Tuesday, December 7, 2021


You have to be very old today to have much recollection of

December 7, 1941 when the Japanese regime of that time

ordered and succeeded attacking the U.S. naval base at

Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. I myself am no youngster, but I

was in my mother’s womb at the time, and thus have no 

memories of the iconic national “sneak attack” which

brought America into World War II.

By the time I made my natal appearance six months later,

the villain in the war, Herr Hitler, was about to make the

second  of many strategic blunders by invading Russia

(his first mistake had been to declare war on the U.S. the

day after Pearl Harbor, thus giving President Roosevelt

an excuse to enter the European war.) 

In fact, Hitler made so many more blunders over the next

three years, I think his reputation as a military strategist

among some historians is much overrated.

The savviest leader in the Japanese military, Admiral

Yamamoto (who led the attack), knew Pearl Harbor,

however a devastating surprise, was ultimately a mistake

(“I fear we have now awakened a sleeping giant…..”) It was

a desperate action by the Japanese militaristic clique

which for a decade been riding roughshod over eastern

Asia, but was now shut out of needed resources as the

penalty for its bad behavior.

Not until September 11, 2001 did the U.S endure another

military surprise attack, but this time the attacker was not a’

single country, but a multinational jihad. In this case, the

“sleeping giant” awoke again — although it has not been

able to bring about an unconditional ending as it did in 1945.

Now we have gone through a surprise attack not by national

military, nor by a multinational group, but by a virus which 

not singled the U.S. out — it has attacked globally.

Although there are  articles inevitably written about how

the “day of infamy” is being forgotten, it is the nature  of

human events that they fade in memory as those who lived

through them pass away or grow old.  I don’t think a citizen in

Rome, Italy today is emotionally distraught by what happened

to Caeser on the Ides of March two millennia ago.

The best we seem able to do is preserve and remember  the

facts of events as best we can — something easier said than

done, even in an age with videos and forensics.

History always unfolds with periodic surprises. The future,

sometimes predictable, is always ultimately guesswork


Copyright (c) 2021 by Barry Casselman. All  rights reserved.



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