|By Clyde Lewis
I know that you probably have had it up to your ears in Pearl harbor stories. The mainstream media wants to do retrospectives and stories showing the attacks and the devious nature of the Japanese. World War II is a war that will end up having many myths spun about it. Lately there is another myth spinning just below the loud and bombastic special effects. It is a myth that perhaps Roosevelt knew about the impending attack and did nothing to stop it. After doing a little research the question still needs to be asked, "Is it truly a myth?"
I always seem to wince and struggle every time I decide to contradict history. The reason I do is because I know that there are a small amount of those keyboard commandos just waiting for an excuse to start a flame war on my website calling me every word that fails to show up in an abridged dictionary.
Well to save you the trouble of calling me a jackass, and a party pooper I am going to level you with some things about Pearl Harbor that the learned know about.
People in the high places donít want to dwell on these things because it will make the Military look bad, and makes one of our most revered Presidents look like a blood hungry warlord.
It will once again make you stop and wonder what my purpose is in writing this article. Some will question my patriotism because it shows America playing the bad guy in the most infamous way.
I once got in an argument with a friend of mine. He called me on when I lamented that the United States has walked in a grey area of Fascism for many years. I say that not because I hate the United States, but because I love the United States and worry that if we downplay the awful things we do to others we may end up being brought down in a horrendous way.
He yelled at me when I brought up that Government today is beginning to look more and more fascist.
He said "You throw that word around and our government is not and has never been as Fascist as Nazi Germany, or Mussoliniís Italy or Stalinís Russia."
I then agreed and said, well maybe I am over doing it a bit. Maybe I am wrong.
We have never killed 6 Million Jews. We Donít have imposed curfews at least not all the time. Many donít glorify the state, unless of course you believe in flag burning laws and laws that protect government and not you. I guess it can be said that we are far from being Hitlarian.
But are we like Stalin in that we murder those who wish to thwart our supremacy?
Thatís arguable too I suppose.
I guess we have different views as to what fascism is.
The definition of fascism to me is a political system based on a very powerful leader, state control and extreme pride in country and race, and in which political opposition is not allowed Fascists in my opinion believe their race is biologically superior to other races. They use the state run propaganda machine to create a consensus acceptance of their philosophies, and the State eliminates those who question their motives.
Pull out an encyclopedia and you get this definition of Fascism
"Totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life. The name was first used by the party started by Benito Mussolini who ruled Italy from 1922 until the Italian defeat in World War II. However, it has also been applied to similar ideologies in other countries, e.g., to Nazism in Germany and to the regime of Francisco Franco in Spain. The term is derived from the Latin Fasces."
I guess you can console yourself into thinking that we arenít that bad off in the United States, and yet others may see the definition and apply it to "big brother" posturing by the state.
Celebrity status is being doled out to our presidents and rulers, as they sharpen their smiles while squashing of the will of the people when they try to govern themselves.
There still looms the hidden ugliness of eugenics, and the evil of racism and bigotry that gets glazed over with a fine coat of political correctness.
Why donít we see the similarities of fascism with the antics of the aggregate of people in the high positions of Government and power?
We have a propaganda machine that sells out everyday for the sake of entertaining the flocks with Television shows, and movies that water down the ugliness of manís inhumanity to man. We wrap it in "love" and "sex." We twist history for the sake of not offending the home team and take liberties in painting others that are different, who speak different, or look different with an ugly brush.
We throw it together in a heavily consulted and scrutinized script.
We give it to the square jawed actor who is trying to kick his narcotics habit and an actress who has successfully cured her food habit and appears to be malnourished like a Jew in a concentration camp.
This is where we have ended up. You can get angry at me for screaming it out to you. You can bemoan my rants, and say that I am crazy and you can file me away in a file called BS.
I donít care and here is why.
The most overhyped, over budgeted film in history made its debut in American theaters Memorial day weekend 2001, and people are already feeling uneasy about opening old wounds for fear that it may cause a loss of market shares.
