Pearl Harbor, Truth, And Government

by | Sep 16, 2018

Did FDR “do” Pearl Harbor?  Is Global Warming “fake”?

Big complicated ideas can be easily framed to one side or another through sophistry.  But what is “truth”?

I have been a “obviously the Roosevelt administration sought a policy of provoking Japan into war, but Bob Stinnett’s conspiracy theory that FDR specifically knew about Pearl Harbor ahead of time is full of holes” guy for the past couple of years.  I’ve dipped my head down into this rabbit hole again recently, and have realized something.

Evidence – as such – is garbage.

Here’s what I mean – if you can control evidence, you control truth.

Bob Stinnett says there was a rather large conspiracy in the Roosevelt administration re Pearl Harbor.  Most people find such large conspiracies to be implausible.  Nonsense.  As Dan Ellsberg points out, no one leaked the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin incident despite thousands knowing.  The same is true for the Manhattan project.  A few dozen high administration officials and officers could easily keep a big secret – even if there are “like, a lot, like 30 or 40 of them”.  Keeping secrets like that is the essence of Machiavellian politics, and the heart of the Wall Street/British Empire “Keep In Memory” Anglo-American espionage culture of political and corporate elites from that era.  There’s a huge tacit knowledge infrastructure there surrounding how to successfully keep secrets.

If Stinnett’s detractors argue that the evidence disproves his points – well, gee, if there’s a high level conspiracy to do something very very naughty, don’t you think they’d tidy up the documents?

Like all such “revisionist” or “conspiratorial” ideas, my policy is this: for the powerful it’s guilty until proven innocent.

Inexplicable acts like knowingly allowing a Japanese spy into Pearl Harbor to scope it out, as well as refusing to declassify documents about it more than 70 years later for reasons related to the “highest levels of national security”, these things are signs.

We don’t have the evidence.  We can’t conclude that this Japanese spy issue corresponds to a conspiracy to let Pearl Harbor get attacked.  Maybe, like the 9/11 hijackers (ostensibly), the intelligence agents tracking them didn’t want to “burn sources” or whatever.  However, even to this day DoJ refuses to let the public know what was going on in 1941 with the FBI not arresting this known spy (or at least not letting him into the naval base, you know…).

When you have an avalanche of circumstantial factors such as: moving key equipment and personnel away from Pearl Harbor, having a policy of provocation despite neutrality, having a history of trying to dupe a non-interventionist public into war (fake German memo about invading S. America from earlier in the same year), then what you have for FDR is “bad optics”.  How do you solve bad optics?  Release information that exonerates you.  Which the government refuses to do.

Coincidentally, the evidence which is fully public seems to suggest that it’s true – incredibly the Japanese maintained absolute radio silence leading up to their attack on Pearl Harbor, and no one suspected it.

That highly convenient evidence (for the official narrative), doesn’t actually exonerate FDR from the “bad optics”, though, since it doesn’t address the bad optics.  It only addresses the pillar elements of an official narrative which ignores the bad optics.

With Global Warming, as the warming narrative changes and adjusts over time, the evidence conveniently tends to support it.  So, at any moment, there’s very compelling, discrete evidence for the current narrative.  Wait, what about subtly different versions of the narrative from the past?  What about alternative narratives that the conventional narrative likes to ignore?

Scholars and public intellectuals lean on evidence.  Bad evidence, improper evidence, poorly analyzed evidence, and fraudulent evidence all lead to “untrue” narratives.  Yet, there’s a problem with scholarly interpretations.

A narrative, merely because it is not also inconsistent with good evidence, shouldn’t be upheld as true, necessarily. People who want to lie, and also have power, can and would manipulate evidence.  They would find which documents support or destroy their narrative, and then manipulate, manufacture, or destroy evidence as necessary.

What matters is what unavailable evidence is implied to exist, which has the ability to change a narrative depending on what it contains.  Truth-seekers ought to discover where that evidence might be obtained.  The barriers in obtaining the absent evidence can tell you more about the “truth” then the conventional evidence itself.

I don’t know if FDR “did” Pearl Harbor.  It doesn’t matter, he wanted war with Japan and thanks to his power as President he got it – despite the wishes of both the American people and much of the Japanese government to avoid it.

Y’all know FDR’s “day of infamy” speech. Here’s a quote from Hitler’s declaration of war against the U.S. a couple days later:

President Roosevelt’s steadily expanding policy has been aimed at an unlimited world dictatorship.

Ha!  Hitler probably had read the results of the Atlantic Charter, and was familiar with the public plans coming out of the Council on Foreign Relations.  None of this was ever a secret, it’s just not a darling subject of American schools or the media (include also in that NATO, colonial nations, and the Soviet sphere and you have 98% of the world not interested in taking a closer look – gee, that a pretty “unlimited world something or other”).

In pursuing this goal, the United States and Britain have used every means to deny the German, Italian and Japanese nations the prerequisites for their vital natural existence. For this reason, the governments of Britain and the United States of America have opposed every effort to create a new and better order in the world, for both the present and the future.

By the way, the context for this comes from earlier in the speech where Hitler very convincingly argues that Germany does not, nor has ever posed a threat to contiguous America, nor would it, or has it, ever wanted to.  Yes, Hitler’s “New Order” was socially and economically authoritarian.  However, in the context of international relations this “new order” clearly refers to German efforts at economic autarky – which basically means the right to not have to purchase American products for import.  Frankly, the closing off of much of the European market to American corporations was a large reason why corporate America went from liking Hitler, to supporting war against him.  So, Hitler’s saying, literally, “We have a right to resist your efforts to make war against us, to force us to accept your consumer products.”  Like the Sherman Anti-Trust crybabies, Hitler wants to protect his country from market competition of very efficient American firms (something America is actually very good at).  However, in the context of international law that’s his problem.  Going to war is literally the most counter-productive way to deal with this situation.  Literally, America could have just waited five years for Hitler to come crawling back to cheap American products after his social order collapsed.

Since the beginning of the war [in September 1939], the American President Roosevelt has steadily committed ever more serious crimes against international law. Along with illegal attacks against ships and other property of German and Italian citizens, there have been threats and even arbitrary deprivations of personal freedom by internment and such. The increasingly hostile attacks by the American President Roosevelt have reached the point that he has ordered the U.S. navy, in complete violation of international law, to immediately and everywhere attack, fire upon and sink German and Italian ships.  American officials have even boasted about destroying German submarines in this criminal manner. American cruisers have attacked and captured German and Italian merchant ships, and their peaceful crews were taken away to imprisonment In addition, President Roosevelt’s plan to attack Germany and Italy with military forces in Europe by 1943 at the latest was made public in the United States [by the Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers on Dec. 4, 1941], and the American government made no effort to deny it.

So, Germany, as well as all the world (through a newsrag of all things), is well aware that FDR is going to attack him eventually.  Remember when Saddam was confused because he offered Bush everything in order to avoid war, and somehow it wasn’t enough?  Hitler was apparently a bit less naive.

Despite the years of intolerable provocations by President Roosevelt, Germany and Italy sincerely and very patiently tried to prevent the expansion of this war and to maintain relations with the United States. But as a result of his campaign, these efforts have failed.

Ironically, here we have history’s great war-maker in a rare moment as a believable peace maker.  God, I hate the military-industrial complex.  Even Hitler, by the way, expressed at least a few reservations about his scientist developing the atom bomb – literally, because he speculated about whether it was simply too villainous.  God, I hate the military-industrial complex.

Faithful to the provisions of the Tripartite Pact of September 27, 1940, German and Italy accordingly now regard themselves as finally forced to join together on the side of Japan in the struggle for the defense and preservation of the freedom and independence of our nations and realms against the United States of America and Britain.

