Even Senator Hillary Clinton said that President Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving was “terrific.” It was a morale booster for U.S. forces. But the concern displayed by the Bush administration for our military has been noticeably missing on a matter that cries out for justice more than 60 years after the fact-the scapegoating of Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The administration should act to clear him of charges made in 1942 by the Roberts Commission, which pronounced Kimmel “derelict in his duty” and “solely responsible for the success of the Japanese attack.” Kimmel’s family recalls that he “came home a beaten man.” He was, “Totally ashamed, his honor and reputation completely denigrated. Nothing worse could happen to a dedicated military officer.”
Two years later, however, Kimmel learned that Washington had withheld critical intelligence information from him in the weeks and months prior to the attack. That revelation launched Kimmel on a crusade to clear his name and restore his reputation.
His son, Edward R. Kimmel, says that his father “turned into a fighting tiger. From that moment on, he became a lone individual fighting the bureaucracy that placed every obstacle in his way to get the truth.” During their lifetimes, however, the government repeatedly denied requests by Kimmel and his Army counterpart, Major General Walter Short, for a court- martial to present their defense. His family carried on that crusade after Kimmel’s death in 1968.
Ten official investigations and inquiries would find that the Roberts Commission had unjustly accused Kimmel. And information uncovered in the National Archives indicates that Kimmel and Short both had been singled out for blame even before the Roberts Commission began to take testimony about the tragedy.
In May 2000, the Kimmels thought that their long quest for justice was over. Congress unanimously adopted an amendment to the 2001 Defense Authorization Bill requesting that the President advance Kimmel and Short to their highest ranks held during World War II.
In 1947, Congress had passed the Officer Personnel Act that authorized the Defense Department to advance Kimmel to the rank of Admiral. After he was relieved of command, he had been returned to his permanent rank of Rear Admiral and had retired with that rank. In 1954, the Chief of Naval Personnel, Admiral J.L. Holloway, recommended that Kimmel be advanced, but the Defense Department took no action. Kimmel and Short remain the only two eligible World War II officers who have not been advanced to their highest wartime ranks.
Support for the action came from members as diverse as Senators Jesse Helms and Ted Kennedy. Senator Strom Thurmond, who considered the two to be the final victims of Pearl Harbor, said “The blame directed to these two World War II flag officers for nearly six decades is undeserved.”
The 2000 Congressional action required only that President Bill Clinton place Kimmel on the military’s retired list with the rank of full admiral. That action would bring no monetary benefit to the Kimmel family. But President Clinton ignored Congress’ request during the last four months of his term, although he did find time to issue more than 140 pardons, including one to his drug-dealing brother.
The Kimmel family had high hopes that incoming President George W. Bush would finally close out this case. Inexplicably, the Kimmel family says the Pentagon has continued to stonewall their efforts to advise the President to move ahead on the Congressional request.
Captain Vincent J. Colan, USNR (ret.), reports that in July 2002 he received a letter from Pentagon Under Secretary David Chu explaining that the new administration “cannot support the advancement of the two Pearl Harbor commanders” because there has been no new “extraordinary evidence” in the case.
Colan says that he received a similar response from White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card in 2002. Card claimed there had been “no new evidence to consider overturning decisions made more than 50 years ago?” Colan has petitioned DoD with a Freedom of Information request to obtain the documents underlying Chu’s decision, but thus far his efforts have been rebuffed.
Part of the reason for this has been the failure of the media to highlight the information clearing Kimmel. On November 6, 2003, the Kimmel family tried again, holding a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to rebut Chu and Card’s assertion and reveal “much new evidence of an extraordinary character” in the Kimmel case. The family was joined by Professor Michael Gannon, professor emeritus of history at the University of Florida, and author of Pearl Harbor Betrayed. Kirkus Reviews pronounced Gannon’s book “thoroughly researched, closely argued, utterly convincing.”
In reply to Under Secretary Chu’s assertion of “no new evidence,” Gannon quoted President Harry S. Truman as saying that “the only thing new is history that we don’t know.” In truth, Gannon said there is much new evidence and cited three examples: the question of shallow-water torpedoes, the Pacific Fleet’s state of readiness, and Kimmel’s use of distant aerial reconnaissance.
