mismanagement of the war by the Bush Administration, most of these gains have now been reversed, and I think the president's relationship with the Saudis and the UAE are at the heart of the matter.

I agree with you that the war is going well now, but because of the way it was handled, ( six years!) a victory in Iraq is not as much of a step in victory in this war as it might have been. As a matter of fact, I would argue that the war in Iraq, because of the way it is being pursued (ie The NIE, Lebanon and Annapolis) has actually made things more difficult in the long run. Our enemies remain intact, although their subcontractors have suffered a severe defeat in Iraq.

As far as Bush's putting the nation back to sleep after 9/11, I think that's pretty self evident.And he did in fact say that `Islam means peace' ( which it doesn't - it means `submission').

I think it was possible for a more able leader to awaken the nation to the dangers of Islamic fascism and the need to curtail the export of jihad by the Saudis and others and to enact certain security measures into our country without calling for an auto-da-fe against America's Muslims, something I don't personally think the American people would have gone along with anyway.

Of course, that's how a nation at war behaves, regardless of how it might upset certain friends of the president.

Again, thanks for weighing in and for your insightful comments.


Fritz J. said...

To respond to some of your points. I am more than willing to agree that the reconstruction phase in Iraq was not handled well for a considerable period of time. I could use words like total disaster, but I'll leave it at not handled well. Having said that, I do not believe that it would have been possible for anyone, no matter how great a leader, to talk the country into re- instituting the draft and building up an army like we did during WW2. It simply would not fly in congress. And yes, I do believe that several Middle Eastern governments do aid and assist the terrorists, but proving that well enough to declare war on them is another matter. With Japan it was quite obvious what country and government was responsible. The Taliban was a pretty obvious target, but there were many other reasons advanced for Iraq and as I recall much disagreement about if they were helping the terrorists, so I would argue that no matter who was president, the likelihood of selling the congress on war with even more countries would have been almost nil. Add in that widespread war in the Middle East, especially with Saudi Arabia, would have badly interrupted world oil supplies and produced a world wide depression. You would have also received no support from the rest of the world for such actions and the resistance to them would instead have been far more than what we saw. You would have never been able to push such a program through the U.N. and while I care little for the U.N. and think it much more of a hindrance than a help, at least it was not openly stirring up resistance to us in the beginning. Yes, lots of behind the scenes stirring, but not much open.

I am more than willing to agree that had the U.S. presented a more determined face things would have gone better, but it was the opposition party, the Democrats, who fostered the belief that the U.S. was divided on the war with Iraq, and in fact accomplished that division through a series of lies, but short of arresting them for treason, how do you shut them up? And if you do arrest them for treason, will the rest of the country accept it? I think not.

As for the Islam means peace comment, do you wish to start a movement of hate so that no Muslim in the United States is safe? Hitler did that with the Jews in Germany and I disapprove of it there and would do the same for a similar movement here, and I don't think it possible, as you suggest, to educate the population about the dangers of Islamic Fascism all that much better, when the press is actively working against you, without turning it into a straight hate campaign, and I can promise you that the citizens of this country and the courts would resist moves to shut the press up or curtail them in any way, along with at least half of the congress. I also do not think that it possible for us to now do many of the things FDR or Lincoln did, such as the relocation camps, without marshal law and I don't think the country would be willing to accept that.

In many ways I wish we could do what you suggest because we seem to both see the threat of Islamic Fascism about the same. However, I do not believe that your ideas were or are possible in light of the global economy, nor do I think that there was a chance of getting even our country to agree to do them no matter who the president nor how great a leader he was. Stop and think. If you shut the Middle East oil supply down in a wide-spread war, the whole world would fight against us to re-open that supply. I think it would produce something closer to a true world war than WW 1 and 2 were, and they were big enough.

In the end, while Bush made many mistakes and deserves to be criticized for them, I still don't think your ideas would have flown no matter who was president or how great a leader he was. And I would suggest that had he tried to do what you suggest, he would have been impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate, and probably justly so.

One last point, in WW 1 there was a war going on for almost three years before we entered into it, and with WW 2 it was going on for either four or two years, depending on what you consider the start of it, before we entered. The population of this country had had sufficient time to adjust the the idea of war far more than we were immediately after 9/11. Even though FDR wanted to get us into WW 2, he was unable to do so until Pearl Harbor. I don't think even FDR's golden tongue could have talked the country into an all out war against terrorists, and to think a president of a country could have done so when half of the population believed the election was stolen is beyond my ability to believe no matter how great a leader he might be. FDR couldn't have done it, Churchill couldn't have done it, in fact I don't think there is anyone who could have done it with anything less than a campaign of hatred of all Muslims as a starting point and sufficient time for that to become believed, and I'm not sure he could have done it then. It is one thing to declare war upon a country whose government has openly done things against your country, but quite another to declare war on some citizens of a country, then invade that country when there is little proof of the country's government's involvement, and as we have seen, intelligence estimates are not always black and white and correct.

Off topic, I sometimes wonder if we would not be better off to scrap the CIA, along with NASA and quite a few other government departments, and start all over. After a while they all seem to turn into a bunch of bumbling bureaucrats who spend way too much money and far too much time trying to cover their asses. To top it off, our congress critters are supposed to exercise oversight which is like the blind leading the blind, or to be more precise, idiots overseeing idiots.

End result of my analysis. While Bush has not done all that well, working under the constraints he faced I do not think he has done as badly as you do because I do not think it possible to have done what you suggested. The last president popular enough to perhaps have pulled that off was Reagan, and before that FDR, and I have serious doubts that even they could have done it. Rumsfeld said that you fight the war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. I would paraphrase that to say you fight the war under the circumstances you are faced with, not the circumstances you would like. It is fine to have dreams, but reality has a way of knocking the stuffing out of dreams. I can dream about how much better things would have been had the people stood up to those Democrats who tried to sabotage the war simply for political gain, but reality says that much of the country believes many of the lies they told. Hell, many in the country and the press can't even get the quote from the State of the Union address about Saddam and uranium right, but instead twist it to say something else so they can say Bush is an idiot, or Bush lied and that is only one example.

Otter said...

'I think it was possible for a more able leader to awaken the nation to the dangers of Islamic fascism and the need to curtail the export of jihad by the Saudis and others '~ Freedom Fighter

I agree. Problem is, WHO? I really do not see anyone on either side, not even sure about Tancredo, who is dropping out of the race anyway.

I suspect no matter who would have done what after 9-11, we WILL be in a world-wide war against islamofacism soon enough. It is either that or let the likes of Iran and China become the next superpowers. And too many in the West seem to be giving tacit permission to them to do so.

I believe the next decade or two are going to be Bad, for a number of reasons. What say you?

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Fritz,
I think that you put your finger on the places we disagree.

FYI, I also politely responded to Daffyd over at his site, but the comment seems to have disappeared since yesterday...I assume he felt the need to delete it, which is fine by me.

Given the mood of the country after 9/11, I think that an inspirational president, say Reagan or FDR could have gotten the American people to commit to sacrifices for a war effort, and I seriously doubt that Congress would have had the nerve to oppose it. And it could have been done without a `hate campaign against Muslims' which I doubt the American people would have gone along with anyway.

The reason Bush didn't do so, as I've said is because of the significant ties he and his family have had with the Saudis and the UAE since he was a child. In fact, you might want to ask yourself why we went to Iraq in the first place.

If you look at my blogroll, you will notice links to a number of Muslim groups.

But have you ever noticed that the president has never, to my knowledge made a public appeal to American Muslims to help their country by reporting the Islamic fascists in their midst, or even publicly announced the establishment of a 24 hour hot line where Muslims can call in and report suspicious activity in their mosques? The majority of Muslims in America would welcome such a chance to prove their patriotism. Instead the president appears with Saudi fronted and funded groups like CAIR and the MPAC and officially ignores Muslims like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and Irshad Manjii.

That's part of the problem, and it's also why we've done next to nothing regarding energy self -sufficiency...something I'll have a decent piece on shortly.BTW, the US gets most of it's foreign oil from Canada and Mexico, in that order, and the Saudi quotient could easily have been made up by increased domestic production and by using well established technology to use our ample reserves of coal to make synthetic fuel..which is what the Nazis did during WWII.

As far as Middle Eastern governments `assisting' terrorists (and by now you know I think it's the other way around)Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the `Great Satan' since 1979 and has used Hezbollah to kill and torture Americans, Bush himself referred to Iran and Syria as part of the `axis of evil', we've caught members of Iran's Qods force in Iraq,(which Bush publicly acknowledged) the Iranians are sending IEDS and arms into the country and arming and funding Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shiite militias. Our own military intel has shown that almost 80% of the foreign al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia, and they fund jihad mosques and madrassahs here in America as well as terrorist groups like Hamas and `charities' like al-Haramain. I don't really see what more one would need...unless one were deliberately protecting the Saudis.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think Dubbyah is an idiot or a traitor...merely severely conflicted, and trying to dance on too many cracks and please too many people at once. Unfortunately, we'll likely pay a stiff price for this later...although I believe it will work out well in the end.

Again, thanks for weighing in.

All Best,

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Otter,
What I think you're asking me is whom I support in the next US presidential race.

The NIE on Iran and the fact that the war in Iraq is going better
(in part due to the arrangements with Syria and Iran brokered by the Saudis that the Bush Administration apparently made) means that people are not as focused on this war as they should be.

To my mind,the two candidates who
best understand the true nature of this war are Giuliani and Duncan Hunter, and it's no coincidence that since the NIE came out Giuliani has gone down in the polls.

I would give Romney an honorable mention in this category, BTW.

I trust the American people and divine providence to provide us with the leader we will need when we REALLY need it, and while the next decade will be fraught with peril an dby no means easy, I have absolutely no doubt that the West will be victorious in the end, and that a lot of the silly artificial divides in America will go by the wayside..and that's what I say.