Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pearl Harbor 1941 - Lessons Learned

There are lessons to be learned from Pearl Harbor, 69 years later.

The North County (San Diego) Times published the usual “Pearl Harbor Day” piece this year for the 69th Anniversary of the attack that began WW2 for most Americans.

There are only nine members of the Survivor’s Association in North County left, and most of them spoke to the reporter. Here is some of what they said:

Walsh said, he still considers it an important duty to speak to schoolchildren, telling them about that day, its consequences and what lessons it holds for current and future generations.
"Particularly the high school kids," he added. "Half of them don't even know where the hell Pearl Harbor is ---- that was really startling."
He was referring to a visit several years ago to an Escondido high school, where he was compelled to find a globe to point out the vast span of the war in the Pacific.

Another survivor:

Michelle Leslie's daughter, Lauren, wanted to know: "Is there anything our generation could learn from your generation?"
"Always be prepared, always be on the lookout," answered Greenhouse, who was stationed at nearby Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on Oahu at the time of the attack. "Get your training today, because it will sure help in the future. We were caught by surprise; the main thing is, be prepared for whatever happens."

Today, there are still lessons, great and important lessons, to be learned from Pearl Harbor. Let us ignore the events and the duplicity and conspiracies which preceded it, and which led to it. Let us ignore the propaganda that demonizes one or both sides, the arguments about legality and provocation, and all the rest. Let us even ignore the consequences of the nearly four years of the Great Pacific War which followed.

The lessons we need to learn, in the United States and elsewhere, from that Sunday attack on a huge and unprepared naval base in the center of the Pacific, are the same lessons that need to be learned from battles and events around the world, from the Rape of Nanking to the Soviet-Russian attack on Poland to the invasion of the Falklands to the invasion of Kuwait to bloody Troubles of Northern Ireland and the subways of Madrid.

First, we forget our history, or at least most of us do. Those who remember are both blessed and cursed: blessed because they can see that the same things can and will happen again, and perhaps they can take some action, however small, to reduce the possibility that when these things happen again, that the outcome will be different. But the failure of so many to take any action will haunt them all their lives. Those who forget (or never learned) the history of peoples and nations and wars and technology, are to be pitied indeed: they will suffer more when those events are repeated, and they will drag millions with them into suffering and cruelty and untimely death and all the rest of the evils that man can do to other men. Especially in 2010, there are billions of people – especially in the West and China – who believe that we are in some bizarre era of “post-history” – that the wars and attacks and invasions and diseases and atrocities of the past will never repeat themselves. They are doomed, for that has not been the case for six thousand years, and man has not changed in the last 60 or 50 or 40 years.

Second, Greenhouse’s words are not “trite” or “pro forma” or “hackneyed.” The lesson, for young and old, for today and tomorrow – the lesson that too many will not learn, and that those who learn seem to forget – is to “be prepared, be on the lookout, and get your training now.” Wise words from a very old man: words that 99% of humanity ignore time and again, and ignore to their peril.

Be prepared: enemies change, but the dangers of tyranny, of the power mongers, the sociopaths and psychopaths, the liars and perveyors of evil. Slightly changed perhaps, but still present. The enemies are both internal and external to a nation: as they were in 1941, so they will be in 2011. The tactics and strategies will given new names or scents or colors, but still will be used: lies and promises, appeals to fear and patriotism and always, ALWAYS, twisting of good into evil. And people will still bleed, still scream, and still die. Prepare for the worst, and enjoy anything better. As part of being prepared, set your goals and your objectives. Is it security or liberty, long life or health or family? Events should not set aside your goals as a free man or woman, IF you are prepared.

Be on the lookout: eternal vigilance is necessary, whomever the enemy, whatever the cause, whatever the methods of attack and defense. Do not take first appearances, or “common knowledge” for the truth. Do not listen to any one side of anything. Question everything – especially authority. Understand that what appears to be a solution to one problem will cause other problems, and that opportunity exists for both the good and the evil. Above all, do not allow yourself to be blinded by wishes or ‘normalcy.’

Get your training now. Being prepared and being alert is nothing that you simply happen to do. Americans in the 1910s did not train for the manmade catastrophe of the Great War; Americans of the 1920s did not train for the Great Depression, and those of the 1930s did not train for the Second World War. Americans of the 1990s did not train for the events of the 2000s. Most did not, at least. The list of training to get is endless, but the objectives and the plan must be clear and set forth. Train to survive, with and without technology. Train to raise a family (which includes educating them and helping them survive). Train to create a community, and to identify the threats and dangers faced by a community and OF a community. Train to defend yourselves, your family, and your community against those threats and dangers. And above all, train yourself to do what is necessary so that you are prepared to reach your goals and accomplish your objectives. Such training is physical, economic, academic, political, and spiritual. Without it, no attempt to be prepared or be on the lookout will succeed.

And you will join the 99% of humanity who cannot and will not learn from history, including Pearl Harbor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pearl Harbor was one more demonstration -writ large in the blood of combatants and innocents - that ANY "state" by definition cannot be trusted EXCEPT to do whatever they can to further their power as a state: both the United States of America (the Roosevelt Administration and Congress) AND the Empire of Japan, including both the Emperor and his government did that, knowing that their actions would result in years of bloody war. And men, supposedly honorable and of good will, in the United States Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the two nations' armies, despite their understanding of what would result, despite knowing better than Emperor or President what modern war would do, refused to take a stand and tell the truth and demand that the leaders of their nations tell the truth.