"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Days of Deceit: 12-7-41 and 9-11-01
Those of us interested in building a free society have to face certain inconvenient facts about human psychology. One of the most inconvenient is that the majority of people are conspiracy theorists. Most people believe that there is a massive conspiracy by the rich and powerful to help and protect the average citizen.
There is reason to believe in a genetic basis for the attractiveness of this belief: humans are genetically adapted to live in small, tribal bands. In hunter-gatherer bands, everyone is related and obedience to the tribal leaders is crucial. In a small, tribal band, the tribal leaders had genetic incentives to conserve the lives of their relatives/followers. In order to out-compete and genetically dominate neighboring bands, it is essential that all members of the tribe follow the call to war. Like bees responding to attack pheromones, primitive Homo sapiens respond to tribal leaders screaming about outside threats by uniting to kill the outsiders.
None of our genetic predispositions prepare us for life in modern nation-states with hundreds of millions of people. To live in a free society, it is necessary to think for ourselves, something that requires a lot of effort and makes us feel uncomfortable. It's a lot easier to just fall into the old, tribal ways of thinking, and follow people who look authoritative and talk loudly. So the majority of mankind follow the 'tribal leaders' that they see on TV, when the 'leaders' call them to war.
The 'leaders' are tribal too, but in a different way. They see the great mass of humanity not as their tribe, but as their flocks, to be driven and slaughtered for the profit of their personal tribe. Even the vegetarian leaders, like Hitler, are willing to consume their followers' lives.
The antidote to TV-generated 'leaders' is knowledge of history. People with a grasp of history can use the knowledge of how rulers deceived people in the past to anticipate the lies of the future. Historical knowledge is not difficult to come by . . . except perhaps in public schools, where it is most critical. But those of us not trapped in the educational gulag have no excuse for not knowing a little about the past. Especially when we have well-researched works such as Robert Stinnett's Day Of Deceit available at our local libraries.
There was suspicion from the beginning that Roosevelt deliberately pushed the Japanese military leaders into attacking Pearl Harbor so that he could get the war he wanted: the war to expand government in spite of the economic failures of the increasingly unpopular New Deal. It isn't taught in public school histories, but people were getting tired of the permanent Depression by 1940. Only the gathering threat of foreign war distracted the voters enough to keep Roosevelt in office in 1940. Even with the political boost of the war, the Democrats lost the House anyway in 1948.
There have been nine Congressional investigations into Pearl Harbor , the last by Strom Thurmond in 1995. But none of these investigations succeeded in the elementary step of calling the Navy radio intercept operators to testify. Though the Congress summoned them more than once, the Navy has stonewalled all these years, claiming 'national security' reasons right up through 1995 . . . as though the pre-digital-computer encryption schemes of 1940 were of any relevance in the 1990s. The only 'security' provided by 50-year-old lies is security for the bureaucracies that continue to lie to us today.
Stinnett interviewed some of these Navy intercept personnel, as well as making numerous FOIA requests. Many of his requests were denied for 'security' reasons, but he has assembled enough documentary and interview evidence to draw a clear picture of Roosevelt 's plan to make Americans fight a World War on two fronts.
The book is not that long, and it's a good read. So I won't try to cover every detail that Stinnett dug up. His main points are:
There was an '8-action plan' for forcing the Japanese into war. Among the actions that were carried out were incursions into Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese home islands by American cruisers, conspiracy with the Dutch and English to cut off Japanese oil, and finally a total trade embargo. Keeping the main body of the fleet in Pearl Harbor was part of the plan. (Of course, in 1940 Roosevelt was simultaneously fighting an illegal undeclared war against the Nazi submarine fleet, so the '8-action plan' was only part of the overall strategy.)
The US had broken the Japanese Navy encryption well before Pearl Harbor (the US Navy has lied about this for decades). Japanese commanders trusted their cryptography, and Roosevelt had complete information of their plans and movements. These radio intercepts were made from stations in Hawaii and Corregidor , but the crucial ones were kept from Admiral Kimmel at Pearl Harbor .
The decrypted intercepts weren't even necessary. Both military and civilian Japanese ships in the attack carrier groups broke radio silence and were tracked across the Pacific by radio DF stations. Roosevelt knew exactly where the Japanese were. Incredibly, the US even issued orders diverting merchant shipping out of the North Pacific to give the Japanese a clear path.
