Pearl Harbor vs. 9/11
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When asked the question, “What impresses you more about George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their absence of intelligence or their absence of integrity,” a ready answer comes to mind, and it is clearly not the same for each. But in the case of Bush’s first Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, I think you will have to agree that it’s a tough call.
That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw in the pages of The New York Times that Rumsfeld had essayed a comparison between the momentous events in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and in New York City, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA, on September 11, 2001. The one big similarity that he was able to note was that—as the official script reads—we were caught completely by surprise in each case.
In turn, that got me to thinking along the lines that I lay out in the opening paragraphs of my article, “America’s Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster.” Suppose you were a professor of United States history and had the opportunity to give the following assignment to your students in an exam: “Compare and contrast Pearl Harbor and 9/11.” What are the answers that you would be looking for from your best students?
Surely they would have to say that each of the events resulted in our going to war. That’s where the comparison almost has to begin. But no sooner have we written it than a contrast arises. When Japan attacked us, we were, by definition, already at war. Disregarding, for the moment, what might have led up to the attack, one could hardly say about our war with Japan, as with our subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, that it was a “war of choice.” One might argue, however, that the war with Germany was a war of choice, even though Hitler declared war on the United States four days later on December 11. His rationale was not, as is commonly believed, that they were obligated by treaty to do so, but that the United States had every intention of going to war with Germany after the attack and he might as well beat us to the punch. One can’t read FDR’s speech of December 9, 1941, and come to any other conclusion than that Hitler was correct in his assessment, whether or not the “beating to the punch” move was wise from a propaganda perspective. That FDR speech laid the blame for the Pearl Harbor attack as much on Germany as on Japan and was clearly intended to prepare the country for war with all three Axis powers, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
The next strong comparison that can be made is that the wars that resulted were wars that powerful people within the United States government wanted to happen. For months Roosevelt had been doing almost everything he could to provoke Hitler into attacking us, but Hitler would not go for the bait. Even Roosevelt’s greatest defenders will admit that this was true. They argue that it was simply the right thing to do to ally ourselves with Britain (and the Soviet Union) against “Nazi aggression.” The big problem, from that perspective, is that the mood of the country was still strongly against our involvement in “foreign wars,” based upon our bitter World War I experience. In a campaign speech on October 30, 1940, as the European war raged, Roosevelt had catered to the national mood with these words, “And while I am talking to you mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
Pearl Harbor got him off the hook that he had created for himself with that promise. It wasn’t a “foreign war” anymore because we had been attacked.
Similarly, the key people in the George W. Bush administration, including Rumsfeld, but also his top assistant Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, as members of The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 2000 had called for precisely the sort of aggressive military policy that followed 9/11, but acknowledged that it would not happen very quickly “absent a catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th. When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive policy. Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official for Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
-- “The Project for the New American Century,” by William Rivers Pitt
This “new Pearl Harbor” was something of a godsend to the men whose portraits we see in this video like the original one was to FDR and to the people behind him.
Maybe the most important contrast between the two events, again, using only the official narrative, is that the Japanese attack plan was, at least tactically, thoroughly rational and depended for its success upon predictable behavior by the U.S. adversary. By contrast, the 9/11 attacks were tactically irrational and, on paper, well nigh hopeless, depending as they did upon unprecedented incompetence on the part the North American Air Defense Command and amazing docility by airline passengers and crew and no less amazing competence by novice pilots of airliners. The Japanese, as we knew, were well served by their espionage agents in Hawaii and they knew that General Walter Short had not been supplied with an adequate number of patrol planes to provide sufficient warning by the air attack from carriers that they planned. * They also knew from observation that security tended to be somewhat more relaxed on a Sunday than on any other day. The Japanese attackers were professionals doing something very similar to what they must have done many times before in their training.
How could the supposed 9/11 hijackers have known that the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) would not follow its usual protocol and simply intercept the airplanes very shortly after they had departed from their normal flight paths? The question holds true in particular for the attack upon the Pentagon, which occurred a full 51 minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Through what extraordinary espionage could the attackers have known in advance that the U.S. Air Force would send up interceptor jets from Langley Air Force Base in distant Hampton, Virginia, that would arrive too late, instead of from nearby Andrews Air Force Base just a few miles away in Maryland or even Bolling Air Force Base across the river in Washington, DC? See my satire, “Bin Laden’s Home Video: The Missing Portion,” for more on this whole question.
The supposed Al Qaeda plan, as it has been told to us, violated radically the U. S. military’s KISS (keep it simple, stupid) doctrine and Sun Tzu’s dictum, “Never underestimate your opponent,” in The Art of War. The Japanese attack plan, by contrast, was simple and took due regard of our expected defense.
After Pearl Harbor, scapegoats were blamed and punished. No one has been punished for allowing 9/11 to happen. Admiral Husband Kimmel, in charge of the Pacific Fleet—based at Pearl Harbor instead of San Diego over the vigorous protests of his predecessor—who had been relieved of his duty over the issue—and General Short were promptly relieved of their commands and were later blamed by the Roberts Commission for “errors of judgment and dereliction of duty.”
