This week should remain in our hearts and minds as memorable, but not really for joy or in a happy way. December 7th is the 76th anniversary of the attack by carrier-based aviation units of the Imperial Japanese Navy on our naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on a Sunday morning.
We should recall that our fleet ships moored there were sitting ducks for the attacking aircraft, with the result of the loss of over 2,000 lives and at least two battleships permanently. This could happen again at any time, given the nature of many antagonistic foreign governments, especially those in control of individuals loyal to the most extreme religion-based philosophy. These rulers continue to declare the loudest of threats against the United States and our most loyal ally, Israel, including, “Death to the USA” and “obliterate the Jews.”
By the grace of God, and perhaps subterfuge in the highest offices of the U.S. Government (my suspicion), all the U.S. carriers were at sea that weekend and so were undamaged. Also, the fuel farm at the base was not attacked. Why Americans could not, or were not allowed to, mount an attack on the Japanese carriers while their planes were attacking has never been brought up in the media to my knowledge. It is possible that they had no bombs aboard, which would have been gross negligence or malfeasance in command, in my opinion. It seems to me that there has been a whole lot of information missing from the report of the investigation that was carried out afterwards, resulting in blame placed on the general and admiral in command of the base.
Given the world situation of the time, with the Japanese Government and military having carried out invasions with atrocities on the population of conquered lands – for several years on China, Korea, and others in the area – and the war in Europe, it would seem prudent that our forces would be on high alert at all bases all the time. It seems likely that we will never be told the real truth of that situation.
This is more evidence of the PRESDT-declared “swamp” in the District of Columbia – existing even then, and for a long time before. My memory of the radio announcement of the incident is still quite clear. At that time I was a 15-year-old who for five weeks had been a high school junior. I was at my desk deep in studies for upcoming semester final exams. In keeping with my standard procedure, the radio was on softly with the “swing music” then broadcast by KVOO when the program was interrupted with the announcement of the attack at about 2 p.m. My parents had company in the living room where they were discussing the world situation, so I went to the banister to call down to them about it. They did not believe me, so it was suggested that they turn on the radio, which they did and things became very busy.
Dad was vice president of marketing for Mid-Continent Petroleum Corp. and called to make sure the refinery and stations were protected from possible sabotage. He phoned government connections to see what would be needed from the company. My parents had been in Europe from early May until Labor day in 1939 and so were well aware of the nature of the situation there.
My recollection is that they were still at sea when the Nazi-controlled German army invaded Poland to start the war. That was followed by a declaration by England and France a day or two later to officially begin World War II.
Unfortunately, it seems that our military command structure between wars has usually, if not always, been oriented to the lessons of the last war and suppressed by a civilian government full of more pacifist-minded officials. The result is quite predictable in producing substantial loss of men and equipment in the first surprise action by an enemy.
The old adage of “he who forgets or ignores the lessons of history is doomed to repeat the mistakes” still applies and needs to be remembered. The defense and civil leaders need to be more aware and willing to use the principle that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance” and so keep a strong and prepared military and sharp lookout on world developments. That includes a good dose of suspicion over any actions of potential enemies, as well as on our presumed friends.
It is somewhat reassuring to observe that PRESDT seems to have that attitude and is not afraid to warn those making threats against us of the possible consequences of their mistakes. Those nations who threaten war must be convinced that we have the power and the will to use it, to protect ourselves and retaliate in kind any wrong action against us, or any of our citizens or true friends.