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  • Morning Bell: Pearl Harbor, WWII, and a Lesson for Today

    On this day 70 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and requested a declaration of war against Japan following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor the day before. Roosevelt’s words carried forth across the nation via radio, and the consequences of the actions America would take would be felt around the world–and across history. The lessons America learned in those fateful days should be remembered even today.

    Roosevelt noted that the day of Japan’s attack would be “a date which will live in infamy,” and he also pledged the following:

    I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.

    At 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Roosevelt signed the declaration of war, and the rest is history. Through America’s incredible sacrifice and determination, the United States and its allies won victory, though it came at an incredible cost.

    Just as Roosevelt proclaimed that “hostilities exist” 70 years ago, those words are true today. The United States faces threats at home and abroad–as we were reminded on September 11 and with every man and woman in military who makes the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms. The hostilities we face today are different from those we may face tomorrow, and there is no telling what challenges may lie around the corner. For that reason, our military must stand ready, prepared, and adequately equipped and funded to meet all threats, foreign and domestic.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. military’s ability to effectively carry out its mission is in jeopardy. Today, there are those who would like America to return to an era of disengagement while also slashing military spending to dangerous levels. Under the Budget Control Act (BCA), the military budget will be cut by almost $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Those cuts come on top of successive rounds of deep cuts in defense dollars and capabilities that Congress and the Obama Administration have already implemented. In a new paper, Heritage’s Mackenzie Eaglen writes that those cuts will undermine U.S. power and influence around the world and reduce the ability of the military to meet future threats:

    The military is a vital tool of U.S. foreign policy. Slashing defense spending without any reduction in U.S. foreign policy commitments around the world is not only dangerous, but also more costly in the long run than maintaining stable defense budgets. A review of roles and missions will not change U.S. foreign policy; only the President can do that. Starving the military as part of a deficit reduction plan may cost taxpayers more in the future if it makes the country less safe and increases the risk of another terrorist attack or the likelihood of U.S. forces being drawn into yet another overseas mission.

    The only responsible way to fund defense is to identify the nation’s vital national interests, ask what is required to defend the nation and those interests, determine what military capabilities are required to do so, and then build a defense budget to match the foreign and defense policies of the United States.

    Eaglen recommends that Congress tackle debt reduction responsibly with American security interests in mind. That means stopping the current rounds of defense cuts, budgeting responsibly for America’s foreign policy needs and objectives, and repealing the debt ceiling deal “trigger.” Other actions she recommends include stabilizing the military’s modernization accounts, aggressively promoting foreign military sales and increasing cutting-edge defense exports to friends and allies, and forcing the Department of Defense to innovate even as budgets fall.

    Some would have Americans believe that defense budget cuts required under the BCA would reduce only the rate of increase in the overall defense budget. While precise defense budget projections under the BCA are not possible, it is a certainty that the overall defense budget will decline under its terms. And those are reductions the military can ill afford. Since President Obama took office, more than 50 major weapons programs at a value of more than $300 billion were cut or delayed. On top of this, the Administration told the military to cut almost $600 billion more over the next 15 years. That was even before the BCA took effect.

    This is no way to fund a military or to fulfill the Constitution’s prescription that the primary role of the federal government is “to provide for the common defence.” That duty is just as important now as it was 70 years ago when America faced one of its greatest challenges. Just as they did then, Congress and the President should ensure that the federal government carries out its responsibilities today and fully funds our military.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: Pearl Harbor, WWII, and a Lesson for Today

    1. David Grimsled says:

      "There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy." GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Elbridge Gerry, Jan. 29, 1780. That says it all.

    2. LYGHTITUP says:

      And of course, the Foundations comments are dead on but seriously, doing that is not what this admin. wants or needs to fulfil it's ultimate goal.

    3. Wayne Grievo says:

      Everything on this planet eats something else. Think about it. This current administration AND congress have moved us so far from the Constitution that I hardly recognize who we are at this time. Vote the socialist b$^&^%$ out of office before we lose what was paid for in blood and sweat. If you don't love your country, then all is lost. God Bless America.

    4. Lindbergh Hodges says:

      With our military being spread thin all around the globe and our budget in shambles, why aren't we asking the countries that we protect to help share our costs. Especially countries like Japan, Germany, Iraq, etc.
      P.S. I lost a brother at Pearl Harbor. My parents had 8 of 9 sons serve in the military.

