SAN DIEGO, Dec 9, 2014 — Just a few days ago, potential 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gave a speech where she challenged Americans to “show respect, even for one’s enemies.” She also suggested that we “empathize with their perspective and point of view.”
Don’t be too hard on her. She had plenty of inspiration from our sitting President.
Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. One wonders how the words of our former Secretary- of-State or current President would have gone over back then.
On December 7, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. Use your imagination for a moment and ponder the outcome of World War Two, had President Roosevelt given a speech like this one:
“My fellow Americans, before commenting on the nation of Japan, let me first say what is most important. My heart goes out to the families of our brave military who perished in yesterday’s tragedy. Of course we will respond, but our response will be measured.
It would be a mistake if we assumed that the actions of a few nut case aircraft carrier commanders and pilots were speaking on behalf of the entire nation of Japan. After all, the Japanese have added so much to American culture and to the world. I think of the beautiful tea gardens and the peaceful philosophy behind those who learn martial arts. And frankly, I’ve always been a big fan of sushi. So let’s be clear: the high majority of the Japanese do not condone this attack and it’s doubtful that Emperor Hirohito himself approves. Remember, the tradition of venerating and worshipping an emperor is part of a beautiful religion, one that we should not judge. In fact, such judgment is beyond my pay grade. But I do know this: If a religious element is involved in the worship of Emperor Hirohito, well then, the result must be peaceful, for no religion justifies violence.
Now I know some of you are calling this attack upon Pearl Harbor evil, and often I’ve been asked if I personally believe real evil exists in the world. Well I do, but I also think we need to have some humility regarding evil, for America is certainly guilty of its own share of evil. We once held slaves, don’t forget. True, that ended a little less than a hundred years ago but I’m just saying: Slavery once existed!
At times like this, we need to show empathy for those who look at the world differently than we do. Instead of being so quick to write them off as enemies, why not try to look at things from their point of view? What are they thinking? How are they feeling? Maybe Japan thought we attacked them. True, we didn’t actually wage an attack in so many words, but what about that oil embargo? Maybe to them it was an attack.
Our goal then, on this sober day, is a surgical military response. Rest assured, our intelligence is on it: We will locate the exact pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor and bring them to justice in a court of law. If during that process a larger conflict ensues, I call upon both sides to show restraint. This is a tragedy, but it would be a much bigger tragedy if anyone came to the mistaken impression that we are at war or if they looked at Japan as anything other than what it is, a peaceful country whose sole ambition is to bring tranquility and brotherhood to the entire world.”
Back to the year 2014: We can be grateful that our current President and former Secretary-of-State were not running the country in 1941.
Say what you want about Franklin Roosevelt (and many object to his liberal domestic policies) the man was an effective Commander-in-Chief. He knew how to identify a true enemy nation.Not that it took rocket science to figure that one out.The fact that they bombed an American naval base was probably his first clue.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
NOTE: Of course, today Japan is a good ally and a truly great nation. And yes, even in 1941 there were many citizens of Japan who had no quarrel with America. There were also loyal Japanese American citizens.They should not have been placed in internment camps.
The same can be said of Germans who opposed Hitler. Not all Germans were Nazis.
But we were still at war with Germany and Japan. Those nations as nations were obeying evil rulers and wreaking havoc all over the world. They needed to be stopped. We needed a President who actually said in so many words, “We are at war with Germany and Japan.”