Monday, December 7, 2009

The day that will live in infamy

There are fewer and fewer Americans alive who recall that Sunday morning when members of an advanced force from the Imperial Nation of Japan carried out their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. What is forgotten in the wake of 9/11 was the outrage at the empire of Japan, the mourning of the great loss of American lives and the embarrassment that we had let our guard down and allowed this to happen. Providence played a hand because, despite the incredible fortune of the attacking force that dispatched much of the American fleet stationed there, not one aircraft carrier was berthed at Pearl Harbor that morning. Had the United States lost one single aircraft carrier, the fate of future battles might have tipped toward the Japanese. As it turned out, the attack was devastatingly decisive. The elements of the Japanese Navy that planned the logistics probably could never have imagined how successful this foray would have been. Such plans had been discussed for years by the Japanese military, who viewed American hegemony in the Pacific as detrimental to their own imperialism. 68 years ago Americans were galvanized and plunged into a war of purpose against an enemy that could be readily seen in Tokyo, Rome and Berlin. Today's enemies are much more stealthy. We can only surmise where Al Queda and the Taliban are hiding. The good news is that big attacks like those that happened in 2001 are not as likely to happen. The bad news is that we must submit to measures that make us more secure, but less free in order to prevent future occurrences. Would that our enemies were not so invisibles. The new surge in Afghanistan is an example where our conventional forces are still having trouble dealing with guerilla tactics that wear our troops down and pick us off one i.e.d. at a time. Of course I hope we can get the job done in the time allotted, but I fear that many of our bravest and our best will suffer at the hands of this unseen enemy who would like nothing more than for us to abandon our way of life and our resolve.

No comments: