December 7, 1941: Whose Day of Infamy?

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Ask
Not For Whom The Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Thee.

~
John Donne

Sixty
years ago today units of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked U.S.
installations in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Most
Americans wanted to keep out of the Second World War…and then
Japan attacked. Anti-war sentiment was silenced. Four days later
Hitler's Germany declared war on the United States and "we"
were in it for better and for worse.

FDR
and his defenders painted the attack as a surprise, sneak act that
justified what followed [participation in the war itself, regimentation
of Americans for total war, total war itself, area bombing, unconditional
surrender, concentration camps for Americans of Japanese descent,
alliance with "Uncle Joe" Stalin, Operation Keelhaul,
censorship, high taxes, rationing, propaganda, Bretton Woods, et
cetera ad nauseum].

Those
opposed to the war before Pearl Harbor had dark suspicions of "…what
did the President know and when did he know it…" a useful
term for a later president.

During
the sixty years since FDR's defenders have gone through two versions.

The
first, which lasted about 15 years, was that a combination of Japanese
perfidy, Army and Navy incompetence, some bureaucratic inefficiency
was to blame for being taken by surprise at Pearl Harbor. Even today
(see the link to lewrockwell.com Dec. 6, 2001) the Pentagon still
is maintaining perfidy by Kimmel and Short.

This
first version maintains that FDR was, as were most Americans, taken
by surprise by the attack.

Reputations
were smeared or worse by FDR loyalists who claimed White House perfidy
in hoodwinking the Army and Navy regarding prior warnings of an
attack at Pearl Harbor (see Gary
North's review of this topic
).

Around
1960 the first version was becoming untenable. Too much contrary
evidence was leaking to make it believable. So a second version
began to take hold.

This
second version could be properly called a "New Deal revisionism."

New
Deal revisionism admits some accusations by the isolationists, but
states the importance of beating both a Nazi Germany and Imperial
Japan, justified both the provocations and concealment of FDR's
prior knowledge of a Japanese attack. It affects that FDR was genuinely
surprised by the time, place and severity of the attack.

David
Ogilvy, founder of the advertising firm of Ogilvy Matheson, served
in the British Embassy during the Second World War. In his 1978
memoirs [Blood,
Brains and Beer
, pp. 89-90] he states (William Stephenson)…was…laconic…A
few days before Pearl Harbor, he telegraphed to London that a Japanese
attack was expected. No such report had come from the Embassy, so
Stephenson was asked to identify his source. His reply, laconic
as usual: u2018The President of the United States.'"

The
problem with the New Deal revisionism is that it moves the debate
from the older one of whether President Franklin Roosevelt was guilty
of treason ["giving aid and comfort to an enemy in time of
war"] to a debate of whether FDR was perfectly innocent or
justifiably devious.

Pierre
Salinger's defense of John Kennedy's lying during the Cuban Missle
Crisis is typical of the New Deal Revisionism ["…the President
has a right to lie…"].

Now
a book by a mainstream historian, Thomas Fleming The
New Dealers’ War
(buy it here) is making hash of FDR's defenders.

This
work concedes the entirety of Pearl Harbor revisionism by the Old
Right. Even the title conjurs up an Old Right flavor, "The
New Dealers’ War."

During
the past summer, the New York Times (see our link to this
story) broke the story that the White House was preparing FDR's
speech to Congress in advance of the Pearl Harbor attack. The speech
where he so solemnly intoned, "…December 7th,
1941 a day that will live in infamy."

In
the 60 years since the U.S. Government retains classifications of
details of Pearl Harbor.

In
the 60 times this tired planet has circled the sun those whose blood
gets spilt, whose loved one's get buried from war, who foot the
bills of war have not yet been trusted with what the federales have
about Pearl Harbor.

That
is wrong. It is time to open the record the government retains.

At
60 years the Japanese nor the Germans will gain advantage over us.

What
advantage can Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Ladin, Khadaffi, Castro
or even Laurant Kabila gain by knowing 60 year old diplomatic secrets?

Freeing
the Pearl Harbor documents would only harm the reputations of those
who lied to Americans.

Who
would rant today to keep secret the documents of Pearl Harbor? Perhaps
todays war party and, in my opinion, their theoretical or actual
opposition, holds no sway with me.

Let
it all come out now. Then we will know which side of the Pacific
that dates infamy lies.

December
7, 2001

Alan
Turin [send him mail]
works in the computer field in Florida.

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