Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/7/2020: The Day That Will Live In Infamy

Pearl Harbor

Today, of course, is the anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

At 7:55 a.m Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber emerged out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. 360 Japanese warplanes followed in a devastating attack on the unsuspecting U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Pacific fleet was nearly obliterated: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged; more than 200 aircraft were destroyed; 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded. Japan lost just 30 planes and fewer than 100 men. By the sheerest luck, all three Pacific fleet aircraft carriers were out of the harbor and at sea on training maneuvers, allowing the U.S. to use them to turn the tide of the Pacific war against Japan at the Battle of Midway six months later.

I always felt connected to the tragedy at Pearl Harbor through my father. At the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dad introduced me to a veteran who had survived the attack, and just shaking his hand was a moving experience I shall never forget.

1. I’m glad I’m not a South Korean ethicist, because this would make my head explode. More than 200,000 young men each year​ have to interrupt their studies or careers in South Korea to join the military, for mandatory conscription is seen as crucial to the country’s vigilant defense against North Korea. Men must enlist for about 20 months once they turn 28. Last week, however, pop star Kim Seok-jin, the oldest member of the global K-pop phenomenon​ BTS​, turned 28 knowing that he could keep on singing, recording, touring and making money: South Korea’s Parliament passed an exception to the country’s Military Service Act​ to allow top K-pop stars like Mr. Kim postpone their ​military ​service until they turn 30.

There’s just no excuse for this classic “laws are for the little people” move, only rationalizations. “It’s a sacred duty to defend our country, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to carry a weapon,” Noh Woong-rae, a senior lawmaker in the governing​ Democratic Party, ​said in a fatuous statement supporting the special treatment. The bill to craft pop stardom exception the Military Service Act was first introduced in September, after BTS became the first South Korean group ever to top the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with its song “Dynomite.”

Here is the song that helps defend South Korea:

2. Johnny Depp gets cancelled for not heeding British legal history. What on Earth motivated the movie star to sue News Group Newspapers in British courts for a 2018 article that called Depp a “wife beater”? Doesn’t he know what happened to Oscar Wilde when he lost his libel suit against a man who claimed that the author and wit was a homosexual, when homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain?

On Nov. 2, Depp lost his libel case as Judge Andrew Nicol ruled that he found the defendants had proved that what they’d printed was “substantially true.” Depp says he plans to appeal the verdict and “prove that the allegations against me are false,” but it’s too late. Depp announced on Instagram that Warner Bros. had asked him to “resign” from playing Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” film. “I have respected and agreed to that request,” the actor wrote. Warner Bros. confirmed Depp’s withdrawal with a brief statement, thanking Depp “for his work on the films” and confirming “the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast.”

There was nothing in the trial that added much of substance to what had already been alleged—for years!—against Depp in his messy divorce from Amber Heard. The court ruling, however, provided an excuse for the studio and an opportunity for it to turn a purely financial decision into #MeToo grandstanding and virtue-signaling. When Warner Bros. thought that Depp would make money for it as the marquee star of “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” it ignored the protests by “believe all victims” activists over his 2016 casting. When the film opened in 2018, however, it bombed, grossing “only” $654 million globally, the lowest take of any of the “Wizarding World” films by far. Now Warner Bros., which recently merged with AT&T, is shocked…shocked!…that Johnny Depp’s ex-wife says he abused her.

That’s entertainment!

3. Tweet of the Month:

Attkissen tweet

4. Disgusting people alert! The crowing and mocking on social media over the fact that Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for the Wuhan virus is remarkable even for the Trump Deranged. In addition to being gratuitously hateful, the derision makes no sense: what does Guiliani’s handling the Trump campaign’s legal challenges have to do with the pandemic? The attacks have a persistent, “See? Serves you right! Nyah nyah nyah!” theme. Morons.

Do you think that once normal people who were turned into unbearable assholes by Trump’s Presidency will become decent again once he’s left the White House? I don’t. I think this President just brought out the ugliness that was there all along.

5. Continuing our Asian unethical conduct theme this morning: Well, that’s one more school I won’t be teaching ethics at. In September, University of Cincinnati John Ucker labeled what we have been ordered to call COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” (I like “Wuhan virus myself) in an email to a student. The student, Evan Sotzing, set out to get the professor in trouble with the campus speech and thought police by posting a screenshot of Ucker’s email on Twitter, thus proving that Sotzing is an unethical, vicious creep. The tweet has gained more than 164,000 likes and more than 37,000 retweets, apparently because a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands.

