Dec. 7 and Sept. 11 are iconic American anniversaries. Both days represent our greatest failures to understand the true nature of evil. And while each day will be treated with a similar veneration reserved for national tragedies, there is one aspect that truly divides them: resolution.This is so entirely wrong that only one who has a complete lack of grounding in basic military history could possibly hold such an utterly wrong headed view of the two events.
The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Four years later, they surrendered unconditionally. If one posits that the war against radical Islam began in 2001 (at least for us), we are in the midst of a nine-year-old conflict that shows no signs of resolution.
How is this possible? In terms of manpower and machinery, Japan was a far more formidable foe than the various umbrella groups that make up Islamic jihadism. Why are we having more trouble defeating them?
Because we've "sanitized" warfare. The same nation that detonated two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki no longer believes in victory, if such victory requires too much "collateral damage," a k a civilian casualties.
The history of the events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack is so well known that it makes me weep to have to plod through it from the beginning. But I will, in a nutshell:
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, what passed for parliamentary democracy in the Empire of Japan collapsed. Militarist extremists assasinated or drove from power all those opposing the use of military force to achieve Japan's national ambitions; civic organizations built around militarization of the people took control of schools and universities.
Japan had, at the time, a quickly growing population thanks to advances in medicine and agriculture. Japan's leaders also knew that she was a purely maritime power that depended on sea power to feed her growing millions; they also knew, by watching what happened to Britain in WWI, how close to starvation a submarine campaign can bring an island state.
And Japan, even in the 1930s was not capable of feeding her own population through domestically grown agriculture alone; her population outstripped her food production by about 40%.
Japanese militarists saw themselves surrounded by enemies: by Western imperial powers France and England, by the United States which held the Philippines and certain islands in the Pacific, by Stalinist Russia and by a weak and vulnerable China which was had collapsed into warlordism. Furthermore, the Japanese militarists saw a world that was 90% owned and controlled by Western colonial powers, and perceived (as many thoughtful Westerners did) that the hold of the West on those colonies were weakening.
This led Japan on a campaign of naked conquest of her neighbors. First came the fall of Manchuria in 1931, followed in 1937 by an invasion of China proper. The Japanese Army in these two campaigns acted in a manner so barbarous that even the Germans and Italians of the time were appalled. Wiki the Rape of Nanking for just a tiny hint of how the Japanese behaved even before war started with the United States.
Between 1939 and 1941 the United States and Japan were on a head on, collision course toward war. We demanded that Japan withdraw from China and cease her aggression there. When the Japanese refused, we cut off all oil to Japan from American, British and Dutch sources in Indonesia. This put Japan in a position of either (A) humiliating themselves by withdrawing, (B) starving to death from lack of petroleum for their industry, or (C) starting a major war.
They of course chose Option C, and, climbed Mount Niitaka.
It should also be noted (since our author seems to have entirely missed this minor point) that by the time Pearl Harbor was struck, the Japanese Empire was in bed with Nazi Germany, which was carrying out in Europe the same program of military conquest, mass murder, genocide, exploitation, and racist evil.
Pearl Harbor was the end result of a decade of preparation and billions of dollars' in military expenditure. The task force with struck Pearl Harbor was made up of 400 aircraft on six aircraft carriers and 41 other ships, representing billions of dollars of expenditure and tens of thousands of sailors.
In short, the amount of effort represented in the attack could only have been presented by an entire nation of millions of people working in concert in preparation for the attack: as such the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan represented an attack of the 88 million people of Japan on the 150 million people of the United States.
Furthermore, the 88 million of Japan were shortly joined by the 100 million of the Nazi coalition in Europe. The two forces together presented an existential threat to the United States and the Western World. Thus, the United States was forced to, and did, offer up 100% of her then-latent but eventually massive military strength, leading to the firebombing of Tokyo, the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the utter destruction of Japan's military power.
What of 9/11? In terms of military force, what did the attackers represent?
A strike team of 20, minus 1 already arrested, so 19 terrorists in four aircraft.
The four aircraft were built, owned and operated by the United States. They were not specially built aircraft of war, but they were, rather, our own passenger craft, specially selected by the enemy strike teams as being freshly filled with fuel for trans-continental flight.
The four strike teams were armed with only box cutters, lies, and absolute confidence in their own cause.
Oh, the devastation that they caused is undeniably horrific. The 9/11 attacks – with the exception of the fall of Flight 93, an American counter-triumph – were the end result of utter surprise, utter ruthlessness, and utter evil.
But the effort required does not and never did represent the will of the entire Islamic people around the world. It represented no more than ten or twenty thousand dollars, carefully kept secrecy, and the direct and indirect efforts of perhaps one or two hundred people. No more.
Al Qaida had one 'good' day in its history on 9/11. After that, they were essentially finished.
Oh, sure, they're still in business. They had terrorists blowing up school buses and churches in Iraq, and preachers yammering in Yemen. But rather than holding half of China and the Pacific, they're now reduced to convincing morons from west Africa to stuff their codpieces with plastique or convincing psychotic psychiatrists to shoot a few fellow soldiers.
But are they an existential threat to the Western World and to civilization as we know it? Is Al Qaida about to take over Rome, Paris, Berlin, London? Do they occupy even one nation?
They ARE a threat–but ONE threat of many. There are other threats to this nation to which we must remain on guard.
There is the threat presented by a resurgent China driven by nationalist socialism and a one-child policy that, in making a sexually unbalanced populace, screams that it is a danger for war. There is a danger of a collapsing Mexican state and the possibility of huge numbers of refugees rushing the Rio Grande. There is the threat presented by a less-than-organized Russia, whose nuclear arsenal remains insecure to this day. There is the quieter danger presented by our own, Japan's, and Europe's silent war on the unborn which is rotting out our cultures and peoples from within.
But do we need to go to war with all of Islam because of the acts of a few score thugs, criminals and goons?
No, no, and again no.
Finally, I note that there are a large number of Muslims who are in full sympathy with the terrorists and who cheerlead the massacres that they cause, like the Palestinians who whooped like orcs on the day of the attacks.
These individuals are stupid and malign. But there is no more need to wipe these people out than there is to wipe out the significant numbers of silent leftists who cheered when the Weathermen blew up the (selfsame) Pentagon in the 1960s. They simply need to be discredited by defeat of the force they're cheerleading.
What we need to do is beat Qaida (and its successors) on the ground where we can reach them and remain forever vigilant against another attack. And we need to do it in such a way as to inconvenience as few of the other Muslims as possible for the simple reason that they (unlike the people of Japan) didn't have a damn thing to do with the attacks of September 11.
What we do NOT need to do is start a mindless genocidal war against a billion people most of whom have done nothing to us.
Those who advocate the same, as here, are either ignorant or evil. In the case of Mr. Ahlert, I will be a gentleman and assume that it is ignorance.
The kind of war being called for by Mr. Ahlert is the equivalent of burning down the house to kill a few fleas.
I'm all for killing the fleas. I will forever oppose (as any righteous Christian should) setting fire to the house–because we all live in that same house.