More Thoughts on This Week

Keith DeCandido wrote in response to someone else whose name I forget:

Not to defend the guy, but he’s sort of right. In 1941, Hawaii wasn’t really “American soil.” They were a U.S. territory, yes, but not a state.

It was still part of the United States. The fact that it wasn’t a state yet is totally irrelevant. If it wasn’t part of the U.S., the attack really wouldn’t have been that big a deal, now would it?

So yes, it was U.S. soil by any rational definition of the term.

Far be it for me to disagree with Keith, but the argument can be made that Hawaii was not considered “United States soil” in 1941.

Hell, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was predicated upon their belief that Hawaii was not “United States soil” and that the United States would not view the Pearl Harbor attack as an attack upon Americans. (No, I can’t figure out the logic to this, either, but it’s what the Imperial Navy leadership believed, all save Yamamoto.)

The Japanese were far more concerned with how the United States would interpret their simultaneous invasion of the Philippines, whether that would be viewed as an attack upon American interests.

It’s all academic, of course. The United States did interpret the attack upon Hawaii as an attack upon the United States itself. The Japanese gambled with fate and lost. Badly.

I’m willing to entertain the possibility that Jerry Falwell misspoke. Perhaps he simply forgot Pearl Harbor. Perhaps he was speaking of the Continental United States.

What I can’t allow for is Falwell’s assertion that Americans like myself–liberal in thought and secular in belief–are as much to blame in Tuesday’s events as those who commandeered the airplanes. Falwell displays the symptoms of foot-in-mouth disease often, but I can’t use that to excuse him this time.

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