The University of Cincinnati’s Dean of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner then announced that the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Access was “looking into” the professor’s conduct. The result: while “the term ‘Chinese virus’ did not meet the threshold to be designated harassment…it did represent poor judgment” and “caused offense to members of our community and distracted from the learning environment.”

Yes, a single word in a private email to a single student distracted from the learning environment.

The term “Chinese virus,” like the alternative “Wuhan virus,” is descriptive. accurate, fair, and true.

For this and other transgressions, Weidner had placed Professor Ucker on administrative leave for the duration of the semester.

80 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/7/2020: The Day That Will Live In Infamy

  1. 4. “Do you think that once normal people who were turned into unbearable assholes by Trump’s Presidency will become decent again once he’s left the White House? I don’t. I think this President just brought out the ugliness that was there all along.”

    Assholiness is like a Herpes virus. It can lie dormant for years and then one day rear its ugly head, it can periodically show itself, or it can manifest itself chronically.

    Trump is merely a stressor that brings it out. Trust me that had Ted Cruz won the primary in 2016 and then went on to win the general election the Assholiness would still be there. Had Clinton won it just would have brought it out in a different group.

    • The difference is that Ted Cruz can string together a coherent sentence on demand. There would be no plausible deniability that President Cruz was the worse asshole who had it coming.

      • I was a Cruz supporter. My point was that being an asshole is a dormant virus in most of us.

        If I recall correctly Cruz’s facial characteristics were compared to the look of the devil even here.

        We can always find a sizable gang to behave like assholes to another

        • I thought Cruz was the only candidate who displayed above-average intelligence and understanding of the issues during the 2016 Presidential debates. I am not saying he is a nice person. Newton and Einstein were awful people. Being nice is not a requirement to getting things done, it sometimes is a detriment.

    • I find the idea that the same people who’ve been acting like jerkasses (I prefer that term, because the insult is really about objectionable behavior, not gross and toxic but necessary bodily function) now want everyone to unite, on their terms of course, laughable.

      • I find the idea that the same people who’ve been acting like jerkasses (I prefer that term, because the insult is really about objectionable behavior, not gross and toxic but necessary bodily function) now want everyone to unite, on their terms of course, laughable.

        Even Michael Tracey and Glenn Greenwald note that there will be no unity.

      • You misunderstand. They want unity and reconciliation on Soviet terms. Not the definitions you are thinking of. When you eliminate all who think differently, then you have unity.

        • That is true, and when you eliminate all undesirables you have the perfect Reich…sorry, enlightened nation. Another generation or two and the black and brown people will be running everyone lighter than John Lewis into the wilderness.

  2. A naval historian who makes informative videos on YouTube, called Drachinifel, has recently concluded a three part series on the salvage efforts undertaken at Pearl Harbor after the Dec 7th attack. I recommend the channel in general for anyone interested in naval history, and that three part series in particular. It does a good job at describing an aspect of naval operations that don’t really get touched on.

    • Behind the scenes often unnoticed war winning repair teams.

      I read “Neptune’s Inferno” about the naval aspect of Guadalcanal, and while it’s obvious that once American industry kicked in and we could churn out vessels in a flood, before that occurred, the speed with which heavily damaged American ships were docked, repaired, and put right back into the fray, was astonishing and made all the difference in several local and regional tide-turning battles that all combined into the tide-turning year in the whole Pacific following Pearl Harbor.

  3. 1. By sheerer luck, the Japanese commander chose not to go through with a planned third wave, leaving the fuel depots and repair facilities intact. I’d like to make it to Arizona memorial and pay my respects personally, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    2. Johnny Depp has become toxic. As for the films, I walked away after Deathly Hallows, I do not have the same attachment to the wizarding world that I had to Narnia or Middle-earth. Given that JKR has shown she needs to stoop to high-schoolish insults while punching down, and that the plot regarding Severus Snape resonates poorly with me (Lily Evans friendzoned him and treated him like crap in favor of dating the handsome, arrogant bully James Potter, when Snape had been her steadfast best friend) I’m not sorry I did.

