Even though we had radar, the Pearl Harbor operators were so poorly trained that Battleship Row was easy prey for Japanese dive-bombers. It was sheer luck that our aircraft carriers were at sea on training maneuvers.
Hindsight shows December 7th could have been averted. The U.S. knew Japan was a member of the Axis and it had been warned this attack might happen. But, it did not have effective systems in place to react to the warning. Plus, the admirals in Hawaii were incompetent, but the leadership in Washington was equally incompetent. Ineffective leadership made this attack possible.
Did We Learn Our Lesson?
If the U.S. was better prepared the Japanese would not have entered the war on the side of the Germans. Even dictators don’t start wars they can’t win. They do not want to lose what they already control.
History shows the Japanese exploited our glaring weaknesses for short-term gains that almost destroyed their country. The war that started at Pearl Harbor ended with the advent of the Atomic Age.
Five years later the North Koreans attacked South Korea and thousands more Americans lost their lives unnecessarily. Once again we were caught flat-footed with insufficient men and materials to deter the Communist North. And, this was the first-time the U.S. fought a war it could not win. No American leader wanted to take-on hundreds of millions of Chinese in a distant war that could last for years.
A New Type of Conflict
Today, based on technology, we have the strongest military in the world. We have the ability to project unrivaled power with our navy, stealth aircraft, smart bombs, and drones. And, who wants to come face-to-face with an Abrams tank?
Consequently, our enemies use tactics that minimize our ability to project our power. It started in Vietnam and continues to this day in Afghanistan. Low-tech adversaries have killed thousands of American soldiers by hiding in civilian populations and striking without warning. And, their roadside bombs are just as lethal as our smart bombs.
The Day of the Tiger
No country is going to attack the U.S. the way the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. As the saying goes, “It you kick a tiger in the ass you better be ready to deal with its teeth”. The U.S. is a safe harbor for freedom loving people and our military keeps us safe. But, thousands of our men and women continue to fight in wars they cannot win.
There is only one solution. We become the true arsenal of Democracy. We supply local fighters, whose causes we support, with the training, technology, and weapons they need to fight the dictators, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda. We do not put our men and women in harm’s way when they have no chance of winning wars, police actions, or conflicts on other continents. No more PearlHarbors, Vietnams, or Iraqs. We support our friends and help them kill our enemies.