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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Seventy years ago today

There are a lot of myths about the Pearl Harbor attack -- chief among them being the pernicious idea that FDR allowed it happen. That lie, which originated with post-war American fascists, has gained a lot of traction through sheer repetition. Rather than engage in a point-by-point refutation of that myth and other fables, I'd like to provide a few links.

This page from 1996 -- a vestige of the "old" internet -- offers a lot of useful, detailed information.

Slate's piece "Who Lost Pearl Harbor?" from 2000 is excellent (if you can ignore the last line). It must never be forgotten that the people who originated this conspiracy theory were enemies of the New Deal -- and, too often, apologists for Hitler.
The motivations were at least threefold. First, the GOP, then as now, disliked the principle of civilian control of the military, and many were convinced that higher-ups in Washington were scapegoating honorable fighting men. Second, the right's ideological hatred of Roosevelt ran deep—conservatives, refusing to use FDR's name, called him "That Man in the White House"—and Pearl Harbor presented another emotion-filled occasion for partisan attack. Third, many on the right remained defiantly isolationist even after the war began, and they believed that the American people would never have licensed entry into the battle had Roosevelt not hoodwinked them.
From 2008: "Pear Harbor warning tale debunked."
...historians for the National Security Agency concluded in a history released last week that decoded messages buried in Japanese-language weather reports, meant to alert Japanese diplomats to destroy codes, did not reach U.S. officials prior to the attack.
Here's more.

Peal Harbor and 9/11. A good piece by a self-proclaimed "independent historian." One comment is worth quoting:
The conspiracy theory about FDR and Pearl Harbor doesn't even make sense on the face of it.

Even if he had known about the attack and known exactly when it would occur, Roosevelt would have scrambled the American military and fended it off. The U.S. ould thenceforth be at war with Japan--and FDR would look like a hero.

So, even if FDR knew, there would be no need to let us get clobbered.
Revisionists and wacko conspiracists will nevertheless continue to push their lies. They know that they can win minds by never standing down, never rethinking, never conceding territory, never admitting the possibility of error. That's how Reagan created the "welfare queen" myth; that's how the fundamentalists have convinced half the nation that Creationism is science; that's how so many young idiots were duped into the belief that the mythical "Illuminati" controls rock music. The people who spread these myths don't have facts on their side, but they do have inexhaustible energy.

Added note. Here's a little-known fact about Pearl Harbor that the right-wingers prefer not to discuss: Japan was controlled by the zaibatsu, monopolistic financial cliques which were usually family-owned. We were, in short, attacked by corporatism.
The quote about the craziness of FDR letting himself get clobbered was one of mine, and it still seems sensible to me.

I'm amazed at how often conspiracy theories don't even make sense as scenarios--i.e., if you saw it in a movie, you'd ask for your money back. Example: the 9/11 Truthers, whose theory maintains that international bankers funded a plan to shut down Wall Street. I want my refund!

The weakness of so many conspiracy theories as stories shows you how strong the desire to hold on to a conspiracy theory is.
And the zaibatsu took back over during the US occupation. Nowadays I don't think they are all as family-controlled as before.

Out of interest, if the US right don't mention the zaibatsu, who do they say did own Japan before WW2? Don't tell me...they say it was "socialist"?!?
b, I don't think that the residents of Glenn Beckistan have ever been forced to address that question. But if you were to put it to them -- yes, that would be their answer.
There were multiple investigations during the war - all of which concluded FDR did not know in advance.
Ever notice how the print and broadcast media is silent in the face of this lunacy from the republicans?

Ask yourself, is it because they don't want to dignify this conspiracy crap with a rebuttal, or is it because its spread some how benefits their corporate masters.

There is a conspiracy, it's the media working in concert with Wall Street/Corporate America to get Joe and Jane Sixpack to vote against their self-interest. They have been trying since Reagan and hit their stride in 2000.
You're sounding more like Webster Tarpley every day, Joe.

(Not that that's such a bad thing, IMHO.)

He's been trying for many years to get the FDR crew off the "Pearl hook" for goading (via their act-of-war oil blockade) the imperialism-besotted Nipponese into a first strike.

Now Dr. Tarpley's got a full-length book in the offing with just that purpose.

Have you read any of his previous books? He nailed the mendacious and Wall Street-controlled Obama, very early on, in not one but TWO, thoroughly documented "hit" volumes (which of course, the chain bookstores wouldn't carry and the prestigious reviewers wouldn't touch).

Now he's writing an exculpation book on FDR and Pearl Harbor.

Andy Tyme
I wouldn't piss on Tarpley if he were on fire.
But perhaps if he were not on fire?

I'll let Tarpley's buddy Lyndon LaRouche do the urination duties. Spraying piss is what Lyndon is good at.
Is it exculpatory to deny he 'let it happen' when he actually CAUSED it to happen?

One or another of the CFR study groups that recommended all pre- and post-WWII US foreign policy* recommended our pre-war policies with regard to Japan, stated that these policies would probably lead Japan to go to war against us, once the penultimate step of boycotting oil was performed.

We wanted their economic dominance which they called their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere rolled back so that we could enjoy those markets for ourselves, and keep profit margins high.


Some of the sanctions imposed included the following actions:

[...] [T]he Roosevelt administration, while curtly dismissing Japanese diplomatic overtures to harmonize relations, imposed a series of increasingly stringent economic sanctions on Japan. In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. “On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials.” Under this authority, “[o]n July 31, exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants and No. 1 heavy melting iron and steel scrap were restricted.” Next, in a move aimed at Japan, Roosevelt slapped an embargo, effective October 16, “on all exports of scrap iron and steel to destinations other than Britain and the nations of the Western Hemisphere.” Finally, on July 26, 1941, Roosevelt “froze Japanese assets in the United States, thus bringing commercial relations between the nations to an effective end. One week later Roosevelt embargoed the export of such grades of oil as still were in commercial flow to Japan.”[2] The British and the Dutch followed suit, embargoing exports to Japan from their colonies in southeast Asia.

An Untenable Position
Roosevelt and his subordinates knew they were putting Japan in an untenable position and that the Japanese government might well try to escape the stranglehold by going to war. Having broken the Japanese diplomatic code, the Americans knew, among many other things, what Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda had communicated to Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura on July 31: “Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas.”[3]


As Stimson confided to his diary after a meeting of the war cabinet on November 25, “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”[5] After the attack, Stimson confessed that “my first feeling was of relief ... that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.[6]

Citations from George Morgenstern, “The Actual Road to Pearl Harbor,” in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, pp. 322–23, 327–28.

*Shoup and Mintner, published in .Trilateralism, ed. Holly Sklar. CFR policy study group recommended and adopted policies included Destroyers for Bases, Lend-Lease, and the creation of the entire post-WWII international edifices of the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

The conspiracy theory links the Fed's involvement as well. If battle ships are sunk, new ones have to be built, this puts people to work and lets the Fed loan out a ton of money as well.

Now, why is that so far fetched?
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