Absent from reflections on what happened at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago was any acknowledgment of culpability for those in Washington who dismissed Japanese communications intercepted and decrypted at Station HYPO that could have forewarned the defenders in Hawaii and the Philippines. Unmentioned in this week's commemoration were the shortages of weapons, personnel -- even searchlights -- that prompted commanders to park scores of U.S. aircraft on Oahu wingtip to wingtip so they could be protected from sabotage.
No one who spoke at the 70th anniversary ceremonies explained how a paucity of spare parts, fuel and navigation equipment -- the consequence of inadequate appropriations -- sorely limited how many long-range patrol aircraft could be dispatched simultaneously to provide early warning. Nor did anyone address how President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his closest advisers simply ignored warnings from Dutch and British military officers and his own Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, about Japanese threats to U.S. security.
Perhaps Panetta chose not to mention these matters contributing to the devastation at Pearl Harbor because they would cause Americans to reflect on what is transpiring today in Washington. The Obama administration refuses to identify the clear and present danger that radical Islam poses to the United States. The O-Team still refers to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on Manhattan and the Pentagon -- and those who seized United Flight 93 -- as "extremists." The administration describes the murder of 13 people at Fort Hood, of which Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused, as "workplace violence."
For three years, the Obama White House and State Department have virtually ignored Iranian progress in acquiring nuclear weapons. They filed a "protest" when Iranian agents were caught plotting the assassination of foreign diplomats in our nation's capital.
In a manner akin to FDR's dismissing Allied alarms about Japan prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Obama White House discounts warnings from Israel about existential threats from Iran. Having claimed credit for an "Arab Spring," the administration is now mute about the triumph of radical Islamists in last week's Egyptian elections and the brutal Iranian-guided suppression of civil protests in Syria.
This week, while the defense secretary was in Hawaii, we learned that the White House vetoed plans by military commanders to recover or destroy an errant remotely piloted aircraft before the Iranians could get their hands on the high-tech device. Meanwhile, the U.S. defense budget is being savaged in Congress. Clearly, Washington has forgotten to "Remember Pearl Harbor."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.