Today, I raise a glass to director John Ford, the person most responsible for my Doctorate in American Studies. Then I raise my middle finger to him.
Ford has us hard wired, even now. His Catholic, Irish, Immigrant worldview unites with the Protestant Work Ethic to make a heady brew.
He gave Americans a common, if not universal, emotional warm, fuzzy memory of a shared past. Damn him.
First, let's spay some myths.
The real Japanese plan was to attack Pearl Harbor in order to disable the Pacific Fleet, particularly the carriers. They calculated it would take 18 months for the US to rebuild their fleet enough to be a threat to Japan's colonial ambitions. During those months, they knew that with US pouring resources into Europe, Japan would go unchallenged as they swallowed Asia. Then, a war-weary US would negotiate and cede the East to Japan without a fight.
Makes sense. I'd bet on those odds.
Japan attacked US bases under the assumption that:
1) The declaration of war had been presented to the Sec. of State. (FAIL)
2) American military bases were on guard against an attack by air.
3) Someone in the Pentagon had noticed that the Japanese Naval Academy held an annual competition on how best to attack Pearl Harbor since the 1920s.
The Japanese weren't 'sneaking'. WE were clueless. They were astonished at the lack of resistance and the time it took for the Army (before AF split off) and Marines to mount a defense. They came as suicide bombers.
Blind fear of some American's genes or skin color or thoughts; prejudice and racism, THAT is what made the attack so deadly. The current demonization of Islam is the raddled script of hate, recited yet again.
Guys. A note from those of us outside the family feud: The three religions of the "Book" look pretty much the same from the outside. Just sayin'. Hard to tell you apart.
The man who gave us "December 7th" also gave us John Wayne. Think about it. Can't think no more tonight.
more later, if you'd like.
Though "Tora, Tora, Tora" has my vote for Best Effort to Ignore John Ford in a 'Pearl Harbor' film.