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Pearl Harbor

Fraud and Myth at the Arrival of a Lousy Movie

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 30, 2001.

The debut of the narcoleptic Pearl Harbor movie this week has revived - in the summer-bored press - the Ur-conspiracy theory of the modern age: the accusations that Franklin Roosevelt conspired to provoke the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in order to put the United States in the war.

My traditional problem with this theory, and it's an old one, is that most of the people that like it are so palpably anti-Semitic that I bet they all think Roosevelt was Jewish, a not uncommon belief of the time, and this theory blends in with the old bigotries against allegedly Jewish bankers who took Mother's farm in the 1930's. Also, the people who believe this sort of thing tend to believe a lot of this sort of thing, and if not participants in the Michigan Militia seem to have an awful lot of dark discussions about the nefariousness of the U. S. government while they are sexually probed in hovering saucers above the decaying carcass of oddly desiccated cattle.

I temper my belief in the nefariousness of the U. S. government by extending it to any government or large organization, whether militia group or Communist Front, which takes on self-preservation attributes of its own and reacts in predictable, almost biologic ways. But in my readings of all the events that transpired here, I cannot credit any accusation that Roosevelt encouraged or even wanted an attack on Pearl Harbor or even on the Philippines or anywhere in the Pacific.

Roosevelt very much wanted to go to war against Germany, and this is sometimes presented as a horrid thing. On the contrary, I believe history has thanked Roosevelt insufficiently for this worthy endeavor. Some wars need to be fought and won. As Lincoln willed the Civil War, Roosevelt and Churchill willed World War Two fought. I do not see how slavery, Nazism, or the horrendous Japanese Imperial culture could have been stopped otherwise, and I don't see how anyone can say they should not have been. If Roosevelt tried to get the United States into the war, it was the right thing to do.

But it isn't entirely true. Roosevelt, like most Americans of the time, didn't really take the Japanese seriously. It was racist twaddle, pure and simple, but Americans considered the Japanese small, annoying, pretentious people with their silly living god emperor. In any case, everyone knew they couldn't see at night because of their slanted eyes. This was the common, establishment belief. Germany, on the other hand, thanks to the veterans of the First World War and Charles Lindbergh - who thought them invincible - was another matter, full of tall, blonde Viking warriors with great planes and ships and noble generals. The Allies made a big deal about the threat of the Bismarck,but the biggest battleships ever built belonged to the Japanese, and we had no clue to their existence till the war began.

It is often assumed that the attack on Pearl Harbor put the United States in the war with Germany. It did not. The Axis powers - Germany, Japan, and Italy - had what was called the Tripartite Treaty, but it only kicked in if one of them was attacked. Germany was not under any obligation to go to war when Japan attacked us. When Germany declared war on the United States it was something of a surprise. If Germany had not done so, America would have focussed all its attention on Japan. England would have suffered, since it could not fight Germany alone or with the assumed questionable competence of the Soviets. As it was, it had been agreed that Germany was the enemy to beat first, not Japan, and the Pacific received much less in the way of men and machines than the Atlantic. In short, the attack on Pearl Harbor did not meet Roosevelt's goals of war with Germany. It was the wrong war in the wrong ocean. He could not know Hitler would oblige him. In fact, Hitler's declaration of war was the real "Pearl Harbor," but for the Axis. But that aside, even if the will was there to force the attack, the technical expertise was not. Even though the competence of the military and intelligence branches are annually and clearly revealed to be very low, the conspiracy would require a vast expanse of participants, no mistakes, and pin-point timing. This doesn't happen, and has never happened. Look, American intelligence missed the Korean War, the fall of the Soviet Union, the attack on Kuwait, the various terrorist attacks on its own barracks. Our history is laced with Pearl Harbors, disasters, surprises. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is not an aberration. In fact, if one bomb hadn't destroyed the Arizona, the deaths would have been less than half of what they were, less than the Titanic in fact. As surprise attacks go, this was incompetent, pointless, and stupid. The conspiracy of Pearl Harbor would require the participation of everyone from Franklin Roosevelt to various seamen first class. In the history of human endeavor, no such plan ever works. In any case, it required Hitler's cooperation. To believe such a thing existed makes UFO abductions reasonable.