The sixtieth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II has a special significance for the War Party, and particularly for its liberal-left wing. The veritable storm of memorials, movies, documentaries, books, articles, and ceremonies is designed to inculcate, in the public mind, the official mythology of the war that pulled an “isolationist” America onto the world stage resisting every step of the way. Central to this myth is the saintliness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who supposedly was so much more far-sighted than his contemporaries and therefore knew that, in the words of Roosevelt idolator Doris Kearns Goodwin, “we just had to get into that war.” Surrounded by selfish “isolationists” who, inexplicably, saw no reason why Americans should die to preserve the colonial empires of Britain, France, and the Netherlands FDR was more farseeing in that he realized America’s entry into the war was somehow “inevitable.” But was it? Amid the fanfare, and the panegyrics to FDR the Great and Wonderful as exemplified by his portrayal in the recent Pearl Harbor movie the facts are coming out, at long last, and the priests of the Roosevelt cult are taking it very hard. . . .
The publication of Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that FDR knew about the attack well ahead of time, has spoiled the orgy of warmongering and Roosevelt-worship planned for the occasion. The would-be celebrants are so mad they could spit and it is quite natural that the left-liberal Salon.com should give vent to their venomous bile: But, alas, the venom of such an enfeebled snake proves to be very weak stuff, and that tells us something about the nature of the beast. . .
IN COLD PRINT
Judith Greer’s hackish attack on Stinnett is so embarrassing that one can only wonder if its publication practically simultaneous with Salon‘s being thrown off the stock exchange had a direct connection to its ignominious delisting. Incredibly, it appears that Greer not only failed to read the book, but also didn’t even bother opening it. She airily dismisses Stinnett’s uncovering of “129 intercept reports that indicate that the Japanese didn’t maintain radio silence during the approach to Hawaii. (None of them are reproduced in the book.)” Put on your reading glasses, Ms. Greer, and check out pages 46, 49-51, and 57, just for starters: the contents and significance of these intercepts are summarized and discussed throughout the book, but especially on pages 210-15, in chapter 13, and their contents are itemized and further summarized in the afterword to the paperback edition.
But Greer didn’t have to read Day of Deceit: she already knew what she thought of it. Yet she really ought not to have depended so heavily on the ignorance of her audience, some of whom might actually pick up the book: for one has only to peruse it for a few minutes to see that Greer is clearly deluded. The cause of her delusions may or may not be drug abuse, alcoholism, or mental retardation, but all three seem possible when we read:
“Stinnett then blandly states that these intercepts came from a three-week period from Nov. 15 to Dec. 6. In other words, all of them could have been obtained before the fleet ever left Japanese waters, and before radio silence was imposed. I don’t know how Stinnett could believe that his readers wouldn’t notice this critical detail, but then, most of the book displays little respect for our intelligence.“
LOOK WHO’S TALKING
The Japanese fleet was given the command to begin hostilities on November 20, 1941, and from that point on we are supposed to believe that they kept radio silence: but recently declassified documents, obtained by Stinnet under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as the personal testimony of American cryptographers and others who were there and were interviewed by Stinnett, prove that they did not keep radio silence. How these intercepts could have been obtained before the fleet even set sail is a mystery known only to Ms. Greer, who had better lay off the crack pipe if she knows what’s good for her. I don’t know how she believes that her readers wouldn’t notice this “critical detail” in her argument, but then, Salon and its writers display little respect for the intelligence of their (presumed) audience. What is galling, though, is her crack about the novelist Gore Vidal whom she calls a “populist horsefly” (doesn’t she mean gadfly?). Vidal committed the grave sin of dramatizing Stinnett’s revelations in The Golden Age, his latest bestseller. He praises Stinnett, she writes, “I can only assume without having read" Day of Deceit. There’s only one possible riposte to such brazen effrontery: look who’s talking!
THE ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY
Like so much of the liberal-left catechism these days, Greer’s shoddy “defense” of poor old persecuted FDR consists mostly of an argument from authority. Why, so-and-so says that this book is full of sh*t, and we are supposed to be impressed. The idea is to intimidate the reader into believing what the author wants him to believe without having to actually confront the subject matter. “As with other such conspiracy books,” Greer disdainfully declaims, “Day of Deceit received reviews in responsible academic journals like Intelligence and National Security that demolished it, citing its nonexistent documentation, misdirection, ignorance, misstatements, wormy insinuations and outright falsehoods.” We are not treated to a single syllable of these alleged demolitions, but it is strange that, in the age of the Internet, Greer thinks she can get away with this kind of thing.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN
For the reality is that Stinnett’s book, while not universally hailed, was praised by major reviewers: the respected Kirkus Reviews said that “Stinnett has left no stone unturned in this account, which should rewrite the historical record of WWII.” Booklist, another major source consulted by librarians and bookstores, wrote: “Although Stinnett’s accusatory light doesn’t definitively fall on FDR, it illuminates fishy aspects of the case. . . . Whether the result of simple dereliction or sinister dereliction of duty, Pearl Harbor holds fewer secrets because of Stinnett’s research.” The HistoryNet opined that “Stinnett’s book is a triumph of historical scholarship and a valuable contribution to the record of World War II.” John Toland, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Infamy, says: “Step by step, Stinnett goes through the prelude to war, using new documents to reveal the terrible secrets that have never before been disclosed to the public. It is disturbing that eleven presidents, including those I admired, kept the truth from the public until Stinnett’s Freedom of Information Act requests finally persuaded the Navy to release the evidence.”
I could go on, but I won’t belabor the obvious point: Greer’s contempt for her readers is virtually limitless. After all, why would such dolts bother to check her facts, when they can take her word for it? Somehow, I don’t think Salon‘s fact-checkers would have caught this even if they hadn’t all been laid off. This completely dishonest portrayal of the Stinnett book’s critical reception is, however, but a prelude to her real argument, which I must admit I was shocked to read in the pages of a supposedly liberal periodical. Continuing her argument from authority, Greer grandly informs us that
“The consensus among intelligence scholars was ‘pretty much absolute,’ CIA senior historian Donald Steury told me in an e-mail. Stinnett ‘concocted this theory pretty much from whole cloth. Those who have been able to check his alleged sources also are unanimous in their condemnation of his methodology. Basically, the author has made up his sources; when he does not make up the source, he lies about what the source says.'”
SPOOKS DON’T LIE?
Dr. Donald Steury (in this picture, seated on the far left) is on the CIA History Staff: he manages the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection, located in the CIA Library. Forgive me if I don’t take the CIA’s word for it that there is nothing to Stinnett’s book and that we should all just move along, but is it really the position of today’s liberals that we should just accept the “official” pronouncements of government agencies at face value? After all, we aren’t talking about the Peace Corps here. So this is what it has come to: the Left is now reduced to citing the CIA in order to smear and discredit those dangerous iconoclasts who would do irreparable damage to the plaster saints of American liberalism. The CIA would never lie unless, of course, it was for our own good now would they?