As a World War II buff who has earned arnmental and emotional Pnrple Heart b’rnsuffering througli Disne “s Pearl Harbor,rnI am disappointed h’ Oeorge McCartnern’s insubstantial re’ie\ of this einematierntraest.rnDr. ilcCartne stumbles oer faets ofrnw hieh een the l^isne’ Studio was aw are:rnviz., that no American carriers were presentrnat Pearl Harbor during the raidrn(whereas Dr. MeCartnex writes of “Zerosrnbuz/ing aboe and between U.S. carriersrnand battleships”); and that the Oklahonui,rnnot the Arizona, capsized, the formerrnbeing torj^edoed, the latter blowingrnup from a direct hit b a bomb on a forwardrnmagazine. (To Disne’s credit, bothrnof these events were ]:)ortraed ratherrnwell.)rnDr. -lcC”artnc was “impressed” b’rn”computer-generated Zeros buzzing . . .rnlike angn w asps on speed,” w hich indicatesrnthat he has nccr iewcd (or did not recall)rnthe earlier Pearl Harbor epic, ‘iora! Tora!rn’I’oral, in which real and reproductionrnlapancsc na al aircraft {\ at £ir .slower (butrnmuch clo.scr to their actual combat) speeds.rnDr. llcC’artnc- tells readers that “it’srnhardh credible that FDR would havernwelcomed the Pearl Harbor attack.” Inrnpoint of fact, although he knew it wasrncoming, he did nothing to stop it —rnw hich amounted to allowing it and acce]rn3ting the diousands of needless casualtiesrnthat resulted from it. No one w ho hasrnread Robert B. Stinnett’s Day of Deceitrncan bcliec that Roosevelt (and a selectrncircle around him) did not know whatrnwas about to happen sufficienth in advancernto warn the Hawaiian commanders.rnAnd no one who has read JohnrnPoland’s lufaiiiY, with its description ofrnhow Rooscv elt and his svcophants seapegoatedrn.Admiral Kimniel and GeneralrnShort, can believe that thrs thoroughgoingrnscoundrel would not have thrownrnthoirsands of ordinarv sailors into die discardrnto achieve his political ends.rnDr. McGartnev misses an opportunih’rnto w hat should be the most importantrnc|uesrion about Pearl Had^or: Wdio reallvrnbenefited? Phe usual an.svvcr is Rooseveltrnand his co-conspirator, Churchill, who,rntiirough the back door of the dastardlvrnJa])anese “sneak” attack, brought thernIhiitcd States into the war against Geruiaiiv.rnBut how could Roosevelt, Churchill,rnor anvone else hav e guaranteed thatrna ja]3ancse attack would have aecom-rn])lished that result? Snrelv Hidcr was notrnrecjuired to declare war on the UnitedrnStates siniph because of a Japanese act ofrnaggression, and perhaps the wisest thingrnhe could have done would have been torndenounce the Japanese attack as unprovokedrnand to declare strict German neutralitv,rnleaving Roosevelt with a purelvrnAsiatic var and the America First grouprnwith another powerful argument forrnAmerica to stay out of die F.uropean eouflict.rnOn the other hand, the Japanese attackrnon the United States completelv removedrndie direat Japan posed to Stalin’srnRussia, because even the most rabidrncommanders in the Kwangtung Arnivrnhad sufficient sense to realize that Japanrncould not fight bodi Russia and Americarnsimultaneouslv. Inasmuch as the Japanesernattack on Pearl I larbor came at precisclvrnthe moment when the Russiansrndes]5cratclv needed to transfer their Siberianrntroops to the central front to defeatrnHitler’s drive against Moscow, we mustrnwonder whedier Pearl Harbor was engineered,rnnot onlv bv^ Roosev elt and his ynglophilerncronies to save England, but bvrndie knots of eommunist traitors in his administrationrnto save Russia. Aldiough thernJapanese attack brought America into thernEuropean war de jure (through Hitler’srndeclaration of war), diere was litdc thernUnited States could