Roosevelt’s speech responding to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

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:


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  • Keith

    In between WW II and the 9/11 response, we had 2 major military actions in which the country – and our “leaders” – were never committed to full and complete victory : Vietnam and Korea. Even W’s dad, GHWB did not go for complete total victory in the first gulf war.

    The enemies of our country have learned that our leadership will not really pursue their destruction, no matter what they say in their speeches. The tyrants still exist in all of those places and the oppressed masses have no hope that the US will ever truly rescue them from the tyrannical regimes.

  • D.K. Williams

    I suppose Obama would blame the Japanese attack on climate change if he were president in 1941. And then lecture America on moral values.

  • pzatchok

    Two different cultures and two totally different tactics of war.

    You will never get rid of radical Islam unless your willing to go into a total all out genocide against all Muslims all over the earth. Every last man woman and child.

    If your not willing to go that route then you will have to be patient and rely on a very long war of occupation.
    During this occupation we will have to gently suppress Islam and institute other more peaceful religions into their everyday lives. Force them to live next to and work with Jews and Christians.
    Force all their children to go to western style schools with western teachings and philosophy.

    The whole time hunting down and jailing the radicals.

    This forced cultural change will take 50 or more years.

    Is the world willing to do that?
    Are you willing to encourage your children to move there and be the new occupiers, the new colonists? To commit your grand children to being the peace keepers in these dangerous lands?

    If not then welcome to the new normal.

    The only other way to stop them is one at a time like we are doing now.
    We are going to need many more spies to infiltrate all their groups worldwide. Anyone willing to volunteer?

  • Ed

    Different times. FDR had seen the Japanese expand since 1931. During tge day and night of 7 Dec 41, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army attacked throughout thexWestern Pacific. Fast forward to the 1990s. Taliban and Al Queda on the rise. Then 9/11 happens. Pres GW Bush had the opportunity to unite the nation. This lasts maybe a month. Our political leadership (Repub/Demorats) SQUANDER an entire decade of our most precious national treasure, it’s young men and women who serve. Had we gone into Afghanistan with the same fervor as we did in WWII, the outcome would have been much different.

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