    5. ThomNJ says:

      We have a government (and this holds true to an extent even under George Bush) that refuses to actually identify our enemy. The "war on terror" catchphrase is nebulous leaving the actual and quite obvious enemy un-named. In fact, we are doing the opposite, we actively court the bad guys in foolish ways, like through our support of Pakistan. We have placed people with ties to Hamas and Hexbollah in our security apparatus. We allow terror trainign camps in our country. We allow Mexico to have a Hezbollah camp just over our border with them not far from San Diego. To make matters worse, we have militarily backed al qaeda in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – something that even Ghaddafi noted to the current administration – so what are we doing now? We are doing the unthinkable – we are now negotiating with the LIbyans to re-establish their military!

      Yes, hostilities exist – and they seem to be mostly from our government towards the run-of-the-mill law-abiding American citizen – especially those of us "clinging" to the Christian religion and guns. Just about anyone else is their friend.

    6. Curt Krehbiel says:

      A good start would be to get the czars and the president who appointed them out of office.

    7. Thomas von Holt says:

      You completely overlook the facts that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
      Japan did not then and does not now possess natural energy resources.
      Japan relied in the years leading up to 1941 on Indonesia for natural gas.
      The United States sought militarily to jeopardize Japan's only source of energy.
      The Japanese intended to destroy four US aircraft carriers that they believed
      were in Pearl Harbor before those carriers made their way to the South Pacific.
      Unbeknownst to Japan the carriers were not in Pearl Harbor but already at sea.
      Japan attacked the United States for reasons of self-preservation. To this day,
      70 years later, Americans are led to believe that the Japanese attacked this
      country in an attempt to invade it.
      Learn from history, then draw conclusions.

    8. The Scot says:

      The DoD has never been audited. They say that an audit would be too difficult. DoD waste, which is considerable, is unknown. America's military role in the world needs to be rolled back because it is a major cause of our financial deficit. Stick with defense rather than empire building and we could spend perhaps 50% or less than what we currently spend. I am disappointed that this paper was published by Heritage; it is an embarrassment for a conservative group to espouse a blank check for government waste.

    9. The Farmen GR MI says:

      There is a grave difference between the events of Pearl Harbor and today, now our biggest threat is in the White House and Capital Building. And if the voters don't wake up and put them all out of office we will have LOST THE BATTLE!!!!!!!

    10. Carol Stevenson says:

      Franklin Roosevelt and everyone in the Was Dept. in Washington knew the attack on Pearl Harbor was imminent, yet no one informed a single person in Hawaii. The decision had been made to sacrifice thousands of American soldiers for the "greater good". Roosevelt should go down in infamy an any other traitor would. This includes Obama.

    11. Jim Thompson says:

      There should be no question that the United States must have the capabilities of defending our country with the best equipped and trained military. This is the responsibility of government.
      With that said, the US financial crisis must be addressed. Spending on social amenities cannot be placed ahead of our military necessities. However there are enough areas of wasteful spending in the military budget that if corrected, could reduce the need for manpower and equipment reductions. I'm referring to civilian contractors, both in the US and abroad.
      Military personnel can be trained to do the work of most current contractors the military is now hiring.
      This could include Homeland Security, Airport and Seaport facilities. These areas of potential savings
      would have a huge impact on our nations' budget.

    12. MJF in CT says:

      The primary duty of the Federal government is to defend the Citizens of the United States from any any and all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Not feeding the poor, supporting those that don't work, providing health care. Defending America is first and foremost but the Liberals do not understand this. It was the isolation and "hands off" approach of this government that allowed Hitler to walk all over Europe, unchecked. We dropped our guard back in the 1930's and it took a direct attack from Japan to wake us up. Our fore-fathers saw this and decreed that the Federal government was supposed see to it that the defense of our Country was always there. Unfortunately, our Liberal government only sees fit to handle everything BUT defense.

      I have been saying since the election of Mr. Obama that we are reliving a bad part of our history. We are making the same mistakes as we did between 1934 and 1938 and if we are not careful, we are going to take it on the chin again. The only problem is that this time, it will be more devastating than 3000 lives in a harbor or in a pair of towers.

    13. Felipe says:

      My teacher of World War II tell us president Roosevelt slept with the Japanese war declaration in his hand. Intelligence services deciphered and translated the message that Tokyo sent to the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC, which by honor and war conventions should be communicated simultaneously with the attack.

      President Roosevelt needed the attack to declare war, since the public and Congress were overwhelmingly against entering the war in Europe. It was his backdoor to war.

    14. Ex-Airborne Ranger says:

      I was told Obama is now worth over a $ 100 million dollars? After never having a real job and only a little over two years in office? All accomplished on his salary and the sale of a few books. Things must be going very well up there in "White-House Land"…

      Follow the money trail! That's where the real action and game is… where the real objectives are… and the motives and reasoning lies…

      Oh by the way… did he take Airforce One on vacation with him and his family and Friends again? Wonder how much that costs a day to operate?