Of course, real conspiracies aren't picture-perfect. The American destroyer Ward sank a Japanese submarine in the harbor entrance one hour and seven minutes before the first bombers arrived. Had the commander of the Ward insisted on raising the alarm instead of tamely watching as the Pearl command staff did nothing (say, by firing his five-inch guns into the harbor), the Japanese attack would have arrived over ships with manned anti-aircraft guns and faced hundreds of combat aircraft. Naturally the Japanese would still have done major damage, but US casualties would have been much lighter and Japanese losses higher. Roosevelt 's war could have been severely shortened.
In the actual event, however, Roosevelt 's plan for a long war worked out well. Japanese forces were allowed to run rampant everywhere in the Pacific. Even the US bases in the Philippines lost their aircraft to long-range attacks, many hours after Pearl Harbor . General MacArthur was rewarded for this catastrophic defeat with command of half the Pacific war.
Conversely, the out-of-the-loop admiral at Pearl Harbor , Kimmel, was made the scapegoat for the military disaster. His descendants are still trying to clear his name, fighting implacable Navy opposition and cover-ups. Stinnett shows that Kimmel gave orders for reconnaissance patrols and fleet movements that would have countered the Japanese attacks. Kimmel was repeatedly overruled from Washington , and was blamed for the effects of the orders that he followed. Kimmel's fate is a useful lesson for those who think they can prosper by 'just following orders' from those who look at humans as expendable livestock.
What other lessons can we draw from Pearl Harbor ? Mainly, that government is very effective at lying, because ordinary people willingly cooperate with lies from 'tribal leaders.' Stinnett didn't know it at the time, but he was in a great position during WWII to observe the personality of political liars. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946 under the man who would become George Bush the First. Yet even this historian tries to make excuses for those who lead our tribe:
'As heinous as it seems to families and veterans of World War II, of which the author is one, the Pearl Harbor attack was, from the White House perspective, something that had to be endured in order to stop a greater evil--the Nazi invaders in Europe who had begun the Holocaust and were poised to invade England . There could be disagreement on whether the plan adopted was the right way to stop Hitler, but Roosevelt faced a terrible dilemma.'
Stopping the Holocaust would indeed have been a good thing. Roosevelt did nothing of the kind; there were no demands that the Nazis quit executing Jews, no missions to arm Jews or destroy death camps. Nor was there any mention of deals to spare the civilian populations in Roosevelt 's 'Unconditional Surrender' announcement, which kept the Germans fighting and killing Jews long after hope of victory had gone. In fact, even before the war, America forcibly turned back ships full of Jews who had escaped Germany , dooming them to death. Roosevelt actually knew about the Holocaust quite early, but kept quiet for reasons of short-term political convenience. Neither Churchill (because of Palestine ) nor Stalin wanted to save the Jewish population. A few European Jews survived the Holocaust only because Patton refused to follow the 'broad-front' policy whenever he could get away with it, and shortened the war for his own personal glory.
As for stopping the invasion of England , starting a two-front war with Japan was arguably one of the few ways to make such an invasion possible in 1941 (military historians mostly agree that an invasion of England could only have worked in 1940, before arms shipments from the US rearmed the defeated BEF). In any case, presenting America 's involvement in WWII as a philanthropic affair ignores the facts. The main foreign effects of our involvement were to take Eastern Europe from Hitler and give it to Stalin, and to take China from the Japanese and give it to Mao. The domestic effects of WWII were to build the permanent 'security state' (yet somehow without ever building any actual security for the civilian population, e.g. no civil defense).
Interventionists cannot point to World War II as an example of preserving freedom through total war; arguably, WWII was the War to Preserve Communism. War between states is rarely philanthropic, and World War II was no exception. I believe there may be ways to restrain dictators, but fire-bomb and nuclear bombing campaigns against their civilian subjects are not among the most efficient methods of promoting freedom.
Regardless of one's opinion as to whether America should be a giant Switzerland , expanding its lebensraum only into space and the oceans, or Roman Empire : The Sequel, the Pearl Harbor story is valuable for what it tells us about how official 'history' is fabricated. If you want to understand the principles behind the creation of the official version of 9-11-01 , study 12-7-41 . . . or wait 50 more years for historians to dig out the truth behind Bush's quest to create a new World War.