Monday, December 5, 2011

Remember Pearl Harbor? 70th Anniversary of U.S. Entry Into World War II

Seventy years ago, 2,008 U.S. Navy sailors, 109 U.S. Marines, 218 U.S. Army soldiers and 68 civilians were killed when Japanese government authorities decided to bomb U.S. battleships and airfields in Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands, on Dec. 7, 1941. The Hawaiian Islands had been annexed by the U.S. government in 1898--five years after Hawaii's Queen Liliukalan was removed from power. The day after its attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese military forces also began to occupy the U.S. government's Philippines colony in Asia.

The Japanese warplanes attacked military targets in Hawaii, not civilian targets in cities, and about 50 percent of the U.S. deaths resulted from their sinking of the Arizona battleship. Later in the war, U.S. warplanes attacked civilian targets in Japanese cities and hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed by either U.S. military conventional bombing or the two atomic bombs which it dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A few years before its attack on Pearl Harbor, 100,000 Chinese civilians had been killed by Japanese military forces when they occupied Nanking, China. And a few months before it attacked Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military machine had also killed 13,000 civilians in the Shansi district of China.

By the early 1990s,ironically, 9 of the 14 hotels along Oahu's Waikiki Beach in Honolulu were now owned by Japanese corporate interests. Eighteen of Hawaii's golf courses were also now owned by Japanese investors by the early 1990s. Between 1985 and 1987, Japanese corporate interests invested over $7 billion in Hawaiian real estate; and "in 1987, Japanese investors bought 4 out of every 10 condominiums sold on Waikiki Beach," according to the book Selling Out: How We Are Letting Japan Buy Our Land, Our Industries, Our Financial Institutions And Our Future by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins.

According to Noam Chomsky's American Power and The New Mandarins book:

"In July, 1940, the United States placed an embargo on aviation fuel, which Japan could obtain from no other source, and in September, 1940 a total embargo on scrap iron...On July 26, 1941, Japan announced publicly its plans to move troops to southern Indochina and the United States ordered all Japanese assets in the United States to be frozen. On August 1, 1941, a total embargo of oil was announced by the United States."

When the Fall 1941 negotiations between the U.S. government and the Japanese government failed to produce any major concessions from the United States government, the Japanese militarists, who had been attacking China since the 1930s and occupying Korea since 1910, then decided to attack Pearl Harbor.

(Downtown 12/4/91)

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