05 December 2006

6 Dec.

History.
I nag a lot about history and how we sometimes seem to have learned nothing from it, therefore having to relearn painful lessons.

If I had a time machine, I'd like to go back and experience 6 Dec 1941.
I wonder how many American citizens had any inkling of what was about to happen? Certainly most Americans were aware of the trouble in Europe. But wouldn't it be interesting to find how people felt about the U.S. entering that war? I know a large group wanted no part of the war..... felt it wasn't "our fight". Another large block, including our President, worried about what was happening in Europe, and thought we had to go to war to save Britain and Europe from Nazi dominance. How dissimilar are attitudes today?

I watched a great program last weekend on "The History Channel" that focused on unsolved mysteries surrounding the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. There was some neat stuff about the mini-submarines...... how they may in fact have been more successful than previously thought. If you're interested in the subject,

I recommend you keep an eye out for a re-run of this program.
I believe it was two hours long, and it's worth your time.
(And if you've not been watching the "Dogfight" series on the History Channel, you're missing one of the best depictions of air-to-air combat I've ever seen! They cover dogfighting from WWI to present, with fantastic graphic animation.)

One of the things that stood out about the Pearl Harbor attack is how we're making similar mistakes today-

My EMS flying frequently takes me over a local Air Force Base......

To cross this base, I get permission over the radio:
"##### Tower, Lifeflight 3 is 8 miles East, to flyby midfield, Westbound, at 1500 feet."
"Lifeflight 3..... no traffic reported, cleared to transition as requested."

It's just that easy.
And as I fly across the airfield, I look down and spot 13-707 sized airplanes beneath me, 7 in one row, 6 in another, parked wingtip to wingtip . If I had evil intent, before anyone could do anything to stop me, I could drop an explosive device on the middle airplane in each row, and the ensuing fire might very well involve all 13 airplanes before anyone could do anything to put the fire out.

Similarly, in another town 70 miles away, (this time with a tower that shut down operations just after sundown), I overflew a line of 9 F-16's at the attached Air National Guard Base.
I can only assume many of our aircraft, all across the Nation, are parked similarly.

Some of us think we are at war.
I've commented before on how I worry that our entire Federal Government is packed into one relatively small city, and how much of that Government, including those in the line to assume the Presidency, could be taken out with one relatively small nuclear device. I'd still like to see action taken to spread the Federal Government throughout the Central part of the Nation.
But shouldn't we be on a war footing even when it comes to the small potatoes?
How hard would it be to scatter those aircraft, making it much harder to take them all out with one attack?

Seems like an easy history lesson to me:
Pearl Harbor 101-
"6 December" Americans were pretty naive.
I wonder what advice "8 December" Americans would give us?

4 comments:

Terry said...

I see the same thing as I cross the State. It would be so easy to create a problem. The planes are all lined up so nice, and just 200 feet from the fence. America still sleeps with the front door unlocked.

Flightfire said...

Simple Explanation:

We're not at war

Purple Tabby said...

So do you think Roosevelt knew the Japanese were going to attack?

Did he leave Kimmel out of the loop on purpose?

What about McArthur; do you think he knew what was coming?

the golden horse said...

GB
I sure understand what you mean. I sometimes worry about us becoming too complacent.
I think living here has made me change the way I think. I have become very sensitive to how vulnerable we are. When I can sit and watch ships coming and going so very close, it makes me think twice.
The everyday person doesn't think of things like this since it doesn't enter into their everyday life.
How simple, horrid destruction could be.
Today, especially, I am seeing it first hand and seeing the veterans meeting here for the very last time. The pride they still hold in their hearts is totally amazing.
It is humbling.