Thursday, December 7, 2006
A Day Which Will Live in Infamy
Today is December 7. Now, many events have occurred today, but as an American, one event sticks out, or at least it should. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of Americans forget what happened 65 years ago. For today is the day, American learned the price of peace, for on January 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan (more precisely Shogun Hideki Tojo) carried out a battle on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, without a declaration of war. Of course, the warning signs were evident, as Japan had sought to conquer China and the US placed embargos on Japan as well as closing the Panama Canal to their ships in response for establishing the puppet state of Manchuko. We should have prepared for retaliation. The day after the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his Infamy Speech which highlighted Japan's aggressive acts not only in Hawaii, but against British Malaya (to include the beautiful Singapore), Hong Kong, Guam, and the Philippines, the latter two being American territory. Congress responded by declaring war, and this was the last time war was officially declared. Now, the battle was carried out without any formal declaration of war, which was Japan's tactic and should have been noted. This tactic also tremendously backfired, as Japan just managed to severely piss off the United States, and Churchill's response to Pearl Harbor was that he could now win World War II (Sir Winston actually did his homework on America), and he was right, for after the US declared war on Japan, Italy and Germany (and I could include the Vichy poodle, but why bother) declared war on America and sealed their fate. As Americans grew angry and wanted revenge, Japan was infected with victory disease and felt they could conquer the world, but didn't bet on the force of a united America. Now, while I consider the Pearl Harbor attack dishonorable, I thoroughly condemn any individual attacks on Americans of Japanese descent (along with Aleutians and others who "looked Japanese", to include Koreans who really hated the Japanese), along with the internment camps. These actions too are a dark spot on America's history and indefensible. I also want to point out that the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was composed of Americans of Japanese descent who were mostly Hawaiian and chose to respond to such injustice with honor. Now, the main issue is that sadly so many Americans forget what happened today and I imagine even many soldiers forget why flags were at half staff today. Today is a solemn day that is not remembered, but should. If you go to Hawaii, I recommend you see the memorial to the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.