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FDR, Bush, 12/7/41 and 9/11/01

Conspiracy theories can be fun, but they are just about never true. The problem is simple the people doing the conspiring are rarely either that smart or that well organized to do what they are alleged to have done.

But . . . there is a significant grain of truth in them and we often throw it out by simply dismissing the theory out of hand. Im thinking now about FDR and how some folks like to build a case that he was somehow complicit in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 or at least knew about it.

The case is interesting, but I believe it is untrue. What I find much more plausible is the scenario painted by Gore Vidal in his novel, The Golden Age. In it Vidal has an admiral who has been fired because says the admiral he would not go along with FDRs conniving to get the Japanese to attack us. What unfolds is a picture of FDR as a schemer. He wants us in the European War. We obviously are not going to go into it. The vast majority of the American public is against getting involved. FDR has promised in his campaign for a third term that we would never get involved unless, of course, we are attacked.

But Germany is not about to attack us, so how about Japan? They have more reason, as Vidal tells it, because we are playing games with their oil. Were giving them just enough to keep their expansionist aims afloat. Meanwhile, FDR is looking for a way to provoke them into attacking us. According to this fictionalized account he actually suggests at one point that one of our cruisers go into their waters. He apparently feels its ok to lose one cruiser not four or five but one. Uh huh?

And Pearl Harbor? Well, we have warnings about that, but no one really believe them. FDR and others think the attack when it comes will be less devastating and will occur in the Philippines or some other place.

So is he complicit in the attack on Pearl Harbor? Not really. But he certainly isnt doing anything to stop it. And, in fact, he might have done some things that made it easier and certainly made it more likely or at least some attack by Japan on us more likely.


OK, fast forward to 2001. Now you have folks high up in the Bush administration the neo-conservatives who want us to take an aggressive stance towards the Middle East. In particular, to attack Iraq. But they know that would be unpopular unless we were attacked forst. Do they have warnings of a terrorist attack? Sure. We all did. Did President Bush sign an executive order to get Osama bin Laden just as Clinton did? Yes. But did he do anything other than sign the order? Doesnt look like he did much.

Did he have warnings about 9?/11 that he was ignoring? Or were people under him ignoring and not passing on such warnings? Or were they in any way complicit in the attack of 9/11. I doubt that w e will ever know for sure. What we do know, is that this is not getting nearly as much of an investigation as Pearl Harbor did. And we know the administration is withholding documents that might indicate what they knew and when they knew it in regards to a terrorist threat.

Does any of this prove complicity? Probably not. But just as I can believe FDR a liberal Democratic icon might have taken actions that made an attack on us by Japan inevitable, I believe the Republican, conservative, Bush administration might have done the same thing. I believe they or some of them might have had warnings that they chose to play down because a terrorist attack would be just what they needed to carry out their Middle East agenda especially the war on Iraq.

In both cased Pearl Harbor and September 11, FDR and Bush the conspirators, if indeed we could call them that, got more than they bargained for. The attacks were far worse than they thought they would be. I simply dont believe the FDR administration or the Bush administration is made of monsters who would have encouraged such an attack and taken satisfaction in it.

But I do think that bright, aggressive men tend to think other men need keepers. They tend to think that they know better what is good for us. And this can lead them to justify all sorts of horrible acts.

Posted by Greg Stone at November 9, 2003 09:52 AM
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