"Pearl Harbor" a movie that has mesmerized us with its jingoistic trailer and overkill ad campaigns is about to get a clipping in the editing room because of a speech that may offend the Japanese.
Producers are ditching a closing speech by Kate Beckinsale explaining how the US bounced back from the "cowardly" Japanese raid on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor to win the war.
Calling the Japanese "cowardly" would probably hurt sales when the movie ships to the Japanese markets. After all, they are hoping that this picture will be another "Titanic" and according to Disney Spokespersons the Japanese audiences accounted for 20 per cent of profits for "Titanic."
Disney chiefs actually canvassed people worldwide to see if anyone would be offended by the speech.
Disney also has decided that previews overseas will not focus on any battle scenes or attacks. Instead they will focus on the romantic story line.
However no matter what is done to the film the Japanese are already bracing for a film that will depict them as the bad guy.
Floyd Mori, president of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the country's largest Asian American civil rights organization is already fearful that the movie could stir up Asian hatred all over again.
Japanese groups around the United States have heightened security measures out of fear of a backlash.
Asians are complaining that the film, set in Hawaii, (a state mainly populated by Asians) featured few Asian faces. In addition, they claim, that all the Japanese characters are depicted as enemies while Japanese-American soldiers aren't featured at all.
So with all of the Asian characters in the film being evil, two faced, and shifty why would Disney even bother to excise a piece of the movie in order to please the Japanese?
Is money truly the only reason?
Maybe Disney has a guilty conscience.
Americans will tell you that they know all about history. However it becomes more and more evident that with Hollywood churning out what appears to be historical epics, and history books continuing to repeat the lies of biographers and mythmakers that history will suffer.
The truth will eventually placed in the amusing arena of conspiratorial hodgepodge because it is often the colloquialism that "truth" is indeed stranger that fiction.
It is safe to call what I write about "A truth" and not "The Truth" because there are so many versions of a story and all of the accounts must be heard and told.
Many famous people have said that history is more or less "agreed upon" and that heroes write history. It was Henry Ford who said
"History is more or less bunk."
So it is necessary to challenge the thinking of those who have literally taken for granted that they know a thing or two about historical events.
We are at a time in history where the old warlords and veterans are dying off.
Those who fought in World War II are dying and their stories are dying with them. Once the generation of witnesses die off it will be even more difficult to ascertain just what really happened during that war.
World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor will be romanticized on the big screen and all kinds of money and propaganda will be there to pacify those who are too lazy to pick up a history book and learn.
With this Hollywood attempt to sanitize and glamorize the war, we as a people should take the time to actually pay attention to those who lived it. The 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is coming this year and for most of the veterans of that war it will be their last year to even get their thank you, or their memorial. It will be their last year to get out the truth.
No matter how ugly or outrageous it may sound.
You can choose to watch it in a movie, and of course many will, and it will have a love story in it, followed by pyrotechnics and effects that will dazzle and titillate.
Hopefully someone will strip away the Hollywood version, and be motivated to study that war brings out the best and worst in people. Sure there are heroes and heroines, and I am sure there are love stories all over the place.
But let us not forget that war makes some people act in ways that are diabolical and draconian. Sometimes even the ones you think are on your side can act as evil and ugly as the enemy you fear.
Movies like "Pearl Harbor" are fine and they rally the masses for a piece of that patriotic apple pie.
But when movies like these come out I get the feeling that a lot of younger people go to them and think that they are reality. That the romantic touches tend to take a front seat and the ugliness is made into a Saturday morning cartoon.
War is ugly.
I worry that Movies like "Pearl Harbor" create a clouded view of the times. That perhaps it may glorify war and that we start to see the truth of itís ugliness being kept from people for fear that they may be offended, or that it will keep the shadow of the atrocities looming forever in the publicís collective consciousness.
