Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Lessons Infamously Ignored

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

With these words, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the predicate for his request that the Congress of the United States formally declare that a state of war existed between the United States and Japan.  

While Japan's attack on the U.S. military bases in the  Hawaiian Islands was the proximate casus belli, the seeds of the conflict were planted decades before, in much the same way as those of the coincident conflict in Europe.  Nationalism, like a phoenix risen from the bitter ashes of defeat and global disapproval (in the cases of Germany and Japan, respectively) had fostered an appetite for, and an acceptance of, militant dictatorships promising geo-political glory under the banner of imperialist expansionism and clad in garments of overt racism and brutish megalomania.

The British and the Russians had already been long at war with Nazi Germany by the time Japan awakened, in Admiral Yamamoto's words, "... a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."  It took the United States and Great Britain, in a mutual nose-holding alliance with the Soviet Union, nearly four more years to bring the Second World War to a conclusion satisfactory to the Allies.   

The end of that war brought about, for all practical purposes, the end of the British Empire and ushered in the Superpower Age of the competing American and Russian Empires.  Ironically, it was the British Empire's sacrifices and stalwart resistance early-on against Hitler at the Channel and against Tojo in South Asia that bought time for the Russians and Americans to get their logistical and operational acts together.  

And, contrary to much of the revisionist and shallow progressive pablum that passes for history in American schools at even the highest levels today, it was not so much the military build-up for WWII that pulled America out of the Great Depression, as it was the fact that at the war's conclusion only the United States, and to a  lesser degree the Soviet Union, survived without their industrial capacity in ruins.  That, and the fact that the United States' economy was not shackled by central planning like the Soviet's command economy are the primary reasons for America's global economic superiority for the predominance of the second half of the 20th Century.

The point of this missive, for which the thousands of you who regularly imbibe liberally of the literary libations ladled out in posts heron have no doubt reached the uppermost limits of your patience in anticipation of the Colonel's arrival thereto, is that there are several lessons to be drawn from the American experience following her rude awakening seventy years ago, today.  Unfortunately, many of those valuable lessons have already been ignored, to our Republic's loss and its leaders' discredit.  Two of the most important are provided below:

Lesson #1:  War is an ugly business, the wining of which requires great sacrifice at home and the visitation of great and widespread destruction on the strategic home of the enemy.  Example: There were NO civilian vehicles for private ownership built in the United States in 1943 and 1944.  See history of the strategic aerial bombardment of Japan for an example of great and widespread destruction visited on the strategic home of the enemy. 

Lesson #2:  The illusion of victory achieved by a long, protracted, limited war (see U.S. strategic objectives since September 2001) is just that -- an illusion.  A people, any people, grow weary of a war's sacrifice much more quickly than even the most dynamic and persuasive leaders can muster persuasive speeches to prevent; and an enemy, any enemy, can draw increasing strength in the face of  timid military strategy.

Combine the foregoing lessons ignored and the result is strategic failure at the cost of an egregious waste of blood and treasure.  Watch carefully the inevitable fall of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, et. al. into the hands of the very militant Islamists whose ideology drove 19 young men to use American airliners as guided weapons of mass destruction on 9/11.

And that's all the Colonel has to say about that.        
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