The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JEN­NIFER HARPER


Numbers are the nar­ra­tive of Ja­pan’s sur­prise at­tack on Pearl Har­bor 75 years ago: 2,403 Amer­i­cans were killed, 1,178 wounded, and 19 ships and 328 air­craft were dam­aged or de­stroyed. It was an au­then­tic mo­ment of truth. Con­gress for­mally de­clared war on Ja­pan a day later, pass­ing the leg­is­la­tion just one hour af­ter Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt de­liv­ered his re­mark­able, seven-minute “day of infamy speech” to the na­tion.

A poll­ster was there. In a sur­vey con­ducted im­me­di­ately af­ter the events, Gallup found that 97 per­cent of Amer­i­cans ap­proved the dec­la­ra­tion of war. They were stand­ing fast, poised for a na­tion­chang­ing en­counter: 51 per­cent pre­dicted the war against Ja­pan would be a lengthy one and 65 per­cent fore­saw that the con­flict would be dif­fi­cult.

“Amer­i­cans were filled at the time with fear, ap­pre­hen­sion, anger and vengeance — and yes, unity,” says his­to­rian Craig Shirley — au­thor of the best-sell­ing 2011 book “De­cem­ber 1941: 31 Days that Changed Amer­ica and Saved the World.”

“It was one of only two times in the his­tory of the United States in which we’ve been truly uni­fied: Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001. But they dif­fered. We were only united for a short time af­ter Sept. 11, but we were by and large united as a na­tion for four years af­ter Dec. 7, 1941. Our his­tory has been marked more by our di­vi­sions rather than our unity,” the his­to­rian tells Inside the Beltway.

Pearl Har­bor brought a unique na­tional trait into fo­cus. “Amer­ica con­quered the world be­cause of that unity. But rather than act­ing like aw­ful con­querors such as Napoleon and Cae­sar through harsh poli­cies, we re­built Ger­many and Ja­pan into pros­per­ous democ­ra­cies and made them our al­lies in the fight against Soviet Com­mu­nism,” Mr. Shirley says. “We should all ap­pre­ci­ate that a con­flu­ence of cri­sis and cre­ativ­ity brought for­ward some very good men in very try­ing times such as FDR, Harry Tru­man, Ge­orge Mar­shall, Cordell Hull, Dwight Eisen­hower and Dou­glas MacArthur. It was a sun­burst of his­tory.”

And a pesky but brief Beltway tu­to­rial: Along with the three afore­men­tioned pres­i­dents and one leg­endary gen­eral, Hull was Sec­re­tary of State, serv­ing in that position for a record 11 years from 1933 to 1944. Mar­shall was Army chief of staff, spe­cial am­bas­sador to China, sec­re­tary of state, sec­re­tary of de­fense and a No­bel Peace Prize win­ner.


“In mem­ory of all who lost their lives on De­cem­ber 7, 1941 — and those who re­sponded by leav­ing their homes for the bat­tle­fields — we must en­sure the sac­ri­fices they made in the name of lib­erty and democ­racy were not made in vain. On this solemn an­niver­sary, there can be no higher tribute to these Amer­i­can pa­tri­ots than forg­ing a united com­mit­ment to honor our troops and vet­er­ans, give them the sup­port and care they de­serve, and carry on their work of keep­ing our coun­try strong and free.”

— from Pres­i­dent Obama’s procla­ma­tion rec­og­niz­ing Pearl Har­bor Day.


A speech of note for a com­pli­cated week: House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Michael McCaul will de­liver the an­nual “State of Home­land Se­cu­rity Ad­dress” on Wed­nes­day at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. His top­ics: Amer­ica’s de­fenses against ter­ror­ists, the bor­der cri­sis, and the “silent war” be­ing waged against the U.S. in cy­berspace.

Three GOP law­mak­ers with unique in­sight fol­low Mr. McCaul, ready to parse the is­sues Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump faces in se­cur­ing the home­land. On hand to have their say: Rep. Will Heard, a for­mer CIA un­der­cover of­fi­cer and the man who rep­re­sents the 23rd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict in West Texas, which stretches more than 800 miles along the Rio Grande; Rep. John Katko of New York, who spent two decades as a fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor with a spe­cial in­ter­est in drug traf­fick­ing and gang activities; and Rep. Martha McSally of Ari­zona, a re­tired Air Force colonel, for­mer A-10 com­bat pi­lot and squadron commander. See the two-hour talk streamed live at Her­ at 11 a.m. EST.


Those who won­der how Pres­i­dent Obama’s le­gacy will evolve may want to watch CNN on Wed­nes­day night. The net­work will air a two-hour prime-time spe­cial ti­tled, yes, “The Le­gacy of Barack Obama,” hosted by po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Fa­reed Zakaria. It is the first of sim­i­lar pro­grams likely to come on other net­works.

CNN vows the show will ad­dress “the bril­liant suc­cesses and the heart­break­ing fail­ures” of the Obama era. Pro­duc­ers also say that both Mr. Obama and such key al­lies as David Ax­el­rod, Van Jones and Rahm Emanuel of­fered “ex­traor­di­nar­ily can­did in­ter­views.”

Ah, but there’s con­flict of course. The net­work also adds, “Now, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, who cam­paigned to dis­man­tle most of Obama’s achieve­ments, has de­clared that al­most ev­ery ma­jor Obama ini­tia­tive is un­der threat.”

The spe­cial airs at 9 p.m. EST and again at mid­night.


Some fel­low trav­el­ers are more an­noy­ing than others. From a new Trav­e­loc­ity poll of 1,500 Amer­i­cans comes news of the most an­noy­ing peo­ple who board on a hol­i­day flight.

The three most men­tioned in­clude “The Over­sharer,” an ex­citable pas­sen­ger who in­forms one and all about “ev­ery sin­gle rel­a­tive” they can think of, com­plete with pictures.

Then there’s “The Just One More Egg Nog Guy” who stum­bles into an aisle seat and con­tin­u­ally rings the call but­ton through­out the flight for “just one more Jack and cola.”

And last but not least, there’s “Ru­dolph the Red Nosed Pas­sen­ger” who trav­els with a rag­ing cold or flu, “in­vari­ably seated in a mid­dle seat so that he can share his bounty with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.”


● 71 per­cent of Amer­i­can vot­ers sup­port Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s pro­posal to raise taxes on U.S. busi­nesses that move their man­u­fac­tur­ing out­side the coun­try.

● 60 per­cent say their opin­ion of Mr. Trump has be­come more fa­vor­able af­ter he per­suaded Car­rier to keep their jobs in the U.S.

● 55 per­cent say Mr. Trump will im­pose tar­iffs on goods made in China and Mex­ico.

● 53 per­cent say Mr. Trump’s Cabi­net ap­point­ments will make “ma­jor changes” to the govern­ment.

● 51 per­cent say it’s “ac­cept­able” for Mr. Trump to di­rectly ne­go­ti­ate with pri­vate com­pa­nies.

Source: A Politico/Morn­ing Con­sult poll of 1.401 reg­is­tered U.S. vot­ers con­ducted Dec. 1-2.

● Mur­murs and asides to jharper@wash­ing­ton­


A news­pa­per front page fol­low­ing the Ja­panese sur­prise at­tack on Pearl Har­bor 75 years ago.

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