In his book, "Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor," Robert Stinnett, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, writes that on Nov. 25, 1941 Japan's Admiral Yamamoto sent a radio message to the group of Japanese warships that would attack Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. Naval records, released a few years ago, prove (says Stinnett) that from Nov. 17 to 25 the United States Navy intercepted 83 messages that Yamamoto sent to his carriers. Part of the Nov. 25 message read: "Šthe task force, keeping its movements strictly secret and maintaining close guard against submarines and aircraft, shall advance into Hawaiian waters, and upon the very opening of hostilities shall attack the main force of the United States fleet in Hawaii and deal it a mortal blowŠ"
Since World War II, there have been suspicions whether the Roosevelt administration knew the attack was coming. But here's the interesting part in light of the carpet bomb politics of today. Stinnett writes, "When Thomas Dewey was running for president against Roosevelt in 1944 he found out about America's ability to intercept Japan's radio messages, and thought this knowledge would enable him to defeat the popular FDR. In the fall of that year, Dewey planned a series of speeches charging FDR with foreknowledge of the attack. Ultimately, Gen. George Marshall, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, persuaded Dewey not to make the speeches. Japan's naval leaders did not realize America had cracked their codes, and Dewey's speeches could have sacrificed America's code-breaking advantage. So, Dewey said nothing, and in November FDR was elected president for the fourth time."
When one considers contemporary politics, how many politicians come to mind that would place the welfare of their country ahead of themselves? It matters less which "side" is right in this Clinton vs. Bush debate than it does whether Iraq can become a fully stabilized beachhead for democracy in the region and terrorism can be dealt a mortal blow.
We can't afford to play the blame game now that we are in these wars. There is no alternative to winning them.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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