    3. I agree. Unfortunately, time is just about to run out, and probably will before anything gains any traction. You heard of the era of good feelings? This is the era of good stealings.

    4. I see no problem with this. I’d prefer jerkasses reveal themselves for what they are rather than hiding behind smiles and fakery. I think Michelle Malkin said it best when she described Ted Rall as an ideological streaker, who didn’t try to disguise his bigotry toward those who disagreed with him by draping it in “diversity” or any of those other cover words. I’d rather know who and what people are so I can act accordingly. I’m also tired of holding back how I really feel about some things and some people.

    5. (Yawn), this is what, the twentieth story like this in 2020 here?

    • 2. Oh, you probably know what I’ll say here.

      Lily didn’t *have* to date Snape just because they were friends. Snape easily could have helped himself by like, adopting basic hygiene, and Lily did stick by and encourage him until he started running with a bad crowd and called her a racial slur. That said, that plotline didn’t work for me because it came out of nowhere and just didn’t seem to fit in the bigger story.

      I have mad respect for JKR right now but the last Wizarding World movie bombed because the story, which she wrote, is terrible and not internally consistent. In my ideal world everyone, creators and consumers, would just step away from that universe. It’s run its course for the moment.

      Audiences are plain fed up of Johnny Depp as an actor, too. Blame the Pirates franchise.

      • C.S. Lewis knew when to lay down his pen, and not to consider picking up the Narnia series again. J.R.R. Tolkien knew when to stop, and didn’t attempt a planned foray into the Fourth Age that would have explored corruption of Gondor and Arnor. George Lucas SHOULD have stopped after the first trilogy. I do some fantasy writing myself, and I know when a storyline or character has run its course. JKR doesn’t seem to know when it’s time to quit.

        JKR also either hadn’t planned everything out to the end or had pacing issues. Actually, I think, like Tolkien, I think the series evolved as she wrote. After Goblet of Fire things get a lot darker and bleaker and the sense of wonder vanishes. I also question the addition of major characters who are late to the table like the creepy Luna Lovegood, the untrustworthy Horace Slughorn, and especially Ginny Weasely, who served no purpose other than to pair Harry with someone other than Hermione, as well as plots that seem to come out of nowhere as you point out.

        I think my main problem with Lily isn’t that she and Snape finally reached a breaking point (although the way it was handled was poor), but that she then turned to the very jerk who’d been bullying Snape. Had I been in his shoes I would have seen that as not just a break, but as a betrayal, and, instead of asking Voldemort to spare her (but not her husband or son) as he did, I would have asked for the favor of killing her myself.

        • James is supposed to have serious redeeming qualities, and Lily is said to have not started dating him until he matured and got better. We never actually see James being a good person on-page, though, so it’s hard to buy into. That’s a huge flaw in the writing.

          I’m right in the Harry Potter sweet spot age-wise and have a lot of affection for the series, but Rowling was absolutely making it up as she went along. The third book is my favorite, because the story gets richer and darker, but it’s still consistent and a lot of fun. The sixth book is just so jarring and bleak. Like you said, too many weird characters and dark backstories get added that aren’t earned or don’t hold together, because they weren’t planned for. I never did buy into Ginny’s character and for some reason all the late onset snogging didn’t sit well with me. I could probably write a whole essay about it that no one wants to read.

          It’s definitely time for Rowling to focus on her other work. An authorized expanded universe, like Star Wars had, could have worked nicely with the right writers* at the right moment. But now it’s healthiest if we all move on, enjoy the series as it is, and ignore the adults who are still way way way way way too deep in it.

          *Realistically someone Cassandra Clare would have been the first hire, and maybe our world just didn’t need to go down that path.

          • Also, Harry’s parents died when they were like 21. That was bad timeline planning that Rowling’s acknowledged. That relationship would have made a lot more sense if they reconnected like six or eight years out of high school.

            • Amen and amen. These are problems I’ve run into myself, as I’ve come up with interesting characters later (anti-heroes to the straight heroes who first appeared) that needed to be retconned into existing stories and grappled with the question of characters’ age to finesse their sons eventually being men themselves while their fathers are still active.