The Government doesnít need any more bad publicity.
The government has an interesting way of twisting the truth, and since they are the all powerful, all knowing talking head they can create a mythological view of exactly what happened in 1941.
The producers of the film "Pearl Harbor" have already gone to great pains to render a patriotic endearment to an event that has been called the mother of all conspiracies. Itís a love story with a bombing in Hawaii cleverly hidden in the film somewhere.
I know its fiction. I know itís just a film. But I cringe at the thought of people actually thinking that this may even hint at nonfiction. I squirm at the thought that this film is going to be a flag waving American romance that will make everything about World War II look as fun and cartoon like as a Hoganís Heroes episode.
Look at what the movie "The Patriot" did for history, not to mention "Titanic."
I laugh inside knowing that while people praised these overblown epics, that in the same breath they wished that Oliver Stoneís JFK would have kept things better left unknown.
But hey, who am I to rain on the parade? "Pearl Harbor" just a love story with heroes and bombs.
No harm in that.
We can walk away with that "we sure showed them" attitude at the end of the film.
Some will say thatís harmless.
What isnít harmless is that this film will obviously depict a "Cowboy and Indian" mentality and all of the hype and glory will never uncover the deception, abuse, and bigotry that came from the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I was listening the other day to some one from "Entertainment Tonight" going on and on about the movie claiming that it is a romance within a remarkable historic event included.
He was so enamoured with the story line and the idea that he saw the film on an aircraft carrier in Pearl Harbor, and that Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the U.S.A."
That would choke anyone up, right?
He was saying that he could not believe how ruthless the Japanese were. That it was clearly a dastardly deed and that this film clearly shows that the American spirit always prevails against a common foe.
He was approaching that unsafe territory where he could have said that it was obvious that the heroes of 1941 were taken totally by surprise by the "cowardly Japanese."
They are so wily, those Japs.
There are other ways of saying it, without coming right out and saying the word "Jap" but of course that would be politically incorrect and it seems that Hollywood excels in hiding the inconvenient sentiment that existed in the 1940ís.
I am sure that no one will walk away from the "Pearl Harbor" theater experience talking about what America did to Japanese Americans after the bombing took place.
The American Military, reeling from the hysteria of the attack on Pearl Harbor feared that there would be a Japanese attack on the West Coast. They were convinced that the areaís Japanese-American population could harbor spies and saboteurs.
So they convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign Executive Order 9066 ordering the evacuation and relocation of Japanese Americans. They were transferred to internment camps. Ten relocation centers were hurriedly built in desolate areas of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.
Of course relocation center was a nice little American euphemism for concentration camp.
Always remember that Jews were placed in Concentration "death" camps, Japanese Americans were placed in "relocation centers."
Japanese Americans were given as little as a week to pack and leave their homes and businesses. They were AMERICAN CITIZENS forced to live in tar paper shacks lined with barbed wire!
While the Jews of Europe were forced into wearing clothing with Stars of David on them to signify their race, the Japanese wore numbered Identification tags sewn into their clothing.
Not only did the U.S. Government give the relocation their blessing other lobbyists for the evacuation of the Japanese included white businessmen and farmers, who resented economic competition from the Japanese-Americans.
Thousands of Japanese Americans on the West Coast were forced into internment camps after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. They were accused of no crime, and two-thirds were native-born Americans, but they were considered a security threat because of their Japanese ancestry.
This knee jerk response was obviously based in bigotry. It was the most serious violation of constitutional rights in U.S. history. It is also important to point out that during the war that there were no internment orders applied to Americans of German or Italian descent.
This puts the Military and President Roosevelt in a bad light. Itís a dark page in our history. In war everyone acts badly.
But in the case of the Hollywood "Pearl Harbor" controlling interests are at stake. Not only do we want the Japanese money at the box office, budget strains force the producers to lean on the Military for advice, and big guns to play with. The Military does help with some movies but only on one condition.
