Always remember: 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

posted at 8:48 am on December 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Before there was 9/11, there was Pearl Harbor.  Both attacks had their similarities.  In both cases, we had a deadly enemy arrayed against us, but most Americans remained — or better put, willfully ignored — the threats both enemies posed.  Only after thousands of Americans died did the US awaken to the true nature of those enemies.

Sixty-eight years ago today, the Japanese Empire attacked our naval base at Pearl Harbor without warning or a declaration of war.  Within hours, their navy attacked American positions throughout the Pacific, including the Philippines, destroying our outposts and claiming the entire Pacific Ocean as their possession.  With the fortunate exception of several aircraft carriers that had been on an exercise that morning, the US had almost no Pacific Fleet, and many feared an invasion of the West Coast.

It took hundreds of thousands of American lives to defeat both Japan and Nazi Germany in the war that followed — a war that had already enslaved China years before on one side of the US, and half of Europe on the other side.  We thought we had learned a lesson on December 7, 1941 ,which was that we had to be prepared to fight a war in order to keep from getting surprised like that again.  Of course, we shouldn’t have been surprised at all by Japan’s attack in the first place.  They didn’t suddenly become warlike and aggressive on December 6th, 1941, as the Chinese, Manchurians, and Koreans could attest.  They had been attempting conquest (and succeeding) for several years in the Pacific Rim.  We just preferred to keep our eyes closed in order to keep from doing anything about it.  When we attempted to cut off oil to Japan, we discovered that negotiations and sanctions don’t keep war-drunk, expansionist powers from increasing their expansionism.

The lesson from that war is that appeasement and complacency doesn’t keep one from having to fight a war.  It usually forces one to fight from an extreme disadvantage.  That’s a lesson we have not remembered in dealing with expansionist powers in our own time, even after a second shock like 9/11 after years of complacency in dealing with al-Qaeda.  We’re falling back to treating radical Islamist terrorism like a Law and Order episode, and allowing one of the main drivers of radical Islamist terror, Iran, to arm itself with nuclear weapons with no consequences whatsoever.

On what date will the next “sneak” attack occur?


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Comment pages: 1 2

Of course, we shouldn’t have been surprised at all by Japan’s attack in the first place. They didn’t suddenly become warlike and aggressive on December 6th, 1941, as the Chinese, Manchurians, and Koreans could attest.

Yangtze Patrol Gunboat, USS Panay (PR-5), was bombed and sunk by Japanese bombers on December 12, 1937.

TugboatPhil on December 7, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Dave R.

Sixty-eight years ago, America saw a great evil and, in near unison, rose up and removed that evil’s shadow from the face of the Earth.’

It took the U.S a couple of years to see this great evil and only after the U.S was attacked.

I hope the word ‘unison’ refers to the allies who rose up as well.

mags on December 7, 2009 at 12:43 PM

a war that had already enslaved China years before on one side of the US, and half of Europe on the other side.

Can’t help but wonder if the Chinese would have been better with the Japanese in control than with Mao in control.

Tim Burton on December 7, 2009 at 12:45 PM

On what date will the next “sneak” attack occur?

That would be today. Only, instead of a Carrier Battle Group, “Yamamato” Obama is using the Divine Beauracracy of the EPA to mount the assault -

EPA celebrates Pearl Harbor Day

This time around, it’s doubtful they’ll miss the Oil.

Wind Rider on December 7, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Funny, it wasn’t until I got to work today that I realized that today was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Makes me both sad because of all the lives lost on that day and proud of the fact that I’m in the best navy on the face of this planet.

Rightwingguy on December 7, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Guard yourself most carefully
with military might
for plants that cannot bloom by day
must flower in the night.
— Paul Kantner

mojo on December 7, 2009 at 1:18 PM

It is so very welcoming to others that interaction with anyone is usually very amiable. geckomon on December 7, 2009 at 10:06 AM

As I recall, Lebanon was also very welcoming to muslims & all others.
Look where it got them.

Can’t help but wonder if the Chinese would have been better with the Japanese in control than with Mao in control.

Tim Burton on December 7, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Worse. But Mao only was able to rise to power bcs of the Japanese conflict. Without it, I’m pretty sure there would have been no crisis to allow Mao to fill the vacuum of power.
The man was an idiot.
But a ruthless idiot.

Badger40 on December 7, 2009 at 1:59 PM

We’re falling back to treating radical Islamist terrorism like a Law and Order episode, and allowing one of the main drivers of radical Islamist terror, Iran, to arm itself with nuclear weapons with no consequences whatsoever.

On what date will the next “sneak” attack occur?

