Deeper Lessons from December 7th, 1941'

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wkmac, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    The surface history of that day are well known by all as is subsequent surface history afterward. The surface parallels drawn in later events of American history such as 9/11 are equally well known. That said, what is learned from looking deeper in the history circa 1941' some 7 decades later and thus should we ask what we might also learn 7 decades out from say 9/11?

    With that, I give you this.

    A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

    By Robert Higgs on Dec 7, 2008

    December 7. When I was growing up, everybody called it Pearl Harbor Day. I have not heard anyone use that term for a long time, but a Web search shows me that some people still do, at least in that quintessential Navy town, San Diego. The ranks of the World War II veterans are dwindling quickly, but as long as some of them survive, commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor will probably continue to be an annual event.
    The men of my father’s generation made up the great bulk of the sixteen million Americans who served in the armed forces at some time during the Big One. Although my father, who had been in the Army in the late 1920s, did not serve during the war because the authorities considered his efforts more valuable in the Oklahoma oil fields and later in an Oregon shipyard, many of his friends did serve, and I remember listening in as a wide-eyed little boy on their conversations about the war in the late 1940s. For most of them, it was the defining event of a lifetime, overshadowing even the Great Depression.

    As I grew up, it never occurred to me that the “infamy” to which President Roosevelt referred in his famous speech of December 8, 1941, pertained to anybody but the Japanese. After all, as the president said when he asked Congress for a declaration of war, the United States had suffered an “unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan,” so the responsibility for starting the war appeared to belong indisputably to the Japanese - and, of course, it also never occurred to me that I should make any distinction between the Japanese people and the Japanese government in this regard.

    Just as old dogs can learn new tricks, however, grown men can learn historical facts they were never taught in school, and over the years I have learned a great deal about the wider context and the important antecedents of the December 7 attack. I have even ventured to write a little bit about how U.S. economic warfare provoked the Japanese to take the desperate gamble of launching a war against the United States, Great Britain, and the Dutch government in exile in the East Indies in order to gain access to essential raw materials, especially oil, that the U.S.-British-Dutch embargo was denying them. Their attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet conveniently concentrated at Pearl Harbor was aimed at protecting their left flank as Japanese forces moved to take control of strategic locations across a wide expanse of the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.

    A short comment is no place to settle the controversies that have raged ever since the attack about what Roosevelt and his chief subordinates knew in advance, but one thing has been known for a long time: however “dastardly” the attack might have been, it was anything but “unprovoked.” Indeed, even admirers and defenders of Roosevelt, such as Robert B. Stinnett and George Victor, have documented provocations aplenty.

    On December 8, the same day that Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, former president Herbert Hoover wrote a private letter in which he remarked, “You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bitten.”
    On the basis of facts accumulated over the past seven decades and available to anyone who cares to examine them, we are justified in saying that Hoover’s characterization of the war’s provocation was entirely accurate - both with regard to the Japanese imperial government as “rattlesnakes” and with regard to the U.S. government’s “putting pins in.” Indeed, we now have a much firmer basis for that characterization than Hoover could have had on December 8, 1941. Countless lies have been told, massive cover-ups have been staged, propaganda has flowed like a river, yet in this one regard, at least, the truth has undeniably been brought out.

    Most American historians, of course, no longer bother to deny this truth. They simply take it in stride, presuming that the Japanese attack, by giving Roosevelt the public support he needed to bring the United States into the war against Germany through the back door was a good thing for this country and for the world at large. Indeed, some actually shower the president with approbation for his mendacious maneuvering to wrench the American people away from their unsophisticated devotion to “isolationism.” In no small part, Roosevelt’s unrelenting dishonesty with the American people (Stanford University historian David M. Kennedy tactfully refers to the president’s “frequently cagey misrepresentations”) in 1940 and 1941 - plain enough if one reads nothing more than his pre-Pearl Harbor correspondence with Winston Churchill - is counted among his principal qualifications for “greatness” and for his (to my mind, incomprehensible) status as an American demigod.

    I have noticed, however, that in polls of historians or lay persons to determine which presidents were “great,” the dead never have a vote. Lucky for Roosevelt.

    As James Madison himself once said and we should always remember this:

  2. Jones

    Jones fILE A GRIEVE! Staff Member

    John Toland wrote one of the most in depth accounts of the war between the USA and Japan, including the events leading up to it. I would not say that the Roosevelt deliberately provoked the war, but when you look at our economic actions from the Japanese perspective at the time, you can certainly see how they convinced themselves that the USA's endgame in the pacific included their military defeat sooner or later, and that the only chance they had of winning was to strike first.
  3. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    That's a good point worthy of consideration in looking at Japan alone but you just don't get as warm and fuzzy a feeling when you look at the events of Europe itself at the time. We may not have the pure smoking gun of guilt but the historical circumstancal evidence is troubling to say the least.