In the lattermost case, Kimmel was accused of failing to patrol the “most dangerous” sectors of approach to Pearl Harbor. Gannon said that this allegation was repeated by Prange and other historians, but is not borne out by documents from the period. Gannon says that contrary to “folklore,” the navy never identified “the most dangerous sectors.” Moreover, Kimmel clearly lacked sufficient aircraft to conduct such patrols (a promised 100 additional patrol aircraft had been diverted to Great Britain) and he quickly would have degraded the readiness of his remaining patrol aircraft after “four or five days.” Kimmel opted to focus on training and readiness. Admiral William F. Halsey would later say of Kimmel’s action on distant aerial reconnaissance, “Any Admiral worth his stars would have made the same choice.”
No myth has dogged Kimmel’s reputation more than the allegation that he had kept the fleet in a “peacetime mode.” The prevailing image of the fleet’s readiness was captured by the movie “From Here to Eternity,” which depicted enlisted men on liberty the night before the attack. Over the years, books like Gordon W. Prange’s 1981 At Dawn We Slept have perpetuated the image that “Japan caught the United States napping on Oahu.” One of Prange’s chapters is even entitled “They Caught Them Asleep, by God!”
Gannon told the press conference, however, that recently uncovered U.S. Navy records show that the fleet was a “beehive of activity” that morning. According to Gannon, the records show that “comparatively few men were on liberty” and that the fleet had personnel mustered on station at rates averaging nearly seventy-five percent. Gannon said that the attack occurred ten minutes after a watch-shift change and that personnel were not sleeping, as Prange maintained.
Moreover, Kimmel had upgraded the readiness of the fleet after Washington’s October 16 war warning and again after a November 27 warning. He had sent two task forces to sea “under complete war conditions.” He had also ensured that each ship in harbor had a sufficient complement of officers and men to “repel enemy aircraft, to get the ships underway and to sea and to fight the ship.” The best testimony to Kimmel’s readiness preparations came from Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi, who as Commander of Japan’s First Air Fleet directed the air attack on Pearl Harbor and later wrote that, “the enemy’s anti-aircraft fire reaction had been so prompt as virtually to nullify the advantage of surprise.”
Even more telling is Gannon’s recent discovery that Kimmel’s replacement, Admiral Chester Nimitz, maintained the “same state of readiness” that Kimmel had established on December 7. Nimitz was convinced that Japanese aircraft carriers would return for a second strike on Pearl Harbor, but he reissued Kimmel’s readiness standards and security precautions “without change.” Gannon told the press conference that “the critic who would skewer Kimmel on his state of readiness must be prepared to take on Admiral Nimitz as well.”
At the time, the U.S. Navy assessed that the world’s navies did not possess a shallow-water torpedo capability. Naval experts believed that, based on the British experience, aerial torpedoes would run to depths of eighty to ninety feet. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold R. Stark wrote Kimmel in February 1941, “A minimum depth of water of seventy-five feet may be assumed necessary to successfully drop torpedoes from planes. A hundred and fifty feet of water is desired.” Pearl Harbor was only thirty-feet deep and dropped off to only forty-five feet in the channels.
Unless modified, the Navy believed that Japanese aerial torpedoes “would dive uselessly into the muck at shallow Pearl.” Based on this assumption, the Navy saw no requirement for anti-torpedo nets at Pearl Harbor. As Stark had written, “It is considered that the relatively shallow depth of water limits the need for anti-torpedo nets in Pearl Harbor.” None was provided and Pearl Harbor lacked the capability to make such nets. But Gannon says that he has learned that naval experts in Washington knew that the British navy had modified an aerial torpedo that operated in water as shallow as 24 feet. The Navy knew that the British had made shallow-water aerial torpedo attacks on Italian targets in 1940 and early 1941. All this was known in Washington by July 1941, but withheld from Kimmel. The Japanese modified their aerial torpedoes and subsequently scored 25 hits during the attack.
Gannon said that this information was not only withheld prior to the Pearl Harbor attacks, but Kimmel was denied access to the reports four years later when he was preparing for the congressional hearings on the attack.
At the press conference, members of the Kimmel family argued that this new information represents a “smoking gun” that, taken with earlier findings, should substantiate the case for Kimmel. Kimmel’s eldest surviving son said that this represents “a pattern of new information that progressively exonerates and vindicates my father and General Short. Representatives of the President of the United States have asked for such information, and today we have provided” it.