              Yes, the idea of James and Lily Potter being 21 at the time of death, when you leave Hogwarts at the age of 17, and are then presumably considered a grown wizard, is kind of ridiculous. They dated in the final year (presumably in sight of Snape, who was probably boiling angry), married at 18, and were 20 when Lily got pregnant with Harry. They were basically kids having a kid. The idea of trusting people so young with that kind of power is ludicrous.

              • JKR has said that if she could do it all again, she wouldn’t have everyone marry their high school SO right after graduation.

                Part of the reason I only write standalone, realistic-ish fiction is that I don’t want to deal with all those logistics (though there are plenty to deal with anyway). Good luck!

                • That’s what irritates me about JKR. The work was finished. If she keeps apologizing for the way she wrote her story and keeps revealing how she wishes she’d done that, that and the other thing differently, it makes her fans feel like she didn’t know what she doing.

                  Is there an ethical obligation not to keep retroactively revising one’s art or revisiting it for what one later decides should have happened instead?

                  • C.S. Lewis mode one major change to the Chronicles of Narnia (to eliminate the vanishing of the Dark Island in VDT) He was going to revise the Chronicles further at his publisher’s request to clear up some internal inconsistencies, since they were also written as he went along. However, that request came in November of 1963, when he was already very ill, and he collapsed and died of end-stage kidney failure on November 22, before he wrote down thing one as to what those revisions would have been.

            • P.S. The idea of Snape calling Lily a filthy mudblood being the breaking point is foolish on both sides. She’d just defended him, and he was angry and humiliated, but he couldn’t muster the wisdom or self-control to say something like “Lily, a moment, please?” while he composed himself instead of lashing out at her, his best friend? She didn’t value their friendship enough to go to him in a timely manner and say something like “What you said there hurt me very much. I know you were angry and hurting, though, so I have to ask you, did you really mean it?” Of course he would have denied it, and that would have been her chance to try to save the friendship, telling him he would have to change his ways and turn from the dark path if he wanted to save it. He might have listened.

              • Eh, Lily had already expressed her concern that he was hanging around bad dudes, including one who’d tried to hurt (assault?) her other friend. At some point, it’s no longer her responsibility to save him from himself.

                Still agree though, it was VERY poorly executed.

              • A final point on this — in the later books, JKR was trying to grapple with adult-level themes using kid-level discourse. This is hella hard to pull off, and for me it always came across as confusing, fuzzy and poorly-defined instead of subtle, specific or truly ambiguous. Then again, we’re still debating it right now, so.

    • Steve-O said:

      By sheerer luck, the Japanese commander chose not to go through with a planned third wave, leaving the fuel depots and repair facilities intact. I’d like to make it to Arizona memorial and pay my respects personally, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

      That’s too bad, it is worth the trip, you can almost feel the history in that place.

      Hawai’i is a beautiful place even though it has been ravaged by the homeless and squatters in recent years marring public beaches all over Oahu. My last trip there was at a beautiful condo three miles northwest of a vast beach homeless camp. They keep well north of Honolulu for the sake of the tourists, but once you get off to the northwest between Waianae and Makaha they are everywhere.

      It’s sad to see, both from a human standpoint and what it does to the beaches. I don’t think I need to describe it in further detail, but it’s pretty third-world and nothing like what it used to be back in 1986 when I was stationed there.

      • I know all about feeling the history, I’ve stood on the battlefields at Yorktown, Gettysburg, Ypres, and a few other places. I’m going to try to make it to Normandy. Unfortunately, once this pandemic lifts I think we lawyers are going to get slammed, and by the time we find our way out of that, travel will be the last thing on my mind. Hawaii is just too long of a flight for me, and I’m really not interested in the rest of what it has to offer. I’m not a beach person and I find the whole tiki/luau culture to be kitschy rather than appealing. Thanks for the warning, I’m not going anywhere near a beach where the homeless are shooting up and turning the sand into an open-air toilet.

  4. 3. Tweet of the Month:

    On a related note.

    I know we’re all tired of the polling-industrial complex and rightly so, but let’s please remember that a December 2016 YouGov poll found half of all Clinton voters that year didn’t just believe that Russia “interfered” in the election to the advantage of Trump, but that they tampered with the ballot tallies and effectively hacked the voting machines. By 2018, a supermajority of Democratic voters expressed this belief.

