Dec 7, 2003


I had intended to post this at around 1pm EST today, but I’m now officially Blog*Spoted. Blogger has crapped out on me for the first time. So, this comes to you as of………… whenever.

Why 1pm? Because it’s 8am in Hawaii. On a Sunday just like this, 62 years ago, soldiers, Marines, and many sailors in the service of the United States were in a fight for their very lives. 2395 would lose that fight (54 of which were civilians), 1102 on the USS Arizona alone. That ship still bleeds for them – oil still rises from it’s battered hull to this day. They say that the oil will stop when the last man who fought at Pearl Harbor finally passes away. I believe them.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

It’s one of my favorite movies. But that one word – repeated three times over the Japanese radio frequency so as not to be confused over the airwaves with anything else – signaled the beginning of a different era. An era where an America, tested in fire, would be the leader of the world. An era where we would be loved for what we are and hated for even existing - but ALWAYS respected.

Some call it “fear.” It’s respect. Even the soon-to-be-ventilated thugs hiding in the hills of Tora Bora and the ready-to-meet-Allah remnants of Saddam’s Fedayeen respect us. They’ll call it “hate.” It’s respect. Love us if you want, fear us if you will, hate us if you must – but you WILL respect us.

62 years ago, America was not respected. We’d pulled Europe’s fat out of the fire in ’19 and were not respected afterwards. Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet was even farther removed, having been “on float” for the entirety of 1908. An impressive display, but ancient history by the time the Japanese Imperial Fleet set sail eastward. Some of those proud ships that TR had commissioned were still in service in 1941, but none of them were ready for a fight. The enemies of America saw weakness. They saw a pushover. They saw a pencil-neck geek whom they could beat up and take his lunch money. But some people knew enough to see that once America gets pushed it pushes back.

Contrary to popular belief, the Japanese commander, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, never said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” There is not one shred of proof that he ever uttered those words. In fact, the first person to maybe ever say them out loud was Soh Yamamura, playing Yamamoto, in Tora Tora Tora. But we can be reasonably sure that Yamamoto knew the score. He’d lived in America, he knew what we were about, and if there is such a thing as karma – well, then he wouldn’t have flinched in 1941 if you’d told him that he’d be dead less than two years later because a US P-38 shot him down over islands that he was still in control of.

And so we find ourselves here, two years after our second “day of infamy,” looking back at the first one, and making comparisons. Why did we get hit on September 11th, 2001? For the same reasons that we got hit on December 7th, 1941. We were not respected. Our enemies are long on anger and short on memory. And not a one of them is half as intelligent as Yamamoto or deserves the respect accorded Yamamoto. But their fates will be the same as Yamamoto. They still think they have a chance to win. They still are under the delusion that victory is attainable. They don’t know about karma.

We do not quit. We do not stop. We squabble amongst ourselves, and at times fight like brothers. But just let somebody outside the family try to hurt my brother…… then stand the hell back. Osama and Saddam are the present day Tojo and Hitler: long on rhetoric and cruelty, but short on brainpower. They don’t know about us. They didn’t get it. They didn’t crack open a history book and flip to the page that said “December 7, 1941: the day America became leader of the world.” And so, they are doomed to repeat the course of history, and to learn the same lesson.

The outcome of WWII was by no means certain, but America was resolved to either win or die trying. The only thing that has really changed between then and now, is that there is no way we are going to die trying this time. We ARE going to win. How long it takes, and how many lives it costs are the only unknowns, but we ARE going to win. You WILL respect us. And someday, when somebody else who doesn’t know their history throws a third “day of infamy” at us, they’ll end up respecting us too. Or they’ll get to die trying as well.

UPDATE: Misha knows the score, too

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