Almost 63 years after the bombs ordered by an insane Japanese military dictator rained on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona sits where she sank, occasionally leaking a little bit of oil as if to tell people about the 1177 sailors and Marines still entombed there.
The Japanese thought that they could take over all that Pacific real estate if they could wipe out the U.S. fleet in Pearl Harbor.
Math and reality were apparently not Mr. Tojo’s strong points because, while the attack was brilliantly planned and executed, he forgot that the United States is located on a huge continent with plenty of resources and that the only way you can truly win a war is to invade and occupy your enemy. He thought Japan could do that with China. He thought that with the United States’ imminent pre-occupation with Hitler we would be too busy and weak to open a Pacific front. He thought that if he hit us hard enough, the people of the United States would be so demoralized that we would never mess with the Japanese empire.
Of course, he was wrong.
Fast forward to 2001.
The enemy is now constituted somewhat differently. It is not state sponsored ― although the level of state assistance is very much open for debate ― but it executed a plan similar to the mad man from Japan’s attack on Hawaii. Except that it was executed against a civilian target.
We have no doubt that it was necessary for President Franklyn D. Roosevelt to deal with some politicians who thought that if we just gave the Japanese the Pacific real estate they wanted they would leave us alone.
He, of course, was un-persuaded and World War Two ensued.
George Bush’s dilemma is somewhat similar. The difference is that we now have the most open society in the world and anybody with a word processor can be a pundit. Even Michael Moore.
We stood on the surrender deck of the retired battleship USS Missouri last weekend and looked down her 16-inch guns at the Arizona Memorial, just off her bow.
Then, we went to the Memorial and looked down at the hull of the sunken tomb.
And we have some questions.
Does Whoopi Goldberg really think she’s relevant?
Does Linda Ronstadt really think that her freedom to be a complete and total invective spewing jerk comes for free?
Would these blowhards have, given the opportunity, called President Roosevelt the same names they now call President Bush?
Do these people really think that President Bush wakes up in the morning and says to himself, “today, I’m sending some more cannon fodder to Iraq for no good reason except to support my friends in the oil business”?
And do they really think things would have been much different had their patron saint Al Gore been in office?
The truth is that there are a whole lot of people in America now who now have no relationship to World War Two. Their parents didn’t fight in it and it is a distant memory in a history book from middle school.
And that’s why the people who have an axe to grind ― and the axe is usually that they’re not in power and they want to be ― are willing to grind it over the sacrifices made by the crew of the Arizona, the Oklahoma, the Nevada and the thousands who were killed the day that a Japanese General thought he could somehow break the will of the United States with a sneak attack.
Linda Ronstadt, Whoopie Goldberg, Michael Moore and for that matter the entire invective spewing left wing of the Democratic Party should take that Navy launch out to the Arizona Memorial, read that list of names and have a little more respect for the people who sacrificed their lives so that they could take the political positions they take today.
This is America. You have the absolute right to hold any political belief you want. We’re not nearly as upset with their positions as the complete disregard with which they hold anybody who doesn’t agree with them.
We suspect that they have become the people General Tojo was counting on then, and certainly that the enemy we face today is now counting on to break America’s will.
If an up-close visit to sacred ground doesn’t moderate their position at least it might convince them to show a little more respect for the rest of us