The script has to make the Military look good.
The Hollywood "Pearl Harbor" movie will be the darling of all who want to think that somehow this love story, and jingoistic propaganda is rooted in history but the truth has been sanitized and homogenized for your protection and their pocketbook.
A news story, reporting the progress of the movie production detailed that the movie "Pearl Harbor" met the micromanaging of the Pentagon.
It had to happen because of a behind the scenes agreement the military has made with Hollywood. In exchange for providing Hollywood with military advice, personnel and equipment for movies and TV shows, the Pentagon gets an advance look at scripts and has a chance to negotiate changes.
The Pentagon only supplies equipment when the film is pro military. When it depicts them as Gods or heroes.
I guess itís a reasonable condition.
Thatís why movies like Apocalypse Now, and Independence Day didnít get any help from the Military.
In fact in the case of "Independence day" Senators like Utah Republican Orrin Hatch was worried that a large flying saucer obliterating the Whitehouse with a green death ray was sending the wrong message.
The only thing they were worried about is that when the spaceship fired on the Whitehouse and it blew up, the audience stood up and cheered.
Since the Military had approval for the "Pearl Harbor" script and the toys were sent their way Disney pulled out all of the tricks to get this patriotic wagging of the dog to hunt.
Disney paid more than $1 million for military assistance, which included the permission to exclusively shoot at Pearl Harbor, and Ford Island. The navy also supplied more than 20 inactive ships from the 1960s and 1970s, which were then modified with CGI effects to make them look vintage.
The Navy also sailed the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to hold the movie premiere on its flight deck. This of course ran up another $5 million dollars which is only half of Pearl Harborís $110 Million dollar budget.
All of this glitz and wagging for just "a love story" and not a history lesson.
Maybe we would do better if we put big budgets into telling an historical truth.
The whole idea of all of this money changing for a three-hour love fest that has very little historical values sickens me for some reason. Itís not that I donít think people should have fun and create some entertainment, but it seems that itís overkill for a film that can probably never satisfy those who fought the war and those who were destroyed by prejudice that continued after it.
I can tell right away, without viewing "Pearl Harbor" that it will be a film with no soul.
It is obvious that itís a half-baked attempt at stirring good old-fashioned American patriotism without the thought of why we remember, why we care, and what really happened.
It is imperative that we do not kid ourselves about the war and the attitudes that existed before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Around 5000 servicemen were killed in the raid on Pearl Harbor, an event that forced America into the war and which is scarred into the memories of thousands of veterans.
If you are planning on seeing the movie "Pearl Harbor" keep in mind that this film will not be looking into any of the newly uncovered information pointing out that Franklin Roosevelt knew full well that the Japanese were going to attack.
It will not point out that the bombing of Pearl Harbor was the very event that changed the minds of isolationist Americans who did not approve of plunging the country into war.
The questions that will not be answered are the very questions that will be de-bunked harshly by critics who will claim that anyone who questions history is a lone nut.
They are in many peopleís eyes speculative allegations based on circumstantial evidence.
One of the most horrific allegations is that in order to get the country to get angry and demand war with Europe, Roosevelt had to deliberately put our fleet in the crosshairs of the Japanese. It would show our vulnerability to attacks by aggressors.
It has been uncovered that Roosevelt knew when and where the Japanese were going to attack days before the December 7th 1941 bombing.
There are many people who reject this very allegation outright. They canít believe that the politicians of the 1930ís and 1940ís could have committed that unforgivable sin of creating a situation that would spark outrage.
Yet in the year 2001 the stories of corruption and methodical bombings, and shootings to provoke a response wind up in conspiracy circles and eventually on the nightly news.
We are apt to think that the Timothy McVeigh story is unique. That a bomb meant for the BATF didnít make its mark, because they were well aware of it before the event occurred. So they actually didnít show up to work. However collateral damage of 168 dead was enough to rally the people into demanding stricter laws against terrorism, and virtually leveled the militia.
