Day of Infamy

The U.S. flag flies from the severed mainmast of the U.S.S. Arizona:

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial can be seen from the U.S.S. Missouri:

A rainbow appears to the right of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in this photo from the U.S.S. Missouri:

The site of Japan’s surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri marks the final outcome of terrorist attacks against the United States of America:

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6 thoughts on “Day of Infamy

  1. Thanks, everyone, for such an interesting debate.

    I’m sorry to have to disagree with my ol’ friend Jim Young, but, in my opinion, an attack on a non-belligerent nation is an act not of just war but of craven terrorism.

    I’m glad you like the pictures. More to come.

  2. “gpc” accurately reflects the military targets in Hiroshima (also a local HQ) and Nagasaki. Moreover, Japan was fighting a total war, and it’s “civilian” populace was being prepared to repel the Allied — mainly American — invasion. Both cities were legitimate military targets, and use of the first atomic bombs was necessary to shock its leaders — not just bureaucrats — in recognizing the futility of further resistance. The question is not whether “terror” was a result, but whether the primary purpose was military in nature. That purpose was obtaining the Japanese surrender (thus saving hundreds of thousands of American lives, and probably millions of Japanese lives, as well, to end a war that we neither sought, and which was — in the Pacific — thrust upon us), and it succeeded. It is not “terrorism” for those reasons, among others. And “obliterat[ing] cities of women, children, elderly and other innocents” is certainly a nice line, but 62 years ago, neither we — nor anyone else, for that matter — had the luxury of precision-guided munitions.

    I don’t think he’s “defending” the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, “gpc,” but while civilians did die (just as at the Pentagon on 9/11; I knew one of them, the civilian wife of a classmate), at least it was a military target, legitimate under any definition of the rules of war. I think most people weren’t as morally offended by that attack (save for the use of a civilian jetliner to perpetrate it) as they were by the attacks on the WTC, and I think I agree with that assessment. The simple fact is that, if you put on the uniform, you assume the risk of getting shot at.

  3. Anonymous,

    Hiroshima was an army logistics base, and Nagasaki had a naval shipyard, i.e. both were military targets. Why are you ready to defend Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor (during which civilians were also killed) before any declaration of war was made, but unwilling to acknowledge legitimate Allied strategic targets in Hiroshima & Nagasaki during a time of war?

    What alternatives would you have proposed? And do you recognize that in decrying these bombings as attacks on “women, children, elderly and other innocents” you are justifying the use of human shields?

  4. James Young, I am happy to have your half agreement and civil response. Thank you. On Nagasaki/Hiroshima, I ask: why is it not terrorism to obliterate cities of women, children, elderly and other innocents in order to convince Japan’s government bureaucrats to surrender?

  5. I agree with half of what anonymous said; I don’t think it’s fair to call the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor a “terrorist attack.”

    However, it is much more inaccurate and revisionist history of the worst sort to describe the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “terrorist attacks.”

    Beautiful pictures, though. I managed to get to the Arizona on a brief trip to Oahu; didn’t make it to the Big Mo.

  6. This is not the outcome of a terrorist attack on the USA. Pearl Harbor was a military target. It was, however, the final outcome of terrorist attacks on the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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