    I wonder how this came to be.

  5. (5) In other education ethics news, the DoEd has cancelled its legally-mandated biannual testing of schoolchildren. They claim that they have to cancel it because the school districts have messed up their schools to such and extent that they won’t be able to meet the testing criteria (they physically won’t be able to administer the tests). That means we won’t EVER have a good measure of the damage that the Chinese-Wuhan-NIH funded-coronavirus hysteria has caused to the education of the nation’s children.

    Shouldn’t the fact that they have so destroyed their districts that they can’t even give the exam be exactly the reason you require the exam? If they are so bad that they can’t give the exam, they would be ineligible for federal funds. So, rather than punish the guilty, the government always lets the guilty skate. I’m sure there will be some regulations to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.

    • It would make sense to test every child and hold back those who did not progress sufficiently to meet academic standards.

      If education is truly important then the ability to demonstrate proficiency outweighs any social promotion argument; especially in light of the fact that the socialization of the kids was retarded by the academics who pushed to close the schools.

    • The standardized tests were always a garbage-in, garbage-out situation.They measure only how well a student does on the test, and a significant portion of the curriculum is is diverted to practicing how to take the test. Frankly, if the skip the test prep, schools might have enough time even with “distance learning” to cover all the real stuff they are supposed to teach.

  6. Jack said;

    Do you think that once normal people who were turned into unbearable assholes by Trump’s Presidency will become decent again once he’s left the White House? I don’t. I think this President just brought out the ugliness that was there all along.

    Spot on, Jack. The Internet allows our inner darkness to boldly come to the surface, and boy, is it an ugly sight for a lot of us. Plus, how many dead ethics alarms have been exposed by both the pandemic and the insane partisan environment we find ourselves stuck in?

    Jack said:

    For this and other transgressions, Weidner had placed Professor Ucker on administrative leave for the duration of the semester.

    So I recommend the good professor either sue the school, or go somewhere else. Sadly, we are stuck with college presidents who can’t wait to cave to the social media mob and show that they are 100% behind thought and speech censorship in the service of “safe spaces” or whatever.

    The duty to confront suggests the professor should hire a lawyer, but his duty to his family may require him to do otherwise. Ethics conflicts abound these days, but at least the ethics verdict on the President is unambiguous and easy.

    On a personal note, on this date in 2006 I lost my dear mother to the ravages of stroke. It took 3 months for her to die, unable to speak to us the whole time. Having been stationed in Pearl Harbor and being fully steeped in its traditions as a Navy veteran, there is no more important day on the whole calendar to me personally than this one.

  7. Jack, have you ever examined the ethics of how the US came to [ahem] “acquire” the Hawaiian Islands?

    The US couldn’t have been attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941 if it hadn’t stolen Hawaii in 1893.

    • Presentist much? You’d perhaps rather those islands had fallen into the hands of the UK, France, or Germany? Or maybe Japan?

      • Yes, I suspect that the Hawaiian Islands were a bit too much of a strategic prize to be able to maintain their independence. And the prime candidate for that, after the United State, would logically have been Japan. By the 1890s I believe they were well into their imperial empire phase, leading to their first war with China.

        Had Hawaii been Japanese during the 1930s, we’d have been in a much weaker strategic position in the Pacific. Hard to say how things would have evolved, but it would have been much more difficult for us to respond when Japan moved to take over Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and related territories. Defending Australia might have been impossible.

        Assuming Japan went ahead and attacked us in 1941 or thereabouts, the first step we would have had to undertake would be an invasion of Hawaii, to give us a decent position to take the war to Japan. I don’t know that we would have been willing to give Hawaii back to Japan after that war.

        What is the quote — nations don’t have principles they have interests (or something along those lines). That surely applied to Hawaii in 1893.

        • So offer the Hawaiian people an alliance — continued sovereignty with US protection, if we can build a naval base there.

          Japan’s imperial proclivities in the 30s and 40s (which TR encouraged in the early 1900s, BTW) were no excuse for American stealing Hawaii from the Hawaiians.

              • Everything. I think you’re just a nativist troublemaker. And there’s really no point in relitigating Hawaii annexation and later statehood. It was voted on in 1959. By the Hawaiians themselves. It’s a done deal. The only thing you can gin up now is white guilt, and I’m not having it.

