- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

Dredging Pearl Harbor
Exactly two years ago, Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined the debate on whether to posthumously promote Army Maj. Gen. Walter Short and Navy Rear Adm. Husband Kimmel, both commanders of Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack.
A series of official inquiries between 1941 to 1946 blamed both officers for lack of readiness, and though neither was ever officially charged with wrongdoing, both were relieved of their commands and ultimately retired at the lower ranks of major general and rear admiral.
The question now is whether government and military leaders were too quick to render judgment. Were the two officers made scapegoats? Were there failures at higher levels of the chain of command in Washington?
Mr. Warner told colleagues: "Theres no new evidence… . Why should we now at this late date in history make a different finding?"
Well, contemporary researchers who accepted Mr. Warners challenge now answer his question. Not only has new evidence surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor been uncovered, but historian and author Daryl S. Borgquist, a Justice Department official in Washington, believes the U.S. Navy and others are keeping crucial documents "under wraps."
Inside the Beltway has learned that, in a lengthy paper being presented today at a World War II conference at New Yorks Siena College, Mr. Borgquist will offer new findings about Pearl Harbor. Hell say the verdict on Pearl Harbor was reached too soon (upon conclusion of the 1940s investigations), well before crucial documents were declassified and other materials uncovered.
Of note, Mr. Borgquist draws attention to a "major historical error" based on the typed text of the first draft of President Franklin D. Roosevelts "Day of Infamy" speech.
Mr. Borgquist says the text was drafted by a State Department team led by former Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. — after the first 13 parts of the 14-part Japanese reply to the American ultimatum had been intercepted, decoded, and delivered on Saturday night, Dec. 6, 1941.
The attack came on Dec. 7.
That supports Mr. Borgquists earlier argument, published in 1999 by Naval History Magazine, that the attack on Pearl Harbor was no surprise at all. He wrote that Helen E. Hamman, the daughter of Don C. Smith, who directed the War Service for the Red Cross before World War II, wrote a letter to President Clinton revealing a conversation she had with her dad:
"Shortly before the attack in 1941, President Roosevelt called him to the White House for a meeting concerning a top-secret matter. At this meeting, the president advised my father that his intelligence staff had informed him of a pending attack on Pearl Harbor, by the Japanese.
"He anticipated many casualties and much loss; he instructed my father to send workers and supplies to a holding area. When he protested to the president, President Roosevelt told him that the American people would never agree to enter the war in Europe unless they were attack[ed] within their own borders… .
"He followed the orders of his president and spent many years contemplating this action, which he considered ethically and morally wrong."
Well wait and see if the Bush White House talks to Mr. Borgquist and fellow Pearl Harbor presenters at todays conference before making the decision on whether to elevate Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel, as their families have requested and Congress proposed in the fiscal year 2001 defense authorization bill.

Speak Ingles

You cant understand America if you cant speak its language, says Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican.
Only problem, theres no language to speak.
So Mr. Barr yesterday introduced what he calls "common-sense" legislation, to make English the "official" language of the U.S. government.
"We must encourage immigrants and give them the incentive to learn English," Mr. Barr says. "It will help them participate fully in our economy, to use government services, and to understand our political process."

Erasing history

The Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is proceeding with its lawsuit against the state of Texas, including members of President Bushs White House staff.
The suit cites the "unlawful" removal of two Confederate dedicatory plaques from the Texas Supreme Court Building. A 1954 amendment to the Texas Constitution transferred money from the Confederate Pension Fund to build the Supreme Court Building.
The amendment says the building was to be a memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy, and be "properly designated."
Then-Gov. George W. Bush, under pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ordered the plaques removed last June 9, after the building had closed for the day.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide