history


“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”

So far in At Dawn We Slept the Japanese have made their plans, and the fleet has just sailed for Pearl Harbor, around November 27; the Americans continue to be so-close-to-right, but clueless. Chapter 50: “To Be Considered A War Warning” covers the dispatches that were sent from the authorities in Washington to Kimmel and Short (the Navy and Army commanders, respectively) at Pearl Harbor.

The War Department sent one message, which included these phrases: “. . . Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. . . you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary, but these measures should be carried out so as not . . . to alarm civil population or disclose intent. Report measures taken. . .” Short, who as the commanding Army officer on the island was responsible for protecting the Navy base, seems to have had a fixed delusion on the subject of sabotage. It was the only action that he could envision the Japanese taking against his forces. So, when he received this message, he activated Alert No. 1, which “was ‘a defense against sabotage, espionage, and subversive activites without any threat from outside.’ ” His method of protecting against sabotage was to gather the already limited number of planes under his command into one area, and store their ammunition in a separate location – to be easier to protect from fifth columnists among the local Japanese. Gordon Prange (with quotations from the subsequent investigations) writes,

“He believed that thirty to thirty-five minutes’ warning would give him ‘plenty of time to disperse the planes.’ But it would not ‘have been time to get them in the air,’ and that, after all, was their main reason for being on Oahu. Thus, the morning of December 7 found American aircraft huddled together with no ammunition available, a perfect target for Nagumo’s bombers and fighters.”

Short also assumed that the “reconnaissance” mentioned in the dispatch was entirely the responsibility of the Navy, and thus never even mentioned the subject to Kimmel. Had he inquired, he would have discovered that Kimmel neglected to properly inform and supervise his subordinate, Bloch, who was responsible for defensive measures on the Navy’s part. Bloch deployed the few reconnaissance ships and planes that were available completely to the southwest, between Pearl Harbor and Midway – thus totally neglecting the northwestern approach, which was how the Japanese were planning to come in.

The Navy Department sent Kimmel a second dispatch, which said in part, “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning. Negotiations with Japan . . . have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. . . Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in [the basic war plan].” The Congressional investigations revealed that while the admirals in Washington considered the phrase “this is a war warning” to express “the strong conviction on the part of the Department that war was surely coming,” Kimmel understood it as meaning “no more than saying that Japan was going to attack someplace,” with no specific threat to the US bases. Admiral Turner, chief of the War Plans division, had used “deployment” to mean “a spreading out of forces. . . into the best positions from which to execute the operating plans against the enemy.” He had in mind Tasks G and H from the basic war plan, which called for protection of sea communications and territories of the Allies, which whatever patrols and other actions were needed to accomplish that. For some reason, he did not designate Tasks G and H specifically. When Kimmel read the dispatch, however, he concluded that “appropriate defensive deployment” meant ” ‘something similar to the disposition’ he had made on October 16. But most of those measures, such as full security of the ships at sea, were still in effect. While he considered stepping up the condition of readiness for the vessels in Pearl Harbor, he decided against it.”

The whole chapter is full of such examples of careful wording chosen in Washington, which was then understood in a very opposite way in Pearl Harbor. In another instance, Short, as directed, “reported to Washington” on his actions in response to the War Department dispatch. He stated specifically that he had instituted “precautions against sabotage,” and said nothing else. Stimson, the secretary of war, later testified, “I had no idea that being ‘alerted to prevent sabotage’ was in any way an express or implied denial of being alert against an attack by Japan’s armed forced.”

Prange concludes the chapter by saying,

“Short’s measures were to help the Japanese achieve one of their important objectives – nailing the Hawaiian Air Force to the ground and preventing it from effectively interfering with the attack or retaliating against the task force. These measures were in contradiction of the Martin-Bellinger and Farthing reports and all major war games held in the Hawaiian area since 1933. With the best of intentions all along the line, the ‘war warning’ messages of November 27 left Hawaii less ready to meet a Japanese attack than it had been before the dispatches arrived.” (italics added)

In another passage, Prange attributed to “a malevolent cosmic demon” the manner in which the Japanese fears for things which might prevent them from succeeding were exactly matched by American decisions which removed those precise obstacles. He was right to conclude that the events leading up to Pearl Harbor were beyond coincidence. He just attributed the planning incorrectly.

It is also written,
“Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is [laid] for him?
Shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing [in it] at all?
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid?
Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?”                                               Amos 3:5-6

I’m not offering to explain God’s reason for setting up Pearl Harbor; but I know it didn’t happen by accident. By the same token, I am absolutely certain that our current situation in Iraq is not an accident. I would guess that a history written fifty years from now from original interviews (as At Dawn We Slept is) would show a similar series of misunderstandings and pitfalls leading to the mess we seem to be in now. (In other words, Bush didn’t lie; humans can make mistakes with good intentions.) I think I know maybe a few of God’s reasons for this, already. Our nation deserves judgment for all our evil and immoral actions, and I’m sure Saddam Hussein’s Iraq deserved judgment too. Kill two birds with one stone. So, that means God has North Korea and Iran firmly in his plans, too. They’re not doing anything that’s he’s not aware of, that he’s not in control of. (God, please, could your plan not include another atomic bomb exploding?)

“This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. . .
Till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. . .

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment;
And those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”                                                                  Daniel 4:24-25, 37

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss [submit to] the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”                                          Psalm 2:10-12

From the Declaration of Independence

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. — That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. — That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. . .

[Wh]en a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. . .

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. . .

He has obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. . .

He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power. . .

. . . For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:

. . . He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. . .

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. . .

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

I’m afraid this is only a fond dream in an America where most college graduates can’t name all the states of the union, and barely recognize George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; but this almost-perfect formulation of the human response to tyrannical government ought to be memorized. Don’t those phrases just ring with truth? “the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government” “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states

Ahem. <recovering from awe-struck meditation> We will now enjoy several quotations from leaders involved in creating the Declaration, tending to show their strong Christian beliefs, and how that influenced their political actions. These quotations are found in David Barton’s The Myth of Separation.

In The Rights of the Colonists, published in 1772, Samuel Adams (cousin of John Adams, and one of the key figures in the Boston rebellion) wrote: “These [rights] may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams) in 1775 wrote: “A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox, as an honest man without the fear of God. . . The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a nation.”

When George Washington addressed the troops at Valley Forge in May 1778, he said: “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”

William Prescott helped organize shipments of grain from the town of Pepperell, Massachusetts to Boston, as that city was being blockaded in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party. He wrote to the citizens of Boston: “Let us all be of one heart, and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free; and may he, of his infinite mercy, grant us deliverance out of all our troubles.”

When the members of the Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776 (it had been approved two months earlier; which shows that even then Congress was slow), Samuel Adams said: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let his kingdom come.”

Since I can’t type up the whole book, or even the whole chapter, that will have to do for now. May God have mercy on our country, once so great, which has fallen so dreadfully from a good beginning. If there is any way left open for national repentance, that we could escape God’s just judgment for the corruption of our whole society, I pray God we could find it before it is too late.

The surgery has been delayed for two hours because the surgeon is late, and the OR managers are threatening to cancel it, because they won’t have time later. I am in the library, trying to write something about the differential diagnosis of lipomas. Since no book that I can find addresses this subject, apparently on the assumption that everyone already knows it, or that there is no differential, I’m not getting far.

Thus, we come across Obstetric and Gynecologic Milestones Illustrated, by Harold Speert.

The fallopian tubes were first identified by Gabriele Falloppio, Italian, 1523-1562. He was a pupil of Vesalius, and after his death three volumes of Anatomic Observations were published, either from his writings, or from students’ notes of his lectures. Among other discoveries, he described the anatomy of the inner ear, as well as the “skeletal system of the fetus.” (Does that mean earlier students thought the fetus didn’t have bones?) The book excerpts his description of the fallopian tubes, which is almost poetical: “That slender and narrow seminal duct rises, fibrous and pale, from the horns of the uterus itself; becomes, when it has gone a little bit away, appreciably broader, and curls like a branch until it comes near the end, then losing the horn-like curl, and becomes [sic] very broad, has a distinct extremity which appears fibrous and fleshy through its red color, and its end is torn and ragged like the fringe of well-worn garments. . .” Isn’t that a much prettier and better description than the modern drone, “the fallopian tube originates from the horns of the uterus, where it has its narrowest part, and widens out into the ampulla and fimbriae.” Fallopio’s observations were significant because previous investigators had thought the tubes were purely suspensry in function. He called them the “uteri tuba,” or uterine horns, but they quickly became known as the fallopian tubes.

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