PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCES

It was on this date, 74 years ago, that the pristine, idyllic island of Oahu, in the Hawaiian island chain, was shaken to its very foundation. A sneak bombing attack by 360 warplanes of the Japanese Imperial Air Force on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, decimated virtually the entire U.S. Pacific naval fleet. Only the U.S. carrier force, which was, fortunately, out to sea at the time, was spared. There was a horrific loss of U.S. lives as thousands of sailors died trying to save their ships. U.S. Army and Air Force bases on Oahu were also bombed, adding further to the loss of U.S. lives and military equipment. It was a day, as President Franklin Roosevelt stated in a following day radio address, “that will live in infamy.”

Until then, the U.S. had remained primarily isolationist in a war begun in 1939 by the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. Although President Roosevelt had wanted us to become more heavily involved, the feeling in Congress was that the U.S. was protected by 2 large oceans, and we could, therefore, follow a policy of strict isolationism regarding all the messiness of WWII. Even as Hitler and his Nazi thugs had gobbled up almost all of Europe, and Imperial Japan was conquering one country after another in the Pacific. Finally, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the blinders were removed from the isolationists eyes, and the U.S. went all in. It was a time to face reality.

A draft was enacted, and millions of young men were inducted into the U.S. military. Factories that had been producing consumer products had to be converted, almost overnight it seemed, into the production of military hardware and supplies. Food and gasoline became strictly rationed. Marginal tax rates on the wealthy were raised to 91% in order to pay for the war effort. It became everyone’s patriotic duty to buy war bonds. Even grade school children such as myself were enlisted to buy these bonds. Us poor kids would bring nickels and dimes to school each week to purchase stamps that were pasted into a bond book. When the stamps in that book totaled $18.75, we would be issued a war bond worth $25, cashable in 5 years. No one was immune from contributing to the war effort.

Such all-out effort finally paid off although it would take several additional years. It wasn’t until 1945 that the twin hellish evils of Nazism in Europe, and Japanese Imperialism in the Pacific were thoroughly destroyed and discredited. It would take two atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities to finish the Pacific war. Also discredited was the U.S. policy of isolationism, as it became abundantly clear that the U.S. was the one indispensable nation on this planet. Tens and tens of millions of lives had been lost during WWII and it took the U.S. entry into that effort to save the world and stop the carnage. Unfortunately, the lessons of WWII have not taken deep enough root and the old discredited yearnings of isolationism have now crept back into the American psyche. 

Today the world is witnessing the same type of Fascist evil that propelled Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during the 1940s. Today, such horrific evil is taking the form of Islamic-Jihadism. The barbaric atrocities being inflicted on helpless human beings by groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaida, and other lunatic Jihadist groups bears testament, once again, that evil is a bottomless pit, and must be torn out by its roots if it’s to be destroyed, discredited, and buried. And once again, the U.S. is the one indispensable nation that has to be called upon to undertake this effort. Unfortunately, the efforts the U.S. has thus far taken have been meager to say the least. They are grossly insufficient to do the job that needs to be done.

Yes, I get it that Americans are sick and tired of war, and just want to be left alone. Yes, I understand that Americans are no longer willing to make sacrifices similar to those made during WWII. Yes, as I’ve said many times, war is the ultimate failure of the human condition. But if we don’t destroy every vestige of this new Fascism, tear it out by its roots, it will continue to metastasize like virulent cancer. It will continue to attract new recruits by maintaining its credibility. If we no longer have the will power to fight off these modern day barbarians, we eventually will succumb to these modern day forces of evil. Much like the ancient Roman Empire became too weary to fight the barbarians at its gates many centuries ago. Rome was eventually destroyed and the world was plunged into the dark ages for a very long time.

Perhaps its in the nature of the universe that great civilizations rise to an apex, and then over time, begin to crumble. When life at home becomes too cozy and comfortable, thereby sapping the will of its citizens to fight and die on some foreign battlefield, in a struggle between good and evil. When we’ve reached that point, the U.S. will no longer be the one indispensable nation on Earth.

 

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Categories: Economics, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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