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An evening pause: On this anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we should listen to President Franklin Roosevelt’s entire speech to Congress on December 8, 1941. He came before Congress to ask them to declare war on Japan.
For those of us who remember President George Bush’s speech after 9/11, the differences are striking. Bush aimed his ire at one element in the Islamic world, al-Qaeda, while ignoring their numerous allies in Iran, Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere. He also made it clear that the military would be asked to do the work, not the entire nation. “Be ready,” he told them, while suggesting to everyone else that they need do nothing themselves to join in the battle. Bush did not demand a nationwide commitment. In essence, he asked Americans to just continue shopping.
Roosevelt instead said this: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”
The entire nation was now at war, and the goal was total victory so that Japan would never be able to do it again. For the next three and a half years that was the goal. And not just against Japan. The goal was to destroy Japan as well as all of its fascists allies. And to do it as fast as possible.
Had Bush responded to 9/11 as Roosevelt had to Pearl Harbor, the nation would have not just invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, it would have continued into Syria, Pakistan, and then Iran. In addition, there would have been no gentle treatment of Saudi Arabia. They are as complacent in the Islamic War against the west as is Iran, and must either change, or be changed wholly.
Instead, Bush gave us a weak and partial victory that accomplished nothing, and allowed more violence and terrorism to raise its ugly head again, aided and encouraged by the even weaker and wimpier leadership of Barack Obama (illustrated by his own absurdly weak speech just yesterday). The result has been the attacks in France, Benghazi, and California, and increased violence in Israel, Iraq, and Syria. And the rise of a terrorist nation called the Islamic State.
Anyway, watch and see how a real leader responds to evil: