Monday, December 7, 2015


Compiled by Dick Bennett.

Another in OMNI’s US NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL DAYS series for a Culture of Nonviolent, Positive Peace (for more information see below).  The year 2015 will see the end of new newsletters, but the seven years of their compiling has provided a large archive of materials.

What’s at stake:  On this December 7, 2010, let us grieve over yet another war of horrific slaughter and mass murder. Let us not celebrate the so-called “victory” of WWII in the Pacific, mutually a War Without Mercy, as John Dower entitles his book. Rather, let us celebrate with a loud and concerted voice the banning of war in the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, the United Nations Charter of 1945, and the International Criminal Court’s decision to prosecute crimes of aggression in 2010.

Pearl Harbor Newsletters Nos. 1-6 at end
OMNI’s Newsletters, Index, Blog at end

Pearl Harbor Day, Colonial Pacific WWII Newsletter #7, December 7, 2014
Dick, Pearl Harbor No Unprovoked Stab in the Back
Robert Higgs, Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor 
Dick, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Remembers Pearl Harbor
Books Reviewed in Colonial Pacific WWII Newsletters

Dick: Pearl Harbor No Unprovoked Stab in the Back Treachery, But Part of US Colonial Conflict with Japan 
OMNI is part of the international peace, justice, and ecology movement.  These newsletters contribute to the movement’s efforts to understand the causes of wars in order to prevent them.  A close study of the origins of WWII in the Pacific, uncontaminated by the myths and propaganda generated by jingoism, ignorance, racism, and fear, strengthens enormously our critical thinking and skepticism toward all US leaders’ calls to war.  See the Newsletters “US Imperialism, Continental Westward Expansion” and “US Westward Imperialism, Pacific/E. Asia” and a dozen related newsletters.


Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance, AUGUST 9, 2015

Roland Worth, Jr. in No Choice But War: The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific (McFarland, 1995) finds much to blame in both countries for causing World War II in the Pacific.  He expresses no sympathy for Japanese militarism, ruthless aggression, and mass killing.  But he also shows “the pivotal role of the U.S.-led economic embargo in pushing Japan over the edge into overt hostilities against the West.  In other words the U.S. decision to embargo 90 percent of Japan’s petroleum and two-thirds or more of its trade led directly to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.”  “It was not just a matter of Japanese imperialism; the misjudged American response [of total embargo] sealed off the possibility of a peaceful solution or even of ‘hot cold war’” and pushed the Japanese “beyond the point of no return” (ix-x).

During the past two decades, the official, patriotic, illusory enthusiasm for US wars that led to more wars—virtually permanent war-has received significant deflation. The US wars were not inevitable and as we have seen have been disastrous. You and I now have a well-substantiated history that can lead to peace.  Our task on Pearl Harbor Day and on all war-making National DAYS is to make that history known to the next generations of young people.

How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor
By Robert Higgs  |  Posted: Mon. May 1, 2006.  Also published in The Freeman.
An excerpt follows; for the full article see Newsletter #6
Accordingly, the Roosevelt administration, while curtly dismissing Japanese diplomatic overtures to harmonize relations, imposed a series of increasingly stringent economic sanctions on Japan. In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. “On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials.” Under this authority, “[o]n July 31, exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants and No. 1 heavy melting iron and steel scrap were restricted.” Next, in a move aimed at Japan, Roosevelt slapped an embargo, effective October 16, “on all exports of scrap iron and steel to destinations other than Britain and the nations of the Western Hemisphere.” Finally, on July 26, 1941, Roosevelt “froze Japanese assets in the United States, thus bringing commercial relations between the nations to an effective end. One week later Roosevelt embargoed the export of such grades of oil as still were in commercial flow to Japan.”[2] The British and the Dutch followed suit, embargoing exports to Japan from their colonies in southeast Asia.

An Untenable Position
Roosevelt and his subordinates knew they were putting Japan in an untenable position and that the Japanese government might well try to escape the stranglehold by going to war. Having broken the Japanese diplomatic code, the Americans knew, among many other things, what Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda had communicated to Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura on July 31: “Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas.”[3]