      We really do need to raise taxes again… to pay for all of this stuff…. don't you think?

      What military?

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        approx. about 18,000 dollars an hour, is the cost of Air force 1, there was an article in A paper several months ago, his trip to NYC cost more than our whole household mad in a year. I am with you trace this money, I for one would not buy his book, I'll read inserps printed from time to time.

    15. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it, WHY do we keep doing the same things over and over, we footed most of the bill for WWI and again for WWII, never to be repaid, we go into Iraq and instead of asking IRAQ to pay for our protection with their oil we turn around and are making it easy for Iran to take over these fields. I was helping a student, who was studying the causes and effects of WWI, I came across a paragraph in her text that fits today, why are we here?, why did we come here? and what did we gain? these were questions Americans and Allies were asking prior to the treaty in Nov.1918 and they are the same most are asking today about our presence in parts of the world. WHY are we getting in volved??

    16. Frank says:

      1. Our military should stop fighting undeclared, Unconstitutional wars. If a case for fighting a "police action" (or anything else you want to call it) can't be made to Congress for a necessary declaration of war, it's not fair to send our military into harm's way. The war isn't worth fighting.
      2. Why do we have tens of thousands of troops still in Europe & Asia? WW2 is over. The Koreans can defend themselves now. The USA can't afford to be the world's policeman. Recall most troops home, close most of the foreign bases, use money saved to modernize our forces with a smaller defense budget & build missile defense.
      3. Use money saved to also retake control of our borders.

      We could be more secure and still save money if we followed the above main principles!

    17. Lee Burns says:

      A note to our legislators:
      Our solemn oath as a nation should be: "Never allow a war to be fought on our soil". While I believe it is not realistic to think we can protect our country and citizens as isolationists, it then stands that we must continue to maintain a reputation as a strong nation willing to confront our enemies or perceived enemies on their soil.
      This not only means we must be realistic in recognizing potential enemies, but we must be prepared to spend the necessary capital to support such policies. To be sure there is waste – root it out – but don't cut off the arm to save the hand. I and my two brothers as well as my daughter volunteered to serve in our military during the Korean conflict and later and we certainly don't wish to see our efforts wasted by short-sighted and/or pacifist policies. Listen to our military leaders, they are, after all, the experts.
      Give them all the support possible, financially and otherwise and give them competent civilian leadership and oversight.
      All the "spread the wealth" feel good policies won't do anyone a favor if we don't have a country to live in that we control.

    18. John B/ubblo says:

      One needs only to read Mona Charen's "Useful Idiots" to understand Democrat Obama's Progressive Liberal mindset. "Those who fail to learn from the past…" holds true.

    19. Ron W. Smith says:

      Our foreign policy decisions, ever since our successes in WWII, have increasingly burdened the U.S. with international policing roles not experienced by most other countries. We have become SuperPower on Call with more than 700 military installations around the world, large and small, on land and at sea. The net result is that we have found ourselves in intervention after intervention and war after war. No other country comes even close in attempting what we have, and most other countries have allowed us the expense in treasure and lives. Why not?
      In flush times, we could afford it. The post-WWII economic boom in housing, industry, and consumer goods made the good times roll. Since soon after 2000, though, those flush times turned gradually to lean. Right now we are the world's biggest debtor nation in terms of both size and dollar amount. The national debt recently passed $15 trillion, and our annual deficit is creeping ever closer to $1.5 trillion. Yet the U.S. spends more than the rest of the world COMBINED on national Security–national defense, homeland security, nation building, foreign aid designed to gain the cooperation of other countries, and veterans affairs. More than $1 trillion a year go into these, each necessitated by the results of our international footprint.
      Were the space available here, I could trot out facts and figures which show why we're falling so far behind on new infrastructure needs and needed maintenance of old. I could show that the proof is indisputable that foreign policy decisions over the decades have cost us dearly enough that now needed services in this country are threatened. The reason is simple. We've grown accustomed to being SuperPower on Call and have watched our national debt build rapidly ever since 2001 when someone decided, on the cheap, to challenge our foreign policy and start the rapid increase in spending on the five areas of national Security.
      It is good to be reminded of Pearl Harbor and the need to be vigilant. It would be good, also, to be reminded that vigilence in and of itself is not all that expensive. Hegemony, the way we're going about it, most certainly is, though, and it's high time for discussion and debate of the foreign policy decisions (many) that have led us to these lean times, lest we continue to make them foolishly year after year.

