Marking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we cannot fail to remember another day of treacherous attack.
Bitterly, the lord admiral put the phone down, using all the self-control for which he was renowned to keep himself from slamming it and cursing out the man he had been listening to, Army General Hideki Tojo, chief of the imperial general staff and as close to a military dictator as was possible in a country that deified its emperor.
“My lord?” His loyal adjutant waited for the order.
At 56, imposing and stern and with the iron discipline of a Japanese naval officer, Isoruku Yamamoto gripped his katana, the sword with which the samurai fight and die. He knew there was no appeal. He had lost out in the councils, the emperor had gone with the war party, and this was, as the Americans said — years at Harvard and in Washington had given him a feel for American English idioms — it.
Let the heavens help us now, he muttered under his breath, then said in a resolute voice: “Plan Z! I want the first wave in the sky within the hour.”
“At your orders, Admiral! What is the code?”
“The code? Ah yes. When the first squadrons meet the enemy, shout: Tiger! Tora! That will inform the second wave to commence its attack formation.”
“It will be as you command, Lord Admiral!”
“Go to it, boy. For the Emperor! For Japan!”
Several thousand miles and several time zones to the east, where it was still December 7, Major General Walter Short, the ranking Army officer on Hawaii, was, once again, discussing contingencies with his Navy counterpart, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel. “Don’t know,” he said. “And don’t like.”
“Check. Anything out of Washington?”
“Not much. If they know more than we know, they’re not saying. We can expect more infantry. You expect your transports to reach Manila in what, about a week or two?”
“And then come back for more. The carriers are out there” — he made a vague gesture toward the west — “bringing aircraft to the Marines at Wake and Midway. Idea is to show the Japs we’re serious. Heard the striped pants are meeting with the Jap ambassador today.”
“So what else is new? Well, I’m off to Schofield to read the riot act to some moron of a captain, more interested in his boxing program than defense drills. What do you want, peacetime army.”
“Hey — that your idea to mass the aircraft at the center of runway at Wheeler?”
“Thought it might be a good idea. Protect them from bombardment if they ever sneak some battleships within range.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?