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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is the 67th Anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, if my math is correct.

To us it is "a day that will live in infamy." It united our nation and when Germany declared war on us several days later there was no question that we would take them on also.

However, for many Japanese it is still "The Greatest Single Victory that Disprove White Supremacy." Thus writes Dr Tohmatsu Haruo in H P Willmott's Pearl Harbor.

I don't know Dr Tohmatsu Haruo, but I know and have worked with both Ned Willmott and Spencer Johnson, the other two authors of the book. I respect them both, thus by reference I give respect to Dr Tohmatsu Haruo's understanding of the attack from the Japanese point of view.

It is interesting that at the time of the attack Japan had been bogged down for five years in a war in China that was growing increasingly unpopular. Thus, the victory at Pearl Harbor was a shot in the arm for them. However, it galvanized the United States. Looking back, the outcome was never in question.

From the US point of view, the defeat at Pearl Harbor could have been much worse. First, our aircraft carriers home ported at Pearl Harbor were at sea and untouched. Second, the Japanese (and here there is thick historical argument) passed up an opportunity for a third attack. But, they had achieved a six month period of freedom of action.

Today we honor those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor and thank them for their devotion to duty and dedicate ourselves to carefully thinking through the long term consequences of our actions--based upon the lessons to be learned from both the US and the Japanese side of the war that followed.

Regards -- Cliff

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