Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7th, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of American was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

It was with these words that FDR began his address to a joint session of congress on December 8th, 1941. It's appropriate that on this day, sixty-five years later, we take time to consider the historical significance of the chain of events that emminated from the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Many Americans at the time had no interest in being dragged into World War II and getting us involved "over there". Appeasement was the "policy" that many subscribed to. The Europeans of course did so and because of their weakness, the Nazi's made their move without much fear of anyone, other than the British who they knew would stand in their way.

I shudder to think what the world might be like if those Americans had "won the day" and convinced the rest of us that defeating Nazism wasn't worth the cost. Perhaps the only "good" that came out of that tragic day at Pearl Harbor was that it was an enormous "wake-up call" for all of America.

After the events of that day, there was no longer any question as to whether or not America would become involved in the War. It was simply a matter of exactly when and where would we make our first moves and how soon could we get the war machine up to speed to enable us to defeat those that wanted to see us dead.

Like many Americans today, I wasn't even born when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but it has always left a deep impression upon my psyche. I was of course alive when the next great "wake-up call" for America came on September 11th, 2001. I'll never forget that day, as it is seared into my consciousness and even today, more than five years later, I get angry when I think about that day.

The thing that makes me the angriest is the "appeasement" mentality of many Americans even today. A glaring example of this is the "bipartisan" recommendations released by the Iraq Surrender Group just one day before the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

I'll not go into a lot of details, but what strikes me about the 79 recommendations of this group is the utter "unremarkable" nature of the vast majority of them. Many of them are nothing more than a rehash of the policies we've had all along. In a few cases they are patently absurd.

The notion of asking the Syrians and Iranians to help us out in Iraq is naive at best (I'm trying to be "nice"). They're behind much of the violence and weapons there. It makes you wonder what Baker and the boys have been smoking.

There is only one way to win a war and it has nothing to do with diplomacy or dialogue. Victory comes about by defeating your enemies. Nothing more, nothing less. The young men of "our greatest generation" understood this. They not only understood it. They actually DID it and defeated our enemies, but not without much sacrifice.

Have we not learned anything in the intervening sixty-five years? Do Americans today NOT realize the price that must sometimes be paid to win? Sometimes, I wonder. I really wonder.

Read and hear FDR's request for the declaration of war here.

And for those of you who may have forgotten the details of this tragic event, click here. ( Be sure to click on the "Attack Map")


At 5:03 PM, Blogger Phydeaux said...

Salute for a well-written piece Gonad, or should I call you Premo here? Perhaps the saddest thing is finding myself almost wishing for a “straight forward” war instead of the mess we find ourselves with today. In 1941 we knew exactly who the enemy was, where they lived and how to stop them. I will never, in any way disparage the tremendous determination, character and sacrifice that the WWII generation demonstrated in their era’s struggle but I will gently submit that they had some advantages that we today do not enjoy.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked there was no question about who was responsible, no questions of proportionate response, no question about what “victory” would mean. When a nation attacks you you have nation to attack. When a clandestine network of psychotic maniacs attacks you it’s a little more complicated. Sure, we’re the US of A and if we were united in purpose we could have taken on Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Somalia and every other nation from whom members of Al-Qaeda were from simultaneously and if we were willing to pay the price, we could win. But our fight was not, directly speaking with those nations. This set the stage for the Bush administrations greatest failure. Diplomacy.

It seems incredible to think about today but I recall a headline from a French newspaper in the aftermath of the 911 attacks that read “Today We Are All Americans.” Just typing that fills me with a sense of almost vertigo, can anyone imagine a circumstance in which such a headline would be written today? In less than six years the current administration has completely squandered the incredible good will and spirit of unity that was felt not only in this nation but also throughout the civilized world.

We can try to fight Al-Qaeda by defeating one nation after another, in monotonous repetition but that would draw a parallel with that famous phrase from a past debacle, “we had to burn the village to save the village.” Yes, we need to show military resolve. People need to know that if needed we can be the worst enemy they could ever have. But just as importantly we need to prove our value as a friend. Last century we twice proved both of those things on the battlefields of Europe. But our treatment of the middle east has taught them a very different lesson. And unfortunately one lesson being taught today is that oil is not enough of a weapon to defend yourself against us, if you want the US to treat you with respect you need nukes. Ahmadinejad may be a psychotic creep, but he isn’t an idiot.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Premo Mondone, Jr. said...

Hey Phydeaux, it's been awhile since we've had any contact. Glad to see that you had a chance to swing by. I've not been active at all the past few months due to some health issues and business reasons. I'm trying to find more time for the blog and hopefully I'll post something soon as I've got several things to get off my chest.


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