The report of the Roberts Commission had its counterpart in the 9/11 Commission Report. There are no counterparts to Admiral Kimmel and General Short in that report, however. To this writer’s knowledge, no individual has ever been singled out for punishment for what happened. We have previously summed up the situation with the following poem:
The feds left us unprotected
On that fateful September day.
If we were a truly free
And democratic nation
Somebody up high would pay,
And, to be sure, there would be
A proper investigation,
But wouldn’t you know, it is we
Who get detained and inspected.
At Pearl Harbor, from the very first moment it was obvious that we were being attacked by the formidable military of a relatively large country population-wise in Japan. On 9/11, it was not at all obvious who was attacking us and it is still not to this day. The authorities and the news media were suspiciously quick to solve the crime and lay the blame on Osama Bin Laden when they had been suspiciously incompetent in preventing it. In this aspect of the case, 9/11 resembles the Oklahoma City bombing and the two Kennedy assassinations and the Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination more than it resembles the Pearl Harbor attack. Moreover, in terms of the real threat that it represents to the nation, there is a huge difference between being attacked by a heavily armed country and being attacked by a ragtag, stateless organization or group of individuals whose armaments amount to almost nothing.
The strategic objective of the Japanese was obvious, to gain a large advantage in the shooting-war phase of its war with the United States. The 9/11 attacks had no clear objective.
Having been given an ultimatum by the United States that no Japanese government could have accepted, the Japanese leaders initiated war in precisely the way in which they had been successful in the past. It was either that or be choked and starved by the U.S. embargo. They were fully aware that it would bring down the full might of the United States in retaliation, but they felt they had no choice in the matter. No such rationale existed for Osama Bin Laden to invite U.S. retaliation in a similar fashion.
In neither case did the attacks catch everyone on our side by surprise. Our military leaders in Washington, through the interception and decryption of a message from Tokyo to its negotiators in Washington, knew beyond a reasonable doubt that Pearl Harbor would be attacked four hours before the attack took place, but failed to convey a warning to General Short and Admiral Kimmel until it was too late. They knew by the night before that an attack would occur somewhere in the Pacific. By the next morning, when the last part of the cable had been decrypted and they saw that the negotiators were ordered to deliver their message ending peace talks at 1 pm Washington time, they could see that the most likely target for attack was Pearl Harbor. That was 7:30 am Honolulu time, which was approximately dawn, the most likely time for an attack. See “Six Myths of the Traditional Pearl Harbor Story” by Michael T. Griffith for a good short summary.
No more than the American public or the American Congress, Short and Kimmel had not been told about the November 26 ultimatum to Japan that made war virtually inevitable. The most obvious conclusion to be reached is that to do so, like alerting them the morning of December 7 or the evening of December 6, would have resulted in their preparation to defeat the sort of attack that occurred. Japan’s spies in Hawaii, it was known, would have detected these preparations, and the desired war-starting attack would have been called off.
A number of people seemed to have had advance notice of the 9/11 attacks. To the list of links provided in this article, one might also add the group of “celebrating Israelis” who got themselves into place to “document the event.” In the specific case of Building 7 of the World Trade Center, the BBC and CNN seem to have had prior warning of its collapse because they reported that it had fallen before it had done so.
As for the claims by various people in the Bush administration, detailed in this web site, that they could not possibly have imagined such a stunt as hijacking airliners and flying them into buildings, they are perhaps best belied by the fact that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) had planned a drill for precisely that on the day of the attacks.
From all indications, the ships at Pearl Harbor that were damaged by the attack either sank or they did not in accordance with the laws of physics. That seems not to have been the case with respect the buildings damaged in New York or Arlington, VA if the official narrative is to be believed. No one has ever been given any reason to suspect that Pearl Harbor was a false flag incident. Although General Short had been led to believe by his superiors in Washington that the greatest danger he faced was from sabotage, and prepared accordingly, no one has claimed that sabotage caused any of the damage that occurred on December 7, 1941. By contrast, virtually all of the damage that occurred on 9/11 bears a very close resemblance to sabotage.
The United States was able to portray itself purely as a victim in each case. Such “victimology” is completely consistent with the historical tactics of one particular interest group that wielded a great deal of power within both the Roosevelt and Bush administrations. Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war against that group’s greatest enemy, Nazi Germany, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, himself, said that the 9/11 attacks were “good for Israel.” It can also be safely said that Israel is the only country in the world where the majority of the population favored the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
* “Col. Melvin W. Maas, of the Marine Corps Reserve, former Minnesota Congressman, said that when two hundred fifty patrol bombers necessary to bring Hawaii up to required minimum strength of three hundred planes came off the production lines, Washington ordered them sent to Britain. When protests were made to Roosevelt, he referred the admirals to Harry Hopkins, in charge of allocating war materials.
“’Hopkins received them as he lay in bed, nonchalantly smoking a cigarette,’ said Maas. ‘He listened to them, then told them the interview was over and that he had already made the allocation. Adm. Kimmel told me if those two hundred fifty patrol planes had been sent to Hawaii, the December 7 attack could never have succeeded, and probably would never have been attempted.’” (George Morgenstern, Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War, Kindle location approx. 2300)
April 3, 2014