Posts tagged ‘japan’

I feel like a conspiracy nut…

…but this documentary is from the BBC, and seems to be backed up pretty well. The short version: the attack on Pearl Harbor was not a surprise at all, and FDR willingly let thousands of Americans die as an excuse to enter World War Two. Congress wouldn’t allow the US to go to war unless the country was attacked. Instead, they created an oil embargo against Japan. The Japanese needed to get oil from elsewhere, so they started to look at Indonesia and other islands in the pacific. They could easily have been defeated by the US fleet in Hawaii while doing this (I’m still a little hazy on this bit), so they first needed to get rid of the US forces there. The Japanese tried to go the diplomacy route to end the embargo, but when that failed, they sent their fleet to attack. Radio operators all over the Pacific (from California to New Zealand) all intercepted these signals, they all could decipher the code used, and they all knew about the attack several days before it was going to happen. This information was relayed to Washington, but people deliberately prevented it from getting to the commanders at Pearl Harbor itself. The attack happened, thousands of Americans died, but Roosevelt had his excuse to declare war on Japan, and the rest is history.

I found this fascinating, if a little unbelievable at first. In school, I had always been taught that the attack was an unprovoked surprise, but that never jived for me. If the Japanese hadn’t attacked, the Axis would probably have won WWII, and it seemed stupid of them to create more enemies in the war. This documentary at least partly explains things: the Japanese actually had a good reason to attack (they needed the ships out of the way before they could get resources from Indonesia), and the Allies had enough of a spy network that they could actually find out about obvious things like large fleets sailing across the Pacific. I still don’t fully understand why the Japanese couldn’t just get their oil from Indonesia and leave the Americans alone, but at least I have part of the picture now. This brings new meaning to the phrase “December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy.”

More news

First off, you may recall that last week the Supreme Court ruled the Guantanamo tribunals unconstitutional. Urged on by this, Congress is gearing up to tackle the issue. It sounds like it’s possible Congress will just give the Bush Administration the blank check he needs to continue the same trials, but a more likely scenario is that legislation will be enacted that reaffirms the Geneva convention and gives prisoners a fair trial. Here’s hoping!

Japan is still pushing for a UN resolution enacting sanctions against North Korea. China will certainly not support the harsh language proposed, but if Russia abstains from the vote, China will be the only country with veto power to go against the measure, which puts them in an awkward spot. We shall see what happens.

The Pope made a visit to Spain to try to rally the people against gay marriage. Last year, Spain legalized it (as well as adoptions by gay couples), but the Pope seems to be mobilizing a lot of people against these laws. He apparently said that “acting as if (God) did not exist or relegating faith to the purely private sphere, undermines the truth” about the world. Whoa! I can understand if you want to believe in whatever deity you do (and if you want to believe that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong), but I have major issues with anyone trying to force their religion of choice onto others. and this guy is explicitly stating that making your religion a private choice is bad!? The Pope went on to yearn for the good old days when Spain was under Catholic rule (presumably this includes things like the Spanish Inquisition). The odd thing is that lots of Spaniards seem to agree with the Pope’s statements. Having never been to Spain, this all strikes me as kinda scary, but I could be getting a skewed viewpoint. Is this actually typical of the Spanish populace?