Pearl Harbor Day IS a Day That Will Live in Infamy  

Posted by Rob Barton in , ,

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But why, exactly, was the Pearl Harbor attack "infamous"? The Japanese planes attacked strictly military targets and there were relatively few civilian casualties.[2] The battle was a terrible blow for the American forces, which were taken completely by surprise. But a surprise attack is not infamous in wartime; every military commander would like to attack by surprise if possible. Nor did the bitter facts of U.S. defeat and heavy losses make the raid criminal. President Roosevelt used the word "infamy" because the raid was an act of military aggression. Until that moment Japan and the United States were not at war, although their conflicting interests had been threatening to boil over. The attack turned a dispute into a war; Pearl Harbor was a crime because the Japanese struck first.

Sixty years after Pearl Harbor, the administration of G. W. Bush has made "preemption" an official part of U.S. policy. According to this so-called "Bush Doctrine," the United States claims the right to use military force whenever it determines that its security or economic interests may be threatened by another nation in the future. The Bush National Security Strategy of 2002 states that "The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction - and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."[3] In other words, if it is to our advantage, we will strike first - begin a war - when we see a potential threat.

The thing is, Mr. Lamperti, we were not the one's who killed six million Jews. Nor were we their allies. We were also not the ones who repeatedly ignored resolution after resolution handed down by the UN. We did not let the world mislead itself by not allowing UN inspectors into our country. We did not round up and kill thousands of our own citizens. So thank you, Professor, but I will continue to think of December 7, 1941 as a day that will live in infamy, just as I will consider September 11, 2001 the same.


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