    20. doc-polymer says:

      When we address the cuts necessary in our entitlement programs, then and only then should we address the cuts to the military. There is so much fraud and waste in our government that if it was actually addressed and rectified there would be plenty of money to support our military and live up to the Fereral govermnents number one reason to exist.
      This is not to say that we should not rectify the fraud and waste in the military, but not at the cost of a reasonable defence.

    21. Thom Weissmueller says:

      And with all these cuts the military continues to be the only agency to take actual real dollar cuts. Other cuts are reductions in increases! How ridiculous.

    22. TBMIII says:

      Roosevelt's speech was inspiring. It is chiseled into the memorial to him in Washington. Well, sort of. The words "so help us God" are missing, as I recall.
      Roman saying much like Washington's, If you want peace, prepare for war.

    23. Joanne says:

      We should also be very careful identifying our "friends and allies." History also tells us that too often we slept with the wrong bedfellows.

    24. Lodewyk says:

      Do we send aid to regimes which are openly hostile to us?
      Rather spend that money on preserving and enhancing our own military.

    25. steamboat says:

      Suggestion, arising from a point of on-going frustration. Let's stop the "gave the ultimate sacrifice" language when referring to our warriors killed on the field of battle defending all that is The United States of America. Face it, they are part of General George Washington's army still fighting to keep us free by doing what most of us are "too busy" to even give regular considered thought. Writers/speakers, address each of their deaths as the heroic event that it is. Our lives and liberty depend upon them.

      Whether it 's "Pearl" or Iraq, the soldier's job is a dirty, frightening, danger laden task. As a reputed quote by General George Patton framed it to his soldiers, "It is not your job to give up your life for your country. It is your job to make the other [SOB] give up his life for his!!" Given that assignment, let's always address and refer to our warriors as warriors and at the next election give them a Commander in Chief each one of them can be as proud to serve under as Patton's soldiers were to serve under him.

    26. Jeanne Stotler says:

      We have for the last 95 years been "USED" by governments of a lot of nations, I am all for humane efforts, BUT these are usually handled by Red Cross and churches via voluntary donations, we no longer can afford to send millions to other countries or send out troops to support their wars. My mother always said "Charity begins at home", and it is the same with our country. There are still people without homes in this country due to hurricanes, earthquakes etc. I am not a BIG welfare supporter, I believe we help to get these people back on their feet, a time limit should be set for how long a person can collect welfare or TANF, not make it a way of life. We never should be giving our money to those countries that openly hate us and are out to destroy us, Immigration from these countries should also be curtailed to prevent more violence.

    27. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      FDR was the LAST POTUS to declare war on the Axis powers.

    28. 2DOkie says:

      In our present moral abyss it's amazing that we have people willing to defend us at all. A worthless government that wont do its primary constitutional job "provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare"… not promote the spread of it. Congress is filled with people so obsessed with themselves they can't be bothered with the good of the people or they'd impeach the Pres. for gross neglect of duty.

    29. Jules says:

      Our military must be and remain strong and viable. As someone once said, "the best defense is a strong offense". The whittling down of our military capability as proposed by this administration is nothing more than an opening of the door to invasion, both domestic and foreign. Keeping a strong, loyal to the Constitution, military is of utmost importance in these troubled times.
      Keep an eye on the current administration for further usurping of our freedoms and liberties in the near future. This is an administration which has no use for the Constitution and the way of life which it guarantees for the citizens of this nation.
      Next election, if there is one, needs to result in leaders who love this country and all it stands for, and has stood for throughout history.

    30. Mango says:

      One of the few inumerated CONSTITUTIONAL duties of the Federal government is defense.

    31. OTTO PEARMAN says:

      I find it interesting that FDR was a Democrate but still had the guts to go to war. Truman a Democrate had the guts to end the war on our terms. Kenney wimmped out in Cuba (Specifically he got the freedom fighter slaudered by withdrawing at the last moment proposed air support. Regan a republican forced the Russians to back down on with star wars. George W Bush Republican had the will to address iraq. Omaba with lady Clinton are stuffed shirts. Another term of Obama and the Liberals in the us government there will be no need for WAR. THE UNITED STATES WILL HAVE FALLEN FROM WITHIN! IT IS A SIMPLE QUESTION FOR EACH LEGAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES: DO I WANT TO BE FREE OR LIVE IN SLAVERY!
      IF WE ARE LUCKY WE MAY HAVE ANOTHER YEAR BEFORE THE DIE IS CAST. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US.

    32. Mary Jane Hillery says:

      Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
      Not an original with me, I've forgotten who made the statement – one of our men in US Government.
      MJ Hillery

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