                • “The only thing you can gin up now is white guilt”

                  Strange how your only accusations against me are for things that I stand foursquare against — “nativism” and “white guilt.” Slander ≠ an argument.

                  “It was voted on in 1959.”

                  1. Yes, it was voted on *by everyone who lived there at the time,* not just Native Hawaiians whose monarchy had been illegally overthrown by threat of force in 1893. Native Hawaiians comprised 80% were settlers from the U.S., plantation workers brought in from Asia, and U.S. military personnel. But you know … “tHeY vOtEd!”

                  2. The ballot offered just two choices: Integration by statehood, or integration by continued territorial status. Either way, you were voting for integration. The choices of “Independence” and “Free association” (like the current relationship between the US and Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau) were not offered.

                  3. Just prior to the vote, the U.S. launched two parallel propaganda campaigns — one intensely pro-statehood, and the other attacking anyone who spoke out against statehood. (Can you say “foreign election manipulation “?)

        • Far from it. The idea that all the powers would have just agreed to leave Hawaii to its indigenous population in the days of great fleets of coal-fired battleships is just silly, and, in any case, with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War the US couldn’t afford to play around anymore. Even if that hadn’t settled the question, Liliuokalani was no Emma Forsayth, and could not have hoped to stand up to the Europeans or Americans in the long term.

          • “Liliuokalani … could not have hoped to stand up to the … Americans”

            Which is why she surrendered without firing a shot when the Marines arrived (at the behest of the plantation owners).

            The fact that other colonial powers would have been “worse than us” is not a legitimate argument for the US theft of Hawaii. Sorta like me demanding that my neighbor let me sleep with his wife — “I’ll give you money, and let you live. The OTHER rapists in the neighborhood will just kill you and take her.”

            • Stipulated: The Annexation of Hawaii was pure imperialism, and wrong by any ethical standards. Lingering guilt about this is one reason we allow native Hawaiians to engage in racial discrimination that wouldn’t be permitted anywhere else.

              It’s also 100% irrelevant to the post, WWII, or Japan. Hobby horses are not welcome here. Please comment accordingly.

      • “fallen into the hands of”??

        Well, you at least appear to acknowledge the fact that “those islands” were never ours in the first place.
        Suppose that, rather than stealing “those islands” from the people to whom they belonged, we had instead formed a defense alliance with them, in order to protect their sovereignty from the imperial powers? By what moral / ethical standard do you decide that it was better for us to steal Hawaii than for the UK, France, Germany or Japan to do so?

        “Oh, honest Americans, as Christians hear me for my downtrodden people! Their form of government is as dear to them as yours is as precious to you. Quite warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs. With all your goodly possessions, covering a territory so immense that there yet remain parts unexplored, possessing islands that, although new at hand, had to be neutral ground in time of war, do not covet the little vineyard of Naboth’s, so far from your shores, lest the punishment of Ahab fall upon you, if not in your day, in that of your children, for ‘be not deceived, God is not mocked.’ The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call ‘Father,’ and now whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes.” – —Lili‘uokalani, “Hawai‘i’s Story by Hawai‘i’s Queen” (1898), p. 373

        • Well, there was that little thing called the Spanish-American War, that kind of settled the question – we needed a forward base and coaling station for our fleet, and Hawaii was it. Maybe you would have liked Columbus to sail back to Europe and say he found nothing, or the European powers to decide no European ship could sail west out of sight of the Canary Islands? Get real.

          Oh, and an alliance by mostly-white America with Polynesians? In the days of British India, French North Africa, and missionaries around the globe? You dream, sir.

    • Yes, it would have been better for the United States to have been attacked in San Francisco Bay, along with the half other dozen US outposts that came under Japanese assault during the opening forays of the Greater East Asia “Co-prosperity” Sphere.


          • 1. We would also need to discuss America’s culpability in setting up pre-conditions for war with Japan.
            2. Teddy Roosevelt also set up certain pre-conditions when he essentially gave Japan his blessing to be imperialists in the Pacific.
            3. Do you really believe that the calculus required for Japan to consider attacking the west coast of the US was identical to that required for them to attack Hawaii?

            • 1) Yeah. We’re totally at fault for Japan exploding across east asia and the south pacific.