Very well stated Ed. As the saying goes “those that forget their past are doomed to repeat it.” It is sad we forgot the lessons that Pearl Harbor provided us and the result was 9-11.

However, sad is one thing but tragic is another and in this current situation with most Americans aware of what danger lurkes around the corner when it comes to radical/fascist Islam the current administration (whose most important duty is to protect the republic and its citizens) are willfully going back to a pre-911 mentality that can only have one outcome and that is another attack, an attack that could very well kill millions of Americans.

My question is, if this tragedy comes to pass are we as American citizens ready to hold the administration and those responsible for leading us down that path accountable?

Liberty or Death on December 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM

This is what Obama fears.

csdeven on December 7, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Anyone ever hear the term “Isolationist”? America was not asleep Dec 5th, 6th or 7th. You were wide awake and adamant that there would be no blood for Europe. American Industry was still trading with Nazi Germany and you were taking that last of Englands liquidity to pay for her war materials as well.

History is messy and dirty, it isn’t just to cherry pick symbols from.

BL@KBIRD on December 7, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Excellent point.
Unfortunately, that is being repeated somewhat.
We trade with nations that hate us. We have made deals with devils.
Someday the devils will require payment.
There will be some that get that payment, in the form of American lives, like on 9/11.
We Americans are extremely lucky we’re physically separated by large oceans from most of the world’s chaos.
But that isn’t enough anymore.
And we really need to watch our back door: Latin America.

Badger40 on December 7, 2009 at 2:03 PM

And what I mean by the payment is not that we deserve it, but by choosing to deal with some devils, we have to realize that all theives & murderers are incapable of being loyal.
So by making deals with China, etc, we are not doing ourselves any favors.

Badger40 on December 7, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I recall Pearl Harbor very well. I was listening on a 2 tube radio I had built for a Boy Scout project that Sunday afternoon. The next day at school we all went into the auditorium where a radio was placed on stage to listen to Roosevelt declare an act of war. I visited the Arizona memorial 12/8/2001 for the 60th anniversary. Only survivors and relatives were permitted 12/7/2001.

Lew_Lew on December 7, 2009 at 2:49 PM

PSA: When my friends and I visited the USS Missouri in 2003, we met a lot of the fine men and women who volunteer there Many of them formerly served on the ship. Please do your part and kick in a little to help them and their colleagues who run the USS Arizona Museum.

http://www.arizonamemorial.org/

http://www.ussmissouri.com/

And don’t forget the newest museum at Pearl, the Pacific Aviation Museum, which is located on Ford Island, right near where The Mighty Mo is parked.

http://www.pacificaviationmuseum.org/

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2009 at 3:43 PM

America is sleeping now!

royzer on December 7, 2009 at 3:58 PM

God Bless all those who died and suffered that day, including several civilians.

Hand salute.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 7, 2009 at 5:09 PM

tcn on December 7, 2009 at 12:09 PM

A great example of that which is lost to history. I am a son of Guam and thus I speak of what I know. In no way does that mean I won’t recognize those who experience similar fates.

However, and I do not claim to be on any account learned in the history of Alaskans in WWII, the tribal people of Alaska have been receiving benefits and share a relationship with the US Government that far surpasses that which occurs on Guam.

For example, if you look at the construction companies on Guam that have been awarded bids to build on Guam in anticipation of the build-up, you will find that a high percentage of them are Alaskan tribal companies. Something about federal law and tribal nations that provides these tribes with weighted preference.

I did not in anyway desire to take away, complain or show any disrespect toward anyone by providing what I did. I was born and raised in the U.S. but by islander parents! To say that I am ungrateful is in compatible to what I wrote and to how I have lived my life.

Per capita, Guam is in the top 5 in providing more servicemen than any other state or territory in the nation. My cousins and friends who serve in US military do so with pride for their country and their island. Pride and duty and a loyalty to the U.S. that extends because of Dec. 8, 1941.

geckomon on December 7, 2009 at 5:14 PM

God Bless all those who died and suffered that day, including several civilians.

Hand salute.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 7, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Actually about 70 civilians died that day.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2009 at 5:14 PM

chemman on December 7, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Hafa adai! Thank you for your service!

geckomon on December 7, 2009 at 5:16 PM

FYI, Turner Classic Movies is showing WW2 movies today. On now is “War Comes to America” (1944), followed by “Tunisian Victory” which was made the same year.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Hawaiian guitarist/singer Gordon Freitas recorded this nice tribute earlier this year., He calls it “Peaceful Arizona”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qTF7KTo0sI

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2009 at 5:44 PM

It happened on 9/11

ahem on December 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM

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