Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Few Ruminations (and Weird News Roundup)

Today, 65 years ago, the United States suffered the loss of most of its Pacific Fleet, along with 2500 American lives. The act, a sneak attack that some people had actually seen coming years earlier, gave the US that one last shove that put us into war with Japan. Ironically, the one international pact Hitler's Germany honored to the letter was his commitment to declare war on the US if Japan went to war with America.

A lot of people liked to draw parallels between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 - but there are crucial differences:

1. The Japanese Empire was not a small group of religious fanatics led by a malevolent charismatic; it was an established nation with a large population driven to war as a means of acquiring raw materials and Lebensraum.

2. Most (if not all) of the 2500 casualties at Pearl Harbor were military. Most of the casualties on 9/11 were civilians.

3. From 7 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the United States and its allied coalition destroyed not one, but three empires (Germany, Japan and Italy). From 11 September 2001 to 7 December 2006 - longer than our entire formal involvement in the Second World War - we have not beaten the Taliban, we have not secured Afghanistan, and we have not secured Iraq. Former Vice President Al Gore characterized this as the worst foreign policy mistake in American history (it probably is - I haven't checked).

4. At the end of the Second World War, America was the moral arbiter of the world and the strongest military machine in history. At this point in the "War on Terror," we have seen our moral standing swept away by torture and detention without trial, and many nations look on us as being worse than al Qaeda. To quote Walt Kelly's Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Now, for News of the Weird:
A woman was put off a plane for lighting matches to mask the stench of her flatulence. What's next? Ejecting someone for farting to cover up their halitosis?
An elderly man died of heart failure while on a flight from London to New York. He got a seat upgrade from Business to First Class. Think about it.


Blogger pissed off patricia said...

That's a great list of the differences in 9-11 and Pearl Harbor.

I'm just shaking my head when I think about what this administration has done to the world, our country and the reputation of America around the world. When bush was elected the second time, I think the rest of the world wondered what in the hell was going on here. Who could blame them? The message we sent was that we supported all the insane things he was doing. Ya think we can ever turn this thing around?

Have a great weekend and stay warm :)

8:00 AM EST  

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