December 7th, 2007 marks the 66th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. As recent as 2006, on official government websites including WhiteHouse.gov., some historians and patriots still talk about the events of December 7th 1941 as a surprise attack by the Japanese. Reading from the White House website, “65 years ago, more than 2400 Americans lost their lives in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. On that peaceful Sunday morning, the country suffered a vicious, unprovoked attack that changed the course of history.” Last year, when this passage was written, President George Bush proclaimed December 7th 2006 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. And, on another government website, it is written, “many Americans, including some military commanders had come to see U.S. lands immune from enemy invasion. That feeling of immunity ended forever on the morning of December 7th, 1941.” If sentiments of an event 66 years old sound familiar, it of course won’t surprise you that the government takes exactly the same position, regarding September 11th, 2001.
As I’ve discussed on this radio program before, the philosophy of humanism can not be realized under a dictatorship, an oligarchy, a totalitarian state, or any undemocratic organization of our society. And therefore I believe (at least), that humanism is doomed to failure unless we have a strong, stable democracy; and one of the key elements of a democracy is an informed public … not a public which follows the lead of a few, while lacking the critical thinking necessary to understand reality. Indeed, humanism can be said to require a reality-based society.
Could it have been that if the American public had demonstrated the critical thinking necessary for real democracy in a time just after (and up to today), regarding the Pearl Harbor attack, we may have not been so easily duped by the proclamations of our president or other members of government regarding September 11th, 2001? Understanding the truth behind Pearl Harbor provides a lesson we clearly still need to learn.
To talk about the events of December 7th, 1941, I spoke recently with historian George Victor, author of the new book, The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable. George Victor is the author of 1998’s Hitler: The Pathology of Evil, which Library Journal called “fascinating and extremely lucid,” and Choice cited as “highly recommended.