James Taranto Swats Intellectual Fly
James Taranto rebukes Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald
for his failure of research to rescue an embarrassing lack of historical knowledge. Pitt's unfortunate article attempted to ridicule comparisons made between the war on terror and World War II, by using a fallacious historical analogy:
“On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack that devastated the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. And the United States rose in righteous fury, immediately declaring war on Thailand. Because, you know, it was in the same part of the world as Japan and the people kind of looked alike and besides, those Thais had been getting a little uppity and were due for a smackdown.
Which is not the way it happened, of course, but if Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wants to use World War II allusions to describe the War on Terror, I submit that my fantasy comes a lot closer to the truth than his. Rumsfeld's fantasy, if you missed it, was shared in a recent speech before the American Legion in Salt Lake City. There, the Sec Def said that critics of the war in Iraq--a designation that now includes most Americans--are like those who thought they could avoid fighting by negotiating with, or ''appeasing,'' the Nazis in the days before World War II.”
TARANTO’s sarcastic dissection of this opinion piece convicts Pitt of either intellectual laziness or a bizarre attempt to launch himself as an inept con artist.
“Now, as it happens, America declared war on Germany and Italy, on Dec. 11, 1941, four days after Pearl Harbor, even though those countries had never attacked us. What's more, as blogger Honza Prchal notes, Thailand was a Japanese ally. It declared war on the U.S. and Britain on Jan. 25, 1942”
“This list shows that although the U.S. never got around to declaring war on Thailand, allies Australia, Britain, New Zealand and South Africa all did. Further, in addition to Japan, which had attacked us, and Germany and Italy, which had not, the U.S. also declared war on the Axis states of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, on June 5, 1942.”
TARANTO slams the last nail in Pitt’s intellectual coffin with withering scorn:
“It just goes to show you that those who forget history are doomed to write silly newspaper columns.”
Mr. Pitts appears to write for the Society Page. Hopefully, he will restrict himself to that subject matter. At least he wouldn’t be required to read any demanding books.