Will we never learn?

December 11, 2021

This past week marked the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor what is known to history as the “Date which will live in infamy.”

This coming week marks the 77th anniversary of the beginning of Hitler’s Ardennes offensive known to history as the Battle of the Bulge.

Two battles three years apart in time, over seven thousand miles apart in location, yet neither seen by those who should have.  And both resulted in needless deaths because of it.

History records the start of WWII as September 1st, 1939 when German forces crossed the Polish frontier and unleashed its Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) upon the world.  At the time, that too was reported as a surprise.

So many surprises, so many flashing lights, so many refusing to see, so many dead.

In Europe, the appeasement of Hitler by England and France only emboldened him and gave him the time needed to reconstitute the German military machine.

In the Pacific, the arrogance of American military brass that Pearl Harbor was too shallow for torpedo attack and Japan too far away to launch an air raid left our forces unprepared and woefully exposed.

The Achilles heel of any democracy is when world events that should be addressed early are instead left to fester as public opinion refuses to allow for the action needed at the time when its needed most.

In the decade of the Great Depression with friendlies to the North and South and vast oceans protecting its coasts, America was in no mood to re-engage itself in matters of any country other than itself.

Certainly not the adventures of an island nation over five thousand miles from San Francisco and the perpetual feuding between European nations.  Especially as the deaths of over a hundred thousand Americans in the last European war still hung heavy in the hearts of millions.

Yet that retreat into ourselves, that refusal to see what was coming whether we wanted it or not, didn’t stop World War II it just made it worse.

When Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev attempted to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy made clear they would not be allowed.  That refusal to appease has kept the western hemisphere free of hostile nuclear weapons ever since.

Seeing the danger of his predecessor’s defense cuts, President Reagan restored our military and ensured that his “peace through strength” foreign policy was understood around the world by friend and foe alike.

Mocked by the liberal press and governing elite of his day, Reagan refused to bend. In the end, the old Soviet Union just could not keep up and economically collapsed without a shot fired.

Unfortunately, Bill Clinton would squander Reagan’s “peace dividend” and the United States was once again deemed a paper tiger by our enemies.  Eight months after Clinton’s departure, Americans watched in horror as the towers burned, trapped victims jumped to their deaths, and in less than two hours the symbol of American capitalism was left in a heap of rubble.

Clinton’s failure to deal with radical Islamic terrorism and the incoming Bush administration’s failure to get up to speed more quickly resulted in almost three thousand dead on the day of the attack and more than double that in the twenty years of wars that followed.

From Neville Chamberlain holding up his Adolf Hitler autographed piece of paper as “peace for our time” to President Obama’s Syrian “red line” that led to ISIS, the devastation that followed is not so much the fault of the madmen that launched them but the cowardice of those who refused to confront them before they could strike.

After destroying U.S. credibility with a politically driven bug out of Afghanistan, we are now at the mercy of a President Joe Biden channeling Neville Chamberlain to shape American foreign policy.

It is only natural for the American people to want to avoid foreign conflicts.  What is not natural is for those same people to not realize that Russia, China, and Iran don’t give a damn.

The bottom line is we either lead now while the cost is minimal, or we find ourselves fighting for our very survival because we refused to step up when we could.

Because the cold, hard truth since the dawn of time is that yes, evil exists.  And there is no hiding from it.  You can ignore it for awhile but in the end, it always finds you.

Appeasement doesn’t stop war, it only postpones it until the deadlier, prolonged one explodes in your face.

In this time of remembrance to Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Bulge how long do we keep our heads in the sand hoping the evil of our time will behave differently then the evil of that time?

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