do de facto to strikerneffechvclv at Gennanv in 1941 or 1942.rnHut, bv turning the Japanese south andrnembroiling them in a war with the UnitedrnStates, whoever influenced events inrnthe Pacific prov ided immediate succor tornStalin in late 1941, relieving him of thernspecter of a h o-front war in both Europeanrnand Asiatic Russia, when his Euro-rn]3ean armies and air force had alrcadvrnbeen severeK mauled. Plius, what Dr.rnMcCartnev- calls “FDR’s Pacific .strategv”rnniav actuallv’ have been Stalin’s Pacificrnstrategv. And, in light of Roosevelt’s performancesrnai Teheran and alta, no onernshould dismiss die jjossibilib,- that Rooseveltrnand his inner circle (especiallvrnGeorge G. Marshall) knew and intendedrnas much. Admittedlv, Disnev cannot bernexpected to raise such issues. Hut Chroniclesrncould be.rn— Fxiwin Vieira, fr.rnManassas. VirginiarnDr. McCartney Replies:rnBoth Dr. Harvev and Mr. Vieira clcarlvrnhave much invested in their interpretationsrnof the Pead Harbor attack, and eachrndisplays an exemplary grasp of historicalrndetail. I thank Mr. Vieira for settingrn.straight niv errors regarding carriers andrnaircraft .speeds. As for Dr. Hanev’s commentsrnon our ervptographers’ difficidties,rnI concede that he uiav be correct: Therernhave been confliedng reports. But, supposingrnparts of die code were unreadablernin the davs and hours before the attack,rnwoiddn’t that call into cpiestion FDR’srnperfidv? After all, he couldn’t have suppressedrninformahon that he didn’t have.rnWdiatever the film’s merits and shortcomings,rnit eertainlv has succeeded inrnarorrsing strong feelings. What interestsrnme most about these letters is diat thevrnwere vv ritten bv hv o well-informed gendemcnrnwho reach diamctrieallv oppositernjudgments of the film’s merits while convergingrnin dieir hatred for Roosevelt (or, atrnleast, his administration). Thev arc bodirnconvinced that FDR’s administration wasrna lair of sveophantie cronies, sleazv Anglophiles,rnreptilian spies, and commierntraitors. Well, has there ever been an administrationrnwithout sveophants andrn.spies? And, while Anglophilism niavbe arnresult of poor breeding, it’s not, I believe,rna crime. .As for the commies, Roosevelt’srnadministration probablv harbored morernthan its share, w ho no doubt did whatrnthev’ coidd to help Uncle Joe. It doesn’trnfollow, however, that we shouldn’t havernsupported Russia against an cuemv whornwas coming after us.rnRoosevelt almost ccrtainK adopted policiesrnmeant to provoke a Japanese attack. Itrnis, how ever, highlv unlikelv that he foresawrndie losses we incurred at Pearl Harbor.rnWliat rational leader would have acceptedrn.such an outcome? Iliere are, after all, simplerrninterpretations of cv cuts, including thernoft-cited passage from Sceretarv of WarrnHenry I,. Stimson’s dian’. On Novemberrn25, 1941, Stimson writes: “The questionrnwas how we should maneuver them |thernJapanese] into firing die first shot withoutrnallowing too niucli danger to ourselves.”rnRoosevelt seems to have been convincedrnthat our Pacific forces could handle an attackrn—even a sur]3risc assault —withoutrnsignificant casuafties. Further, the achninistrationrnassumed that anv Japanese movementrnwould be spotted well in advance bvrnroutine suiveillance.rnThe worst we can ,sav about Rooseveltrnwith anv eertaintv is this: Faced withrnwhat he believed to be an inev itablc war,rnhe made a callous gamble with otherrnpeople’s lives, hoping tiiere would be norncasualties or, if there were, diat thevrnwould be minimal. This, of course, isrnbad enough, but it’s not quite as monstrousrnas some have supposed.rnNOVEMBER 2001,/5rnrnrn