Endorsements for the vindication and advancement in rank for Kimmel and Short come from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, the Naval Academy Alumni Association, the Retired Officers Association, and the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Commission.
Those endorsements make the Pentagon’s unwillingness to reverse the injustice inflicted on Kimmel and Short even harder to comprehend.
In a long article on November 23, David Von Drehle of the Washington Post claimed to have discovered why the idea of “gay marriage” has entered “the American consciousness.” He attributed it to the determined legal maneuvers of homosexual activists in the courts. He ignored how the major media have acted as a virtual house organ of the homosexual movement, running announcements of homosexual “weddings” and unions. The “gay rights” movement would not have achieved this “progress” without the support of powerful news organizations like the Washington Post and New York Times, which have run editorials supporting “gay marriage.”
In the case of the Massachusetts Supreme Court ordering the legislature to approve “same-sex marriage,” few in the media have noted that Chief Justice Margaret Marshall is married to liberal former New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis. Her appointment to the court was promoted by the Boston Globe, a subsidiary of the Times.
On July 23, the Washington Post Weddings section had featured the wedding announcement of nationally syndicated columnist Deb Price and her “partner,” Joyce Murdoch, both of them former Post editors. They got “married” in Toronto, Canada, but the Post considered it a valid wedding here. The New York Times embraced the policy more than a year ago, when it published an announcement about a “civil union” in presidential candidate Howard Dean’s home state of Vermont. As governor, Dean signed the nation’s first civil union law.
Duane McCallister, publisher of the Gaston Gazette in North Carolina, had said in a column that “publication of these announcements legitimizes a practice that offends many of us in that it leads in a direction different than our personal compass heading.” Although local reaction to his position was “almost wholly positive,” his bosses in Irvine, California at the headquarters of Freedom Communications reversed his stand, enacting a policy ordering all of its 35 papers to print same-sex union announcements.
The pressure to accommodate the homosexuals came from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), probably best known for leading the successful campaign to force Dr. Laura’s television program and Michael Savage’s MSNBC show off the air. GLAAD’s campaign has resulted in 219 newspapers now running notices of homosexual “unions” or “marriages.”
A group called Tradition, Family & Property, which defends marriage between a man and a woman as natural and a cornerstone of Western civilization, has waged a “They Aren’t Married Campaign” that reminds newspapers that homosexual “marriage” is not recognized in the United States and that the press is going beyond journalism to “preparing a culture where this behavior will eventually be accepted.” That is, of course, the goal. Most media are influenced not only by GLAAD but by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). And most media-ranging from Fox News to the New York Times-provide special health and other benefits to homosexual “partners” of news employees.
In the wake of the Massachusetts ruling, the Post on November 20 said it didn’t want to generate “a truckload of indignant letters,” but it nevertheless tried to compare opposition to homosexual marriage to old laws against blacks getting married to whites. On the same day, the New York Times editorialized that any effort to amend the constitution to prohibit the practice would be an effort to deny “minority rights.”
“I think the major media have tended to support the gay side on this,” admits veteran homosexual activist John Aravosis, “but I’ve been surprised by how many of the conservatives [in the media] have also come on board as well.”
David Brooks, the “conservative voice” on public television’s NewsHour and the New York Times op-ed page, has endorsed homosexual marriage, and Jonah Goldberg of National Review and former New-Leftist David Horowitz announced their opposition to an amendment protecting traditional marriage.
Ironically, the push for “gay marriage” is gathering steam as the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued new figures showing that, despite federal spending of $90 million a year on “safe sex,” condom promotion, and HIV prevention efforts, “HIV diagnoses for gay and bisexual men have increased by 17.7 percent since the lowest point in 1999.” This is the group that knows the most about condoms.
The San Francisco “Stop AIDS Project,” which received nearly $700,000 in federal funds in one year, sponsored HIV “prevention work-shops” that encouraged sexual activity and met the “legal definition of obscene material,” according to a report from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. But CDC Director Julie Gerberding and House Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, defended the group. Rep. Dave Weldon calls the anti-AIDS programs “abject failures” and says that sexual abstinence is what the government should be advising.
That wasn’t the message when the Today Show featured an interview with former basketball star “Magic