Pearl Harbor in Perspective
December 7, 1941 is a date which will live in infamy. Any unfounded illusions held by peace-loving Americans concerning the intentions of Imperial Japan or its ally Nazi Germany were painfully but necessarily shattered that day, on which our nation was stirred into action before it was too late to stop the threat that the Axis powers posed to us and the rest of the world.
Franklin Roosevelt is universally acclaimed as a good war president, guiding the United States through an unprecedented time of global upheaval. His domestic policies, however, granted enormous powers to the federal government that it has not since failed to abuse.
The Axis powers have come and gone, but the internal dangers created by Roosevelt's New Deal still plague us today. No member of the Greatest Generation could have predicted that while Japan, our deadliest enemy, would soon become one of our closest allies, a benign little program called Social Security would one day threaten to exhaust our nation's finances and economy.
The most devastating attack since December 7, 1941 came nearly sixty years later, on September 11. Very few, in the wake of that day, could have imagined that we would not suffer an attack of similar magnitude within the next seven years. But for the rest of George Bush's presidency, the country was kept safe, notwithstanding the moral indignation of those who wished to bestow the constitutional rights enjoyed by American citizens on the cutthroats devoted to those citizens' destruction. But even the Bush administration, through entitlement expansion, subsidized housing, and more spending, helped contribute to our current fiscal troubles.
We face weighty international challenges today, with a Middle East as unstable as ever and a state sponsor of terrorism still intent on obtaining a nuclear weapon. But the United States, miraculously, has thus far survived every single external threat, often emerging stronger than before. For the most part, the federal government over the years has fulfilled its primary role of protecting the citizenry and providing for the common defense. But the ugly visage of international Communism has proven a less formidable adversary than the iconic, mass-produced smiley-face of Westernized socialism.
For this generation of Americans, it is our budgets, not our battlefields, which are stained red -- and the small, internal matters, more so than anything dramatic, that have slowly but very steadily contributed to the possibility of a looming demise.
Our next bunch of heroic representatives who will take office in Washington this January are not unlikely to bungle the complex matters of Israel and Egypt and Iran, along with the simple and commonplace act of balancing a budget. But it may well be the latter failure that most imperils our nation's future.