The Original September 11: President Franklin Roosevelt Announces the Pearl Harbor Unpleasantness, Updated Edition

By Barry Rubin

What if President Roosevelt announced what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, by the standards of today’s official view of September 11? Imagine, if you will, you’re sitting in a rocking chair, listening through the static of a 1941 radio. It might have sounded like this:

My fellow Americans, this morning forces of the Imperial Army of a foreign country that I better not mention lest it stir up chauvinism and racism visited American facilities at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. They dropped by without warning.

On the other hand, however, we can understand their motives. OK, I’ll say the “J” word! After all, we have discriminated against Japanese people for decades. We can understand why the Japanese people feel a grievance against America.

In addition, in a unilateral and bullying manner, we introduced sanctions against Japan to stop it from expanding its empire in China by mass murder there. U.S. support for China has angered the Japanese people who believe that China has no right to exist.

Who are we to judge? Look what we did to the Native Americans! Are we any better? And why are we allowed to have an empire in the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Wake Island, while trying to block Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Is it racist? Just because they are Asians? Isn’t that discrimination?

Perhaps it is true, as my former spiritual advisor put it, that the Mitsubishi Zeros are coming home to roost.

Finally, since Hawaii was seized and unjustly occupied by the United States in another example of its oppression of non-white people, the presence of U.S. forces there was illegal and immoral. Hence, Japan might have been within its rights under international law to protest the presence of those installations.

Nevertheless, I have decided to take the following actions:

--I have appointed a high-level commission to study our shortcomings in diversity.

--I have begun a series of programs to prevent the development of Japanophobia.

--I have apologized to the emperor of Japan for past discrimination.

--Since the incident at Pearl Harbor might be a criminal offense, I have asked the attorney-general to investigate what U.S. statutes might be involved in the sinking of the U.S. fleet and to, if necessary, empower a grand jury to investigate it.

--This incident was brought about by a small radical fringe of Japanese who want to hijack that great nation with its long history of peace. 

--We will distance ourselves from China and support a “two-state” solution in which Manchukuo will be recognized as an independent state of the Manchu people, who have been previously oppressed and occupied by China. To show our sincerity, we will donate $400 million in aid to Manchukuo.

--In future, we will only act as a member of a broad coalition of countries and will await an international consensus in deciding our response to the Pearl Harbor incident.

--At the earliest possible date, I will visit a soup kitchen in Hawaii to commemorate the Pearl Harbor event.

My fellow Americans, if we take pride in our diversity, avoid Japanophobia, confess all of our massive sins as a nations, and not let this unfortunate incident lower our self-esteem, I am sure we will get through this time.

 As for December 7, 1941, it is a day that will live in multicultural festivals and days of service. America’s past misdeeds, however, will live in infamy.

Note: On the Manchukuo story, see here.