“the struggle for the defense and preservation of the freedom and independence of our nations and realms against the United States of America” … As an American, if my ancestors aren’t rolling over in their graves for the sheer weight this phrase has in the context of the 20th and 21st century.  My God, and Hitler said it.  Are you people making the connection here?  The problem didn’t start with the NSA of 1949.  The beast entered its cocoon with Wilson’s admin, and emerged on Sept. 11, 1940.

What’s interesting is the question people ask, “Why did Hitler declare war, that was dumb, it gave FDR a perfect excuse to use anger about Pearl Harbor to lead directly to war preparations against Germany?”

I have no doubts whatsoever that from Sept 11, 1940 (when the Pentagon groundbreaking occurred, followed by a year of drafts and military build-up), there was already a war mobilization plan which projected that American military action in Europe would finally be ready by around 1943.  FDR would have found his rationale for war, once the tanks and bombers were built and ready.

Still, America’s official but laughably two-faced “neutrality” was a strategic hindrance against full mobilization.  Thus, it was useful to maintain.  We have to treat Hitler’s war decision, then, as a cost-benefit conclusion concerning the continuing value of “neutrality”.

Historians only question Hitler’s declaration of war as foolish because they act as if good-hearted FDR wouldn’t have gone to war otherwise, maybe.  Between these historians and Hitler, in this context, only one party is full of “fools”.

The sad thing about Hitler’s declaration of war is that, other than banal and evil, obsessive-seeming, but mostly sparse, digs against Jews, almost everything Hitler says rings true.  America was a country with huge social problems, who really did go to war in WWI to protect the wealth of a few bankers who made big foolish loans to England, whose New Deal policy was a miserable failure, whose phony politicians served the worst corporate and criminal interests, whose President was a first-rate SOB career jackass.  And America was eager to go to war against the world to build an American hegemony to support all these corrupt interests, and also to paper over the social problems by deflecting attention overseas.

That’s the real tragedy of WWII, in my opinion: that one of history’s most evil figures actually comes off as the more reasonable party in some respects.  Here are Hitler’s comments about FDR’s anti-Hitlerian speeches, from the same declaration of war:

I will overlook as meaningless the insulting attacks and rude statements by this so-called President against me personally. That he calls me a gangster is particularly meaningless, since this term did not originate in Europe, where such characters are uncommon, but in America. And aside from that, I simply cannot feel insulted by Mr. Roosevelt because I regard him, like his predecessor Woodrow Wilson, as mentally unsound.

God, FDR got burned by Hitler, that’s how bad he was.  What a mess.  Hitler wasn’t a “funny/cool” evil maniac like Duterte.  He was “low-key autistic”.  But anyway, sick burn.

I don’t know if FDR “did” Pearl Harbor, but when history’s worst villain can so easily paint you as an utter jackass…

I mean, what if instead of Julius Caesar, Rome had had Joe Biden?  That’s how American power seems to me sometimes.

Nazi Germany is the best example of an ideal state.  It did everything right that statist philosophers and advocates want the state to do and be.  And it was a disaster, murdered millions of people, collapsed miserably, ended in social chaos, and apparently had no sense of economics.  But Hitler comes off to me as the ideal sort of guy that people who like the government solving our problems want in charge.  In terms of his official vision, and public sincerity.  Does nobody make the connection here?

So Hitler’s the big villain we had to defeat, but we’re stuck with “New Deals” and “Great Societies”, “Moonshots for solar power” and “Manhattan Projects for breast cancer”?  Can we also have a “Dresden for lobbyists”?  When will that happen?

I don’t know if FDR “did” Pearl Harbor, but I don’t trust the government, wish it would be smaller, and wish people would stop trying to fight wars all the time.

About Zack Sorenson

Zachary Sorenson was a captain in the United States Air Force before quitting because of a principled opposition to war. He received a MBA from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan as class valedictorian. He also has a BA in Economics and a BS in Computer Science.

Our Books

latest book lineup.

Related Articles


Wheels Within Wheels: Complexity is Real in War

“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras...

read more