Thursday, December 7, 2017
How Quickly We Forget
Seventy-six years, an hour, and about forty minutes ago, the first of about 300 Japanese Zeroes, Vals, and Kates swooped in over Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Territory of Hawaii, and several other military installations and air bases on the island, and with the work of a few hours rendered over 2,000 sailors, soldiers, and Marines into compost for military cemeteries, while crippling the US Pacific Fleet.
I'm not diminishing what happened, nor getting all up about it, as it's all been done, in rich detail, about 70 times before now. And if you're inclined, or it's new to you, you should read up on it. If you ever get the chance, take the tour, and visit both Arizona and Missouri. If only because it's seldom that the place the war began and ended sit a hundred yards or so apart, let alone because of the company of the heroes in whose eternal presence you'll walk.
A shiny young 17-year-old Seaman Apprentice then is a ripe old 93-year-old now, and probably all but a handful, perhaps almost single digits, of any combatants present on any side are long dead and buried. Even kids living in Honolulu who witnessed the attack and can remember anything at all would be into their 80s today.
Sometime, visit the national military cemetery in the Punchbowl, the Arlington of the Pacific, to gain an appreciation of what price our people have paid to be a world power through three conflicts on that side of the world - so far.
Paradise always has a hidden price tag, and this one is far more than most people would ever imagine.
If you can't visit, ever, at least do the cinematic history: see a flick about that day.
Japan was soundly thrashed, and we're nominally friends now. The only Mitsubishis they send our way now get great gas mileage.
Nonetheless, the country remains wholly ignorant of not only the original sacrifices of the honored departed, but the lessons it should have taught us, a lesson which bears fruit unto this instant.
Once again, like it's 1940 all over again, we have the weakest, most inept, hollow, incapable, and underwhelmingly weak land, sea, and air forces of any time since that day.
Once again, we've let a pipsqueak nation from the region get to a position of being able to threaten our interests and our national safety, largely through disinterest and pure chicken-shitted short-sightedness in our nominal leadership.
And once again, we've forgotten the proper way to deal with intransigent militant religious fanatics, by explaining our side of the argument to them by the kiloton, using the White Ball Of Enlightenment.
As a result, the likelihood - not possibility, but overwhelmingly near-certainty - is that we'll be forced to re-learn every last one of those lessons again, in the near future, and experientially, not by a simple audit of the prior course materials.
Mark my words: because of our national policy of head-up-the-ass stupidity and a national memory shorter than the presidency of William Henry Harrison, we'll end up having to surge up a massive war machine, rebuild a massive naval fleet, re-learn large-scale amphibious assault and island-hopping tactics, get involved in another land war in Asia, and pop nukes on cities to get certain peoples' attention, and settle the argument. All over again.
Can there be anything so foolish as the nation that would get itself into the same predicaments over and over?