What if it was a well planned attack to get the public to demand action?
Declassified documents also have surfaced showing that the American Military would do anything to create public outcry for a certain action.
Back in the 1960ís the U.S, was looking for an excuse to invade Cuba, but the public was not for it. Documents that were declassified say that Senior U.S.administration officials under the late president John Kennedy contemplated blowing up a U.S. navy ship in Guantanamo Bay, faking casualties and blaming it on Cuban President Fidel Castro. In a March 1962 memo, an anonymous Pentagon official outlined "a series of well coordinated incidents to take place in and around Guantanamo Bay to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces."
Possibilities included "Sabotaging a ship in the harbor; creating large fires Ė with naphthalene, a combustible chemical compound, and "Sink the ship near the harbor entrance and then conduct a funeral for mock victims."
Where would the Military come up with such an idea?
Could their examples be the war planners of the 1940ís?
Is it possible that FDR knew all along that the fleet were going to be hit with a Japanese attack?
If he knew then why would he keep it quiet?
Well if you check out the purported theories that have been around since the 1940ís you will see that there was an overwhelming paranoia and fear after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Blame needed to be passed on to some one for the negligence. The government had their suspects and the people were already speaking in hushed tones about a President who wanted to go to war in Europe so badly that he would resort to subterfuge, something of course that a lot of people would dismiss.
After all, that would be a criminal conspiracy of the highest order. It would violate the trust of the people.
It is theorized that Roosevelt systematically and deliberately provoked the Japanese into attacking the United States to show our vulnerability. If people rallied behind a war effort Roosevelt could go after Hitler.
It is alleged that Roosevelt was well aware of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, he let it happen for reasons similar to the ones that were considered with Guantanamo Bay 21 years later. He needed a crucible to bring about his plans for war with the Axis powers.
Coincidentally a year before the attack at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt ordered the Pacific Fleet to relocate from the West Coast to Hawaii.
Admiral Richardson,the fleet commander wondered why Roosevelt would make such an order when Pearl Harbor had no adequate protection from air or torpedo attacks.
After his protests he was conveniently replaced.
After the relocation of the fleet in the fall of 1940 Navy analyst Arthur McCollum wrote an eight-point memo for Roosevelt on how to force Japan into war with U.S. Every point to bring Japan closer to the breaking point were accomplished. Including an Oil and Steel Embargo against the Japanese.
It was like kicking a fence to get a dog irritated. If you irritate the dog enough it will bite.
On June 22nd 1941 Hitler attacked Russia. A day later, Harold Ickes, FDRís Advisor wrote a memo for the President where he speculated that "there might develop (from the embargoing of oil to Japan) a situation which would make it not only possible but easy to get into this war in an effective way. And if we should thus indirectly be brought in, we would avoid the criticism that we had gone in as an ally of communistic Russia."
Ickes also wrote in his diary: "For a long time I have believed that our best entrance into the war would be by way of Japan."
It has been reported that On December 6th 1941 that FDR had received a message that was intercepted by the U.S. Navy. It was sent from Tokyo to the Japanese Embassy in Washington the message was clear that due to the heavy economic sanctions Japan was terminating relations with the United States.
Roosevelt knew that this meant that War was imminent, yet he did nothing.
The Codes that were sent to Roosevelt were known as "purple" codes and they had already been cracked earlieróbecause there were other codes sent some three months before the attack.
On September 24th 1941 Washington deciphered a message from the Naval Intelligence Headquarters in Tokyo to Japanís consul-general in Honolulu, requesting grid positions of U.S. Navy ships in the harbor. Commanders in Hawaii were not told about the intercepted code. They were not warned either.
In the year 2001 the U.S. Government still refuses to declassify many pre-attack decryptions on the grounds that it would violate "national security"
The Japanese were ready to fire the first shot. Which allegedly was in the plan from the beginning.
