HISTORY SHOULD TEACH US…
by Dennis R. Roach
(Sept. 15, 2010) — After the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japanese aboard the fleet which carried it out were jubilant; that is, all but Admiral Yamamoto, the man who planned and executed it. He seemed to have serious reservations regarding the absolute success of the treacherous deed. In his quiet demeanor, he was heard to state a fact that eventually proved true. He said, “I fear we have only awakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve.”
The sleeping giant indeed did awake and was thoroughly filled with a terrible resolve. America did not awake with a resolve to “understand Japan’s point of view.” America did not rise up and seek to find the “moderate” Shintoists. America awoke with the resolve to not let December 7th’s attack go unanswered nor to resolve to establish a democratic government in Tokyo.
Later in the war, one general was said to have told his troops just before invading a Japanese-held enclave, “We will land on this island, we will invade it and take it and not stop while one Jap soldier remains alive on it.” America entered the war in the Pacific having the greater part of her Pacific Fleet in smoking ruins or lying on the sea bottom still filled with the near 4,000 stiffening corpses of her dead Sailors, Marines, and Soldiers who gave their all in her defense.
Even though seriously weakened by the December 7th attack, America, “The Giant,” fearlessly began her fight, having already decided that it would end ONLY with the complete destruction and unconditional surrender of the enemy, Japan. Year after year she prosecuted the war, at first suffering defeat after defeat without once debating “Peace” terms.
Following the Battle of the Coral Sea and the victory at Midway, when American Industry began to win the war of attrition, there was no change in the American attitude. There was no change because America, the giant, rose to the war already filled with a “terrible resolve.” The “terrible resolve” made such heroes of the common man that he was able to leap from the safety of the landing craft straight into a hail of lead and take seemingly unconquerable, entrenched hoards of elite Japanese Marines protected by trenches, caves, and concrete emplacements. They paid a horrendous price in comrades and in their own blood. That resolve, prophetically announced by Yamamoto, gave America the moral strength and courage to drop the first atomic bombs, sacrificing four hundred thousand Japanese lives in order to preserve the estimated seven million American, British, and Japanese lives an invasion of the Japanese Homeland would have cost.
The giant America was strong both morally and materially. She was justly proud of having fought and won two righteous wars. American men were MEN with a capital M. They fought a war like men. They came home to take up whatever job they could find and worked like men, never asking for government handouts not earned. They married women, not each other,and had never a doubt about what sex they were born with.
American Women were WOMEN. Strong, industrious, yet they lacked very few of the feminine graces. It was the American woman who built and maintained the homes the American War Veterans found waiting for them when they stepped off the ship’s bow in New York or San Francisco. They raised the children the fighting forces had to abandon for a time for duty’s sake. And while they built and maintained those homes and raised those children, many, if not most of them, also kept the factories producing at fever pitch, they kept the power plants running, they manufactured, assembled, and shipped the war material their men desperately needed in their country’s defense.
An American woman was independent and proud. She did not suffer from an imagined inferiority complex nor feel a desperate need to compete with the male’s role. She knew her own worth without forsaking her home and deserting her children to go and get a shingle and a scroll to tack up on the wall to tell her about it. Her maternal instincts for home and family were not marks of weakness; they were a goal as right and enviable as any dream a man might have, and she knew them to be honorable. Because she desired to be a woman, worked at being a woman, and reveled in having a woman’s successes, neither did she suffer delusions and doubts regarding her sex and condition at birth.
Where is the giant today? Is he sleeping again, or dead? Has he the same capacity for resolve that gave him the strength and courage needed to win a world conflict, that allowed him to conquer on two continents and on three seas? What sickness was it that made him settle for less in Korea than he demanded in Japan? Why, oh, why did America elect a spineless excuse for a president who dared demote our fighting general, Douglas MacArthur, from his command because Gen. MacArthur was set upon doing whatever it took, fighting whoever necessary, and paying whatever the price to win in Korea as he had won in Japan?
America had always been persuaded that wars needed to be won, not settled, and because she won righteously, she grew to be great. But the giant began to lose his resolve when a president we elected allowed a criminal nation styling itself “North Korea” to succeed in instilling fear where resolve ought to have been. The giant lost respect when he let the China threat cow him when he should have fought him and defeated him while it was still possible, before he had nuclear weapons, and before he had stolen the technology from us he will one day yet use against us. He should have defeated China when China was the beggar nation, a beggar nation such as we are fast becoming, to China. Step by step, this once-fearful giant has become nearly mythical. He again lost his resolve in Viet Nam and surrendered to political but empty arguments.
America still had her glory days such as when she stood up and told the Soviet Union, “NO, you will NOT put your nuclear weapons less than a hundred miles from our southern beaches.” Almost our giant achieved greatness again when he retook Kuwait from Iraq. Almost, but not quite, because fear is a hard habit to break. When he should have finished the job in Iraq, which would have saved himself a war he eventually had to come back to and fight anyway, the fear that a handful of gossipy, third-world, shufflebutt countries might call him an invader and say all kinds of nasty things about him dissolved his resolve and he stopped at the border.
So where is that once great and fearsome giant? Is there any hope that he may be again awakened and stand proud and strong with that vital resolve again fixed on justice and a righteous cause? I seem to see him sitting in the dust, blinking his eyes sleepily. There is a look of shock, self-loathing, and determination beginning to cross his face. Whether that dawning determination will harden into resolve, only time will tell. And time is fleeting. November 2010 will reveal his quality, and whether he will again reach for greatness or just sneeze, lie back down in the dirt, and go back to sleep.