Friday, December 09, 2005

Where's the Outrage?

This post may be a few days late- I have beeen traveling and have not been able to keep up with my blogging as well as I had hoped. However, as I was traveling a few thoughts occcurred to me regarding both our current conflict and one in particular that we participated in approximately fifty years previously.

The previous conflict was of course, the Second World War, and the day before yesterday was the 64th anniversary off the December 7, 1941 attack on the United States Pacific Fleet moored in Pearl Harbor. Although the US no longer adequately remembers this event, there are some interesting parallels with the current conflict that erupted into the national conscience following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

In both attacks, the perpetrators struck an America that was at peace- and America that had not engaged the oppressors in military action and in fact had worked to assist them in various endeavors, though less so in 1941 than in 2001. In both cases, political disagreements had preceded the attacks, though the United States had not engaged in military actions against the attackers.

However, there are also some important differences. In 1941, Japan had planned to declare war precisely one hour before the attacks, thus satisfying the laws of war. They were unable to deliver ttheir declaration on time but it was the idea that the Japanese were attempting to break the spirit of law as opposed to the letter that outraged the American people of that time. The Japanese also confined their attacks to military targets using a conventional military force operating according to the established laws of war. The US Pacific Fleet was a legitimate target. And finally, the American people reacted with outrage to the attacks.

In September 2001, the Islamists had actually declared war against the United States previously, and had spent the previous decade attacking Americans, both military and civivlian targets. However, the Administration of the time- Bill Clinton's- ignored the declaration and took no action against the perpetrators. The attack on the World Trade Center, unlike the Pearl Harbor attack, was inflicted entirely on civilians, although the attackers attempted to hit the Pentagon as well, which is a military target.

However, the largest difference was the response by both the media and the politicians in the opposition. In 1941, the media deplored the attack and had no problem depicting the attackers as dangerous enemies of the United States. Likewise, the Republican Party, which had just lost the White House to FDR's Democratic Party once again, had no problem putting politics aside to stand with the Democrats against the nation's enemies. However the media in 2001 was more interested in blaming their own country for being attacked and showed no sign of patriotism whatsoever, as was evidenced by the entirely needless and selfish debate among the nation's anchors over whether they should even wear an American flag when on camera! Likewise, the vast majority of the Democratic party, instead of standing with the Republicans, chose to use the atttacks as an opportunity to attack their political opponents, even going so far as to characterize Republicans as more dangerous than the Islamist attackers.

Where's the outrage? The United States was attacked. Many of our citizens are dead. And yet the media and the Democrats still can't put their country ahead of their own narrow partisan interests. On this anniversary of the December 7 attack, a day that 'will live in infamy', can't we realize that we must stand together and defeat our enemies before we once again return to our partisan infighting. I think national survival is more important than which party occupies the White House. Do the Democrats and the media agree? That is the question.

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