Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Day of Infamy

Today is the remembrance of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Like all such days of remembrance, it is a thanksgiving to those who sacrificed on our behalf and a caution that the worst of man's history may not yet be behind us. December 7, 1941 changed the course of human history. Other dates of infamy have done likewise - September 11, 2001 immediately comes to mind.

I was a bit disappointed, though not surprised, that U.S. media coverage in Asia nearly ignored the date and the highest ranking "news" article for Pearl Harbor on google included "truther"-style articles asking, "Who was really to blame?" It's a connection between FRD and Bush which I hadn't previously noted - and won't spend much time entertaining. Rather, I believe FDR's words in the wake of the event (compare to Bush's speech after 9-11) provide the most relevant testimony of the event:

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Categories > History

Discussions - 6 Comments

Is it so beyond the pale to suggest that FDR's asinine policy toward Japan backed Tokyo into such a corner that it no viable option than to attack? Why do conservatives, who habitually criticize the New Deal, turn a blind eye to his foreign policy, which made Asia safe for communism?

Probably because very few people know anything about FDR's foreign policies towards Japan or the Pacific.

Is there actually a market for or a "relevance" for this information or history?

By contrast the New Deal created the APA, which sets up the process for the United States federal courts to directly review agency decisions. As the most important piece of United States administrative law, the APA which became law in 1946 is in a sense a second constitution and bill of rights which governs all aspects of american policy, and arguably provides the architecture for all of american capitalism.

Its relevance, influence and reach is demonstrated by its habitual criticism from both the left and the right, depending on the extent to which you believe in agency capture and its direction.

Other answers may be possible, but if you want to know how to go about getting a waver from study the APA, aka the legal structure of the New Deal.

Perhaps they have a robust sense of cause-and-effect and do not attribute the incompetence of either Chiang Kai-shek's regime or Ngo Dinh Diem's to the Roosevelt Administration. The same sense of cause-and-effect might induce them to remark that Japan had been tearing through China for nine years and were preparing an invasion of French Indochina before any embargo on it was ever imposed.

John Moser: Tell us how that argument goes, please.

John Lewis: "a second constitution and Bill of Rights"? The "legal structure of the New Deal"?
Really? The Administrative Procedure Act sought to rationalize/regularize what had been happening in administrative law for decades, since before the New Deal.

Right, but the project to rationalize/regularize society is the core of the New Deal.

Most of the New Deal happened before the APA, which was passed after FDR left.

What is the central part of the New Deal that has continued?

I would think that the APA wouldn't have been necessary without the New Deal and the creation of these agencies.

My knowledge of FDR is rather weak, but the idea that the APA sought to rationalize/regularize what had been happening in administration law (as a result of the New Deal) seems accurate?

FDR= 4 Freedoms. Most notably perhaps Freedom from Fear, which is directly effectuated via FDIC, SS. Policy tools/means of removing violent risk and uncertainty from everyday human life.

1929-1946=New Deal, APA necessary to complete and continue the task, breaking policy down into workable pieces so as not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of bringing the 4 freedoms into effect via some sort of "superman complex".

While administrative law no doubt existed before the New Deal, I know nothing about it. My education starts with the APA, and focuses mostly on cases since Chevron (1984).

The APA is certainly the legal structure of administrative agencies...and the New Deal with the exception of the UN and Bretton the extent it continues...continues as an administrative agency.

I am not sure we have the UN either Churchill or FDR wanted, we have probably fallen short of the 4 freedoms (but not entirely)... but most importantly I would point out that we do not have Bretton Woods.

What would be impossible under Bretton Woods is permissible to the extent the APA and congress give flexibility to the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

John Rohr has a fine and detailed book on this subject: "To Run a Constitution: The Legitimacy of the Administrative State."

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