Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How We Could Have Prevented Pearl Harbor

But would it have been a good idea?
(c) 2011 by Tom King

I came across this puzzling statement today on a Facebook post about Pearl Harbor. "Japs wouldn't have even bombed us if we gave them the oil we promised for helping us in WWI."

Disregarding the racist slur that came along with the poster's apparent compassion for those who bombed us, I had to ask, "What is it with people thinking that it's our own fault every time some foreign nation bombs us, knocks down a skyscraper or blows up an embassy?"

Ron Paul during the Republican Forum on Fox the other day, blamed American policy in the Middle-East for 9/11 as though somehow we could and should be able to control the behavior of fanatical Muslim terrorists through smarter foreign policy.

This whole idea that we're somehow smart enough to figure out how to control the world's behavior is exactly what got us into all this in the first place.

We thought we could control Japan which was busily trying to create an Asia-Pacific empire at the time. We cut off selling them oil and steel because they were murdering innocent civilians in China by the millions. We thought it would make them stop murdering Chinese. Instead the Japanese got mad because we got in their way by refusing to sell them the tools that would allow them to keep murdering people.  So they attacked us. Chamberlain thought that if he gave the Germans the Sudentenland (which wasn't actually his to give away in the first place), then Hitler would leave the British alone. Next thing he knew the British were up to their eyes in German bombers.

I suppose technically this Facebook goober is correct. If we had just sold them the oil and steel they wanted, the Japanese probably wouldn't have attacked us on December 7, 1942.

If we'd have given them the oil they would have instead gone on to take China, to brutalize hundreds more cities as they did Nanking. Then, when they'd built a huge Asian empire, they'd still have bombed Pearl Harbor (just not till they'd conquered the northern resource areas (Manchuria/Siberia) and didn't need our oil and steel anymore.  It just wouldn't have been on December 7, 1942.  They they'd have attacked San Diego Harbor, San Francisco Harbor, New York Harbor, the ports of Houston, Charleston, Seattle, Miami, Mobile and on and on and on.

And we'd have been surprised because a whole lot of us don't really believe in evil. We think, like the B.F. Skinner behaviorists, that behavior is a result of external conditioning. Lots of us don't really believe in free will. We think everyone can be good if we just give them the right cookies at the right time.

But it doesn't work. You might get your kids to behave for a while, but once they are out of your control, they will do what they want to do - what they choose to do. 

On the international level, if we gave every cent we had to everybody that thought they had a grievance against us, we'd not only be broke, but they would all hate us even more because we were out of money. They'd have come to rely on it.  And, even if we did have unlimited money and gave it to them as fast as they could grab handfuls of it, they'd still hate us just like very spoiled rich kids hate their parents.

You cannot buy peace. Evil is evil. The lust for power exists and those who are evil and who lust for power need no excuse for committing acts of treachery. Oh, they will inevitably make up some sort of excuse, but that's more for you than for them. They will excuse their own behavior because of some sort of perceived slight on the part of their victims and then do or take whatever they want. They'll do it time and again until their conscience will no longer function and they have no sense of guilt anymore. When they stop making excuses you're in real trouble.

And that's pretty much when evil people self-destruct - when they don't care anymore.

The wages of sin, we are told, is death.*

Anyone who raises his hand against another, to take what does not belong to him whether it's money, land or power, commits a sin. The United States is one of the few powerful nations in Earth's history that ever chose to renounce taking the fruits of conquest. The Soviet Union planned an empire. China has never given up the idea. Even Britain still has an empire. In the last century, however, every territory won in battle by US forces has been given back to its people. In some cases, island nations, offered their independence chose to remain US territories. Others chose to be independent. Some chose poorly. Nations which attacked us unprovoked were conquered and not only freed, but we helped rebuild them.

Yet, but it seems, if you listens to the apologists, we are supposed to be the bad guys somehow.  Well, I don't think so. Yes, we've meddled in the Middle East. We helped them build oil fields and become wealthy - at least in nations where the people did not tolerate tyrants and dictators. We did not set up the nation of Israel. That was the British. All we've done is protect its existence. In return Israel has been a friend and ally in the region. We've had friendly relations with many largley Muslim nations, but remember. All Arabs are not Muslim and many are businessmen before they are religionists. We are not responsible if the religious authorities don't like us having a military base in Saudi Arabia. Nations deal with nations, not with churches.

Suppose the Christian church in the US were to demand that all mosques in the US be destroyed or that any Christian who becomes a Muslim should be killed. Would that be right?  Should other nations of the world base their relationship with the US on what the Christian church says or what the US government says.

There is a kind of political schizophrenia that progressive socialists and Ron Paul libertarians get into when talking about the Middle-East. On the one hand, they demand that the Christian church (the majority religion in the US) has no right to participate in, much less dictate US foreign policy. But with the Middle East they tell us that the demands of poorly organized religious authorities (especially the fanatical ones) should be considered above that of the duly constituted political authorities or the citizens of the nations of the Middle East.

With libertarians, the belief is that if we leave everyone else alone, their natural goodness will cause them to reciprocate and treat us well in return. Never mind that it doesn't work with evil people. The proponents of this policy believe that not "meddling" is an effective way to control the behavior of others.

With progressive socialists, it's all part of this same deluded idea that some of us are smart enough to figure out how to make everyone happy, peaceful and cooperative. They've been watching too many episodes of Star Trek in which the peaceful humans have figured out in some non-specific way how to make communism work on Earth. What they miss is the point that it's the power hungry evil planets out there that make the episodes interesting. Even the utopians realize in the end that there is plenty of evil to go around.

We Americans are raised to feel bad about accusing anyone of being bad. We were all raised to be polite. We'd rather so, "Oh, excuse me. My bad." than to have to confront bullies, thugs and evil-doers -even the petty ones. That's why you can watch on Youtube as two girls beat up another in a McDonald's and nobody steps in -- except one elderly lady whose sense of justice was rightly offended. The rest of the bystanders hauled out their cell phones to video tape the fight. Shame on them!

I'm one of those Americans who, though I don't like calling anyone evil, have come to realize that if you don't say or do anything about evil when it presents itself, you are condoning it. I can no longer say, "Excuse me," to some thug that's beating up someone half his size because I'm in his way.  And I don't think our country has any business saying, "My Bad!" when a bunch of nasty evil little minions of Satan fly an airplane full of perfectly good people into a skyscraper full of more perfectly good people.

May those of us who still believe in right and wrong find the courage to stand for what's right. It's no good thinking we can somehow manipulate other nations into doing right. It's a conceit with deadly consequences. It's the difference between the idea that might is right and that might should be used for right only. I distrust those who think their ideology is is powerful enough to manipulate the behavior of whole nations.

We're coming down to a point in history where it may be left to those who stand in the breach to do what is right to to turn the tide of totalitarianism, if it can be turned at all.

Remember the Spartans. Remember the Alamo. Remember Pearl Harbor.

Stand tall and God bless America!

Tom King

*Romand 8:28

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