     Editorial: “Remember Pearl Harbor: Nation Must Continue Its Vigilance.”  Why? Because, as editorial writers for 74 years have repeated, the evil Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941 “launched the United States into World War II.”  And why?  “Japan’s leaders had been making imperialistic moves for nearly a decade,” while the “United States forces in the Pacific stood as one of it last remaining deterrents.”  So that’s why the US had been acquiring bases across the Pacific ever since 1893 (Hawaii), 1898 (Guam), and the Philippines (1899)?  No imperialism in that saith our editorialist.
     Then imperialist Japan attacked the US.  But the result was ultimately fortunate, beams the editorialist, for it taught the US “to never letting an enemy take advantage of such an opportunity again.”  We learned that “We--as a nation and as individuals—must keep our guard up.”   So that’s why we have ten carrier attack groups sailing the globe and at least 800 military bases on foreign soil?  Japanese imperialism bad, US good, saith our editorialist.
      “No, we do not let our enemies define how we will live.  These truths remain self-evident: that all men are created equal. . . .”  “Those word are at the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.  We shall be free.”   By maintaining a fighting stance as nation and individuals.  The truths of course do not apply to others, not to all men (and women and children).  So that’s why we could send wave after wave of B-52s to bomb the Vietnamese not only the enemy North but also and mainly the ally South with a ferocity and brutality only known before by other US bombings by “flying fortresses” during WWII, in both wars carpet bombings that guaranteed almost total destruction using high explosives, napalm, and cluster bombs?    Well, yes, because we are “freedom-loving people” who “have stood against our enemies and laid their lives on the line.  The people of our U.S. Armed Forces continue to do it today all over the globe in defense of liberty.”
    That’s why we remember Pearl Harbor and “recognize the sacrifices of the past and the need for vigilance for all time to come.”
      Such sentiments are reinforced in an ostensible news report written by Jake Sandlin of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on the same day:  “Spotlight on Hoga at Today’s Ceremony.”  (The USS Hoga tugboat, veteran of Pearl Harbor, has been brought to Little Rock’s Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.  The ceremony was its public debut.)  You may find the report tedious after the editorial.  “The [attack on Pearl Harbor] led to the U.S. entering World War II.”   What came first, the Japanese attack or the US/Japanese colonial war?  The U.S.-led economic embargo of 90 percent of Japan’s petroleum and two-thirds or more of its trade, according to several historians, led directly to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
       Never mind, Arkansas’ Secretary of State Mark Martin suggests, for “’It is imperative that this generation and others to follow know what happened on Dec. 7, 1941.’”  What’s that?  “’It is of utmost importance that they understand that freedom has a price.  Pearl Harbor remains a somber historical marker for us as Americans.’”  ”Freedom” compels the US nation and its inhabitants to support the US armed forces in invading and occupying, sailing warships and building military bases “all over the globe”?   Freedom for?  Shopping (if you have the money)?  Freedom without the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing freedom as Mr. Snowden showed?  
      Visit the Maritime Museum to see not only the USS Hoga but to celebrate also the USS Razorback submarine, which was “present in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, for the official Japanese surrender.”
Appy, Christian.  American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity.  Viking, 2015.
Greenwald, Glenn.  No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.  Metropolitan, 2014.
Vine, David.  Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.  Henry Holt, 2015. 
Worth, Roland, Jr.  No Choice But War: The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific. McFarland, 1995.

Books reviewed or significantly referenced in Newsletters 1-6 (number at end of each entry identifies the newsletter in which the review appeared). 

James Bradley.  The Imperial Cruise: The Secret History of Empire and War (2).

F. Hilary Conroy Sophie Quinn-Judge.  West Across the
    Pacific: American Involvement in East Asia from 1898 to the
    Vietnam War 

Percy Greaves Jr.  Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruit of Infamy.  (6)
Saburo Ienaga.  Pacific War, 1931-1945. (6)
Stephen Kinzer.  Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime
    Change from Hawaii to Iraq (3)
George Morgenstern.  Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War. (6)
David Swanson.  War Is a Lie. (2)
Charles Tansill.  Back Door to War:  The Roosevelt Foreign Policy 1933-1945. (6)
George Victor.  The Pearl Harbor Myth:  Rethinking the Unthinkable. (6)

Andrew A. Wiest, Gregory Louis Mattson.   The Pacific War: Campaigns of World
     War II. 
[I have not read the book and could not find a review, but one brief
    reference I ran across suggested their support of the thesis that the US and
     Japan were mutually antagonistic.  –Dick]

Edward Wood, Jr.  Worshipping the Myths of World War II, Reflections on
     America’s Dedication to War.  (2)
Roland Worth Jr.  The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of
    War in the Pacific
(2, 3).

Previous Newsletters 1-6
Contents of #1  2008
Dick: US History of Wars of Aggression Includes WWII in the Pacific

Contents of #2   2010
Dick:   Review of David Swanson’s War Is a Lie

Contents #3  2011
Dick: US Empire and WWII in Pacific
Wiest and Mattson
Chomsky:  Backgrounds
Revolutionary Work

Contents #4  2012
Pearl Harbor Day
Dick:   No Choice But War
Maslin Reviews Bradley
TomDispatch/Klare:  It Wasn’t Al-Qaeda, It’s China
Cyber Pearl Harbor?
Climate Pearl Harbor?

Contents #5  March 23, 2013
Dick, Japan and US:  Giving and Asking Forgiveness
Conroy, et al., West Across the Pacific, Revisionist Account
Dick, US Days of infamy Timeline

Contents Colonial WWII in the Pacific Begins, “Pearl Harbor Day,” #6 December 7, 2013
Ienaga, Pacific War, 1931-1945 (2010, 2 Reviews)
George Victor, Pearl Harbor Myth (2007)
Robert Higgs, US Economic Warfare Provoked Attack  (essay 2012)
Greaves, Seeds. . .of Infamy
Tansill, Back Door to War
Morgenstern, Secret War

For research purposes, specific subjects can be located in the following alphabetized index, and searched on the blog using the search box.  The search box is located in the upper left corner of the webpage.
Newsletter Index:
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