    Some believe 9/11 was a gov't created pretext so we could invade Iraq and I think to come to that you have to do some extreme twisting to get there. However, looking at history and the circumstances of unintented consequences maybe similar to Roosevelt's policy in the Far East with Japan, 9/11 in respect to a historical timeline had it's start with WW1 and broken British promises to Arab peoples that led to the creation of the muslim brotherhood in the late 1920's and then Anglo political treachery in the region that ultimately led to our own with Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA and the Eisenhower adminstration going forward. From there we backed Saddam Hussein as well as the Taliban over the Soviet friendly Northern Alliance Warlords and in both cases they came back to haunt us.

    Our hubris and arrogance towards this region, not some thought out nefarious plan in reality was our undoing and we've yet to learn it would appear.


    BTW: Seen Norman Solomon's "War Made Easy" or the feature film he's done on the subject? Film is pretty good IMO.

  4. Baba gounj

    Baba gounj pensioner

    Japan's only mistake during that attack was that they neglected to destroy the oil tanks.
  5. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    Just imagine if we had gone into germany and Japan at the first sign of aggression. Roosevelt would have suffered thousands of casualties and left office in disgrace.

    Instead we waited until they declared war on us while ignoring constant signs of brutality towards their own people and aggression towards their neighbors, lost fifty million lives fighting them. Roosevelts reward is he will go down in history revered as a great president.

    Give me a village idiot like Bush anyday.
  6. ajblakejr

    ajblakejr Age quod agis

    Spend time in New Orleans, LA.
    Go to the WWII Museum.

    Listen to old men finally freed to speak about the atrocities that have haunted their souls ...

    See the ghost that held them hostage...
    Listen to the words they finally have accepted and believe...

    History will repeat...because no one would listen.

    They secretly watch your heart before they reveal their deepest pain...the lack of respect for Our President Bush.

    If they ran into that village idiot...
    They would shake his hand.
    They would buy him a cup of Joe.
    They would Thank him for being the President of Our United States.

    Give me a village idiot like Bush anyday. Ditto!!!
  7. diesel96

    diesel96 New Member

    George Bush had inherited a budget surplus, and entered the White House as a proponent of a more humble foreign policy and a believer that government should get out of the way at home. He leaves as someone with a trillion-dollar war aimed at making people who’ve hated each other for a thousand years become Rotary Club freedom-lovers, and his own country close to bankruptcy after government did get out of the way.
    Bush deliberately misled the country into war, and in that effort, the so called "Liberal news media" were complicit enablers.

    Historians will recall that in each of the major disasters on Bush’s watch, there were ample warnings — from the intelligence briefing that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike a month before the lethal blow, to the projections that Hurricane Katrina could drown a major American city, to the expressed fears that letting Wall Street regulate itself could be catastrophic.
    Voluntary regulation. That phrase now joins “heckuva job, Brownie” and “mission accomplished” among those that will always be associated with the Bush presidency.

    It’s painful now to realize, just as the economy craters and the world looks aghast at the United States, that the other cancer from the Bush presidency – his failure to even start the nation on the road to a new energy economy – gets short-changed during the lame duck of his final days.
    Bush has hinted that his legacy will be about the war. So be it. He never caught bin Laden, the mass murderer who launched a terrorist attack we can all agree deserved direct payback.
    He started strong, however lost focus in Bin laden and zero'd in on Hussain :why:. But he did topple a paper army in Iraq, opening the drainage for our currency, blood and global reputation. It may go down as the longest, even costliest war in our history.
    His legacy is a Mount Everest of shame and folly. But before going any further, let’s allow his supporters to have their say.

    Wkmac....The Rev Wright in you suggest the chickens have come home to roost again :wink2:...
  8. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    have you seen the stats. rotary club membership is up dramatically in Iraq.:happy-very: Many Libcons are in a state of denial but Bush leaves office winning the war in Iraq.

    Ahh if only the press was as tenacious showing the positives as they were showing the negatives. But then Oprah now rules the country and she won't let that happen.

  9. diesel96

    diesel96 New Member

  10. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member


    Just a little something to consider on the comments above. You are correct that Bush spoke about gov't getting out of the free market but did he really?

    Consider this for a moment.

    Did Bush truly in the free market sense get out of the way or did he and his friends "steer" the economy in a certain direction and once the wheels were rolling in the direction they wanted, then they got out of the way?

