Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Day - 75th Anniversary

Steven Breen at

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest telling WWII survivors to "get over" being bombed at Pearl Harbor may be more than the Obama's typical tone deafness.  It may be the typical Obama administration response that America must have deserved to be bombed.  It was said in the context of some Americans saying that since Obama apologized for Hiroshima, Shinzo Abe should apologize for Pearl Harbor, which he refuses to do. 
Abe announced Monday that he would become the first Japanese leader to visit the Hawaiian naval station since it was bombed by Imperial Japan on Dec. 7, 1941. The visit is in response to Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic bomb drop.
Personally, I'm more OK with Abe not apologizing than Earnest telling people to "get over it".  I don't care if Abe is visiting Pearl Harbor and I didn't care when Obama was visiting Hiroshima, although his apologizing for the bombing irked me.  "Symbolic visits" mean nothing to me.  Shinzo Abe is no more responsible for bombing Pearl Harbor than Obama is responsible for nuking Hiroshima.  I believe in individual action, individual freedom and its concomitant responsibility.  Neither of these guys was alive in those days and played no part.

It's the same logic that says there's not a single person alive today that owned slaves in 1860s or that was a slave in the 1860s so no one deserves reparations and no one is responsible for providing them.

As I write this, it's about 12:30 PM, EST.  75 years ago at this time, 7:30 AM Honolulu time, the radar operators outside Pearl Harbor were seeing the first returns of the massive air invasion about to happen.  The first wave of the attack hit at 7:55 AM. 

I find it interesting that the current search radar there is still one of the most powerful search radars in the world. 


  1. And it was a Democratic administration that ordered the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, also that had Japanese Americans interned in concentration camps.

  2. In 1953 or so (don't remember exactly) a friend of mine told me that his dad was one of the radar operators on duty that day and saw the planes coming in. He called his LT or the CQ or whoever was in charge and reported it to them. He was told don't worry about that and it's Sunday you aren't supposed to be operating the radar so shut it down and ignore what you saw.
    Now I don't absolutely know if he told me the 100% truth or more accurately that his dad told him the 100% truth. People like to elaborate on what happened in the war and he might be reporting a 2nd or 3rd hand story in the first person to kind of make himself more important.

    Years later on a documentary I heard this same story repeated essentially verbatim without of course the name of my friends father being used. They explained that there was a squadron of American bombers (I think) flying in from the mainland to Hawaii expected about the same time and the officer in charge knew this and assumed that is what his men saw on the radar and told them to ignore the radar returns. And they also pointed out that radar was fairly new and no one really knew enough to say that the returns they saw were real or static or clouds...

    On a different subject my cousins husband was a radio repairman who in August of 1945 was stationed on Tinian Island. I asked him if he had any idea, any scuttlebutt or rumor about the A-bomb. Nope! Nothing. Everyone on the island did know they dug a big hole in the runway and put something in it that was top secret and then they moved a B-29 over it and loaded it into the plane. They were told it was a experimental and secret new camera to be used to overfly Japan and spot targets. That was probably one of the worlds best kept secrets.

    1. Radar was a pretty new thing at that time. Not just that radar, but radar in general, and it wouldn't be surprising if they saw something that didn't make sense. Plus, the radar was low frequency by today's standards, which would give poor discrimination of targets; it wouldn't be possible to tell if it was a few big planes or a lot of smaller ones.

      Of course, ever since about 5 PM on Dec. 7, 1941 eastern time (slight exaggeration), there have been rumors that it was a false flag, or that American brass knew the attack was coming and chose to let everyone die. So that we could go to war for some reason or other. I don't think they used the term "blood for oil" back then, but something like it.

    2. That's a slightly different issue. I have long believed that FDR had some information about an attack and choose to allow the attack rather than repel the attack. The fairest spin I can give this is that indeed we needed to get into the war early and perhaps even earlier than Pearl Harbor. If we had waited the deaths and destruction would have even been worse. So maybe FDR did the right thing.
      One of the factors in my belief that FDR knew is that the two aircraft carriers were out of port. That was unusual in that usually the aircraft carriers are accompanied by a fleet of support ships and usually one is in port when the other is out to sea. But who really knows.

    3. For what it's worth, The Puzzle Palace goes into this. (The Puzzle Palace is a book about the NSA but goes back into the history to talk about why they were formed.)

      It has been some time since I read that, but I believe the conclusion is that the systems that were supposed to relay the information worked but the information sat in someone's mailbox (the physical, wooden kind) due to some mixup.

      Whether or not you trust Bamford and his sources is another question, of course. However, the government version of Occam's razor applies here. Instead of "given competing theories, the simplest is most likely correct", the government version is "never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity". Of course, it's entirely possible to be both malicious and stupid. I'll just say IRS and leave it at that.

  3. I'd be willing to go to jail for bitch-slapping Earnest for that comment, and then telling him to "get over it". Doesn't matter if he was ordered to say it, although I'd bet he enjoyed saying it, either way.

  4. Bitch slap him! I would pay to see that! And then tell him to stop whining because "at this point, what difference does it make!"