              2) Wait…did you want Teddy Roosevelt to aggressively oppose Japanese expansion? Hold on…whose fault would a war be in that situation. Please be consistent.

              3) Japan ran roughshod over far more American territories than just it’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

              What point are you even trying to make?

              Stick with your Hawaiian Independence movement, but considerations of how WW2 came about has nothing to do with it.

            • 1)As Jack said, Imperial Japan was evil regime that was responsible for as many or more deaths as Nazi Germany. They were unequivocally racist, brutal oppressors responsible for numerous atrocities in China and elsewhere.

              3)No, as conditions existed in the actual 1941, Japan could not have attacked the West Coast as they did Hawaii — they were pretty much at the limits of their reach to go after Hawaii, which was one reason I don’t think they seriously contemplated invading the islands (although they really should have, in their own best interests).

              However, if they had had possession of Hawaii for half a century, the calculus changes. They would probably have the capability to attack the West Coast. On the other hand, as I discussed earlier, they might not have felt the need for it, likely figuring the United States would be mostly powerless to stop them.

              That was a miscalculation they made in the actual event, and might well have also made in this alternate history. But they were after more American territories than just the Pearl Harbor naval base.

              And no, none of this has any relevance whatsoever as to whether the U.S. had any ‘right’ to annex the Hawaiian Islands. That has actually nothing to do with the actual attack.

              I would note that lots of countries got annexed and / or colonized. Korea, Manchuria, Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines, South America, Latin America, much of Africa, California, Arizona, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Ireland, Scotland, the list is endless.

                • Ok, read the review, not buying it. I am not going to accept that Teddy pushed the Japanese into becoming an evil genocidal regime that attacked Pearl Harbor to get back at him.
                  Slight exaggeration but not much. The Japanese royally screwed the pooch when they attacked Pearl Harbor. They spurned various chances to stop being an evil genocidal aggressor nation and foolishly attacked us in the one fashion to ensure we would never rest until they were destroyed


                  • Winston Churchill commented later on his attitude that while leading a nation desperately under siege he heard of the Japanese attack he remarked:

                    “No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured the marshall might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live. How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end, no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. once again in our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force…United we could subdue everybody else in the world. Many disasters, immeasurable cost and tribulation lay ahead, but there was no more doubt about the end.”

                • I think it’s time you looked up “Appeal to Authority” in the many lists of logical fallacies. One can find someone with a degree who has argued just about anything, and increasingly historians are determined to cast America as the villain no matter what the subject.

                  The U.S. was 100% correct—and ethical–to drop the bomb on Hiroshima, incidentally. And you can quote me.

                  • The previous generation of historians were mostly determined to sanctify one side in American history, the liberal side, so you got a lot of glorifying of JFK, FDR, and so on. However, they never turned on America itself, and focused on its achievements, not its failures. The up-and-coming generation of historians is turning on America itself, and trying to paint it as one long string of racism and evil, with maybe a few accidental bright spots like MLK and Obama. As far as they are concerned, the Europeans should never have come here. America should still be just one big forest in the east and one huge plain in the middle, where the Indians live the perfect Neolithic life, and Hawaii should just be an untouched paradise where the Polynesians live ignorant and almost naked, but happy. These same people would be totally MIA if you asked them if the Muslims were wrong to try to conquer Europe in the 8th century, or if the Mongols were wrong to try to conquer it in the 13th.

    • No, the Japanese would have attacked the mainland if the carriers were moored in San Francisco.

      They attacked the Pacific carrier fleet because they were moored at Pearl.

      Island hopping was a necessary war strategy then because aircraft of the day did not have the range of our B1b bombers.

  8. 1. I disagree.

    My daughter is a huge BTS fan. Because of her obsession with BTS, she has come to be fascinated by all things Korean. She eats Korean food, studies the Korean language, and buys BTS and other Korean products.

    She is not alone. A quick Google search tells me that “BTS has a total of about 136.4M fans.” Many of them are as fanatic as she is, or more so. The marginal utility to Korea of having one extra soldier is dwarfed by many orders of magnitude by the cultural and economic benefits and international goodwill among the younger generation that BTS has brought to Korea. It’s not The King’s Pass, it’s just a utilitarian decision for the overall good of the country.

    3. Next step in the tweet: “Oh well, what’s done is done.”

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