    I contend that Bush was far from a true free market laissez faire kinda guy but like his foreign policy, was interventionist until he got the direction he wanted. Freedom and liberty means you let the people in the market place decide the direction along with winners and losers, not setting up the table for certain winners and let everyone else suffer because of monopolistic and preferred treatment in the marketplace. That's not laissez-faire, that's mercantilism or what we call in the 20th century, Corporatism in the Mussolini tradition. Modernized Fuedalism.

    I contend strongly that Bush and company never got out of the way of the market but in fact manipulated it via interventionist means. Let's start calling them out for what they truly are.
  11. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member


    I ran across this and in light of Pearl Harbor does pose some interesting questions.

    the entire article can be found here

    Maybe FDR also understood how his actions would be precieved by the Japanese and this would seem to suggest a more nefarious intent was involved. Gulf of Tonkin was a lie and we now know there was no WMD or Al Qaeda connections in Iraq so is gov't lying for the purpose of war and the military industrial complex a recent 50 year creation?

    You think that last paragraph will kick the hound dogs out from under the porch? As my hero Bugs Bunny would say, "Ain't I a stinker!"
  12. Baba gounj

    Baba gounj pensioner

    From the twisted mind of Rev Wright; who this week said that on Dec 7th it was the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
  13. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    Diesel I have to say I wouldn't mind clinging to Palin:happy-very:

    as for the rest of your points. The war and many of the budget problems were precipatated by 9/11. The decision to go into Iraq will take time to bear fruit. If it ends up stabalizing the middle east for a long period of time then Bush will be revered as the man of conviction who made it happen. At this point you can not deny that the war is ending successfully.
    9/11 happened because Clintons answer to getting that budget surplus was to weaken our military and intelligence communities.
    if 9/11 had not happened then there would be no Iraq war.
    There were very few that disagreed with going into Iraq at the time. This even though congress had their own unfettered source to the same intelligence Bush was looking at.
    If we think we need to wait until someone attacks us before a war is justified then I think we risk a world that is very unstable to live in.
    Being the provoked victim drawn into war was a very expensive exercise in both lives and money as the WWII proved to all.
    Having the same result in todays world would make our current debt look like pocket change.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  14. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but you gotta admit, Rev. Wright has been a Godsend for Sean Hannity and his career. Proves once again that God does work in mysterious ways!

  15. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    I'm not convinced that say Gore won in 2000' and no 9/11 that at some point an Iraq war would not happen. In fact I believe very much the opposite. In 98', it was the Clinton Adminstration who advocated along with strong neo-conservative support for the Iraq Liberation Act that called specifically for regime change in Iraq. It was the Clinton intelligence machine that built the Iraq WMD picture that Bush took up to push for war.

    As for surveillance, Eschelon was a Clinton era program and after it was discovered by European govt's to have been used by the US for industrial espionage, the lid came off and we learned that no phone call, email or other electronic message escaped oversight by this democrat adminstration. This is why some Americans don't trust the current adminstration in it's surveil efforts because of past practice. I also find it interesting that the Bush adminstration found it necessary to circumvent the FISA courts when from the time of it's creation to the Bush years, of the 22k plus requests for secret surveillance, not one was ever turned down.

    Bush in reality did nothing new accept pick up a play book (Clinton's), add some players here and there and then decided to air it out on a post pattern instead of pushing the running game and playing for field position. Watch Obama because he looks to do the same except he's gonna run multiple post routes (Afghanistan & Iran plus Darfur), no backs in the backfield and the QB in the shotgun. Obama's gonna make Mike Vick look like he's sitting in a jailcell and that's gonna be pretty easy I might add!

    Democrats who screamed and yelled at Bush and his war policy with Obama are being forced to live as hypocrites or vocally speakout to Obama's betrayal to what he ran on and how he protrayed himself when on the campaign trail. And the silence is damning!

    I suspect most will sit silent like they did in the Clinton years and only wait if and when the next republican president is elected to open their hypocritical mouths again! I guess in their case being an emperialist is wrong unless the name has "DEM." behind it!


    Then again, republicans showed their hypocrisy by opposing the Balkans because of "Nation Building" and showed their American disloyality to a sitting President by speaing out so maybe this stuff just runs in cycles. Maybe Clinton wasn't so quick with Iraq because of republican disloyality to the President in the case of the Balkans! And then democrats just returned the favor since 2000'. Hypocrite one term, loyal American the next! At least it's not boring but it is ultimately in the realm of economics that's going to make us a 3rd world country so what the heck!