Roosevelt knew that if he could maneuver Japan into firing at the United States first then there would be no doubt as to who the bad guys were.
By November it was apparent that the Japanese were exhausted from the harsh economic pressures of the west.
By November 25th, 1941 FDR received a "positive war warning" from Winston Churchill that the Japanese would strike against America at the end of the first week in December.
On orders from Washington D.C. both US aircraft carriers, the Enterprise and the Lexington, were ordered out of Pearl Harbor "as soon as possible". This order included downsizing the protection of the area by 50 planes. The protection was reduced by some 40 percent!
Remember what Admiral Richardson said about Pearl Harbor and how it was an area that had poor protection in the first place?
On the same day Cordell Hull issued his ultimatum demanding full Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and all of China. The U.S. Ambassador to Japan called this "The document that touched the button that started the war."
On November 29 Hull told United Press reporter Joe Leib that Pearl Harbor would be attacked on December 7. However The New York Times reported on December 8 (after The attack) that the United states knew that the attack was going to happen a week before it did.
On December 1 Office of Naval Intelligence, ONI, 12th Naval District in San Francisco found the missing Japanese fleet by correlating reports from the four wireless news services and several shipping companies that they were getting signals west of Hawaii.
A few days before the attack FDR wrote to the Australian Prime Minister, "There is always the Japanese to consider. Perhaps the next four or five days will decide the matters."
It was even reported the Australians confirmed to FDR that the Japanese fleet was headed for Hawaii 3 days before the bombing, but Roosevelt dismissed it as a politically motivated rumor circulated by republicans.
This is the sneak attack from the "cowardly" Japanese?
Well it was a sneak attack for the servicemen who died.
It was a surprise for Admiral Husband Kimmel. who was the commander of the Pacific Fleet and also the commanding General Walter Short.
It was a big surprise. Because they werenít told of the warnings. They werenít given any indication of what was about to happen.
Both Kimmel and Short were crucified by the public as being negligent, even though General George Marshall, and Admiral Harold Stark who were top brass could have notified the men of the message and the declaration of war.
What followed the Pearl Harbor Bombing was a war with the Axis powers. It turned isolationist Americans into activists. Boys were running to their recruitment centers ready and willing to fight a war.
It turned a nation into a fighting machine. Willing to protect its borders.
But it also kindled a hatred and prejudice against Asians.
We walked that thin line of fascism that at the time was only pinned on the other people. Pinned on Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler.
I know we didnít imprison and slaughter 6 million Jews.
But we imprisoned thousands of Asians.
At wars end we dropped an Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan.
Something that we history tells us we had to do to end the war. Several thousands of people died in both atomic blasts. We can also add those who have died due to radiation induced cancers and leukemia, which amounted to some 400 within 30 years, and which may ultimately reach about 550. Some 93,000 exposed survivors are still being monitored.
Teratogenic effects on fetuses was severe among those heavily exposed, resulting in birth deformities and stillbirths. Beyond this, no genetic damage has been detected in survivors' children, despite careful and continuing investigation by a joint Japanese-US Foundation.
The sad thing is that we are told that it was a necessary evil.
However In 1946 the U.S. strategic Bombing survey did an exhaustive study and found out the Japanese were actually preparing a writ of surrender as the bombs hit.
The Survey found that before November 1st and certainly prior December 31st, 1945 Japan was certainly going to surrender.
On June 20th 1945 the survey concluded that the emperor and the supreme war council had already secretly decided to end the war.
Two atomic bombs made by the allied powers (the USA and UK) from uranium-235 and plutonium-239 were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively early in August 1945.
I guess The United States was never told that the Japanese were ready to surrender.
What followed were two Asian wars. Korea and Vietnam.
More Asians were slaughtered in that war too. We obviously had a lot of payback to deliver.
In 2001 we are hearing rumors of war with the Chinese. In Sixty years time I know one thing is sure.
We have a hard time getting the message.