Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Incredibly, there still are survivors of Pearl Harbor amongst us. Think about that; there are men and women who remember that terrible day - and the subsequent terrible years - like it was yesterday.
We are now closer to the 100th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor than we are to the historical event itself - we have been for at least nineteen years now, actually. It is conceivable that some of the people reading this post will be alive thirty years from now - perhaps even the person writing it - but it defies credulity that any veterans of that day will still be with us, then.
We are losing the Greatest Generation at a rate of a thousand a day. Soon there will be no more of them; and yet we will remember - we must remember - what they taught us about the Great Depression and World War II.
The attack on Pearl Harbor is actually a study in the Law of Unintended Consequences - for it was preceded by the Anglo-American steel embargo on Japan, which was intended to curb Imperial Japan's militancy in the Far East. Instead, the strategic planners of the Japanese military government regarded it as a "No-Later-Than" deadline - they had six months to make their move, and so they did what to them made perfect sense, at the time.
The lessons of Pearl Harbor are many: Never undersestimate your opponant. Never paint your opponant into a corner unless you have the capability to defeat him, then and there - and always beware the "cornered rat" syndrome. Never park your entire fleet in one harbor; and never, ever sleep at dawn - because dawn is when the enemy attacks.
When I lived in Okinawa, I became aware that the Japanese teach their school children that the attack on Pearl Harbor was a defensive move - I can see their point of view, but I whole-heartedly denounce this. Imperial Japan in 1941 was a fascist regime that already enslaved and massacred millions in China, Manchuria and Korea. Their nation was led by a military class that had warped the traditional warrior code of honor - Bushido - into what ultimately became a suicide pact for their entire population.
There is a modern parallel here in the way fanatics have twisted Islam into the al Qaeda charter against Western Civilization.
Our generation has also experienced our own version of Pearl Harbor - the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And incredibly - just like in 1941 - the enemy signalled their intentions, and we chose to look the other way. This is the eptiome of George Santayana's prophetic warning: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
We will never forget. We MUST NEVER forget.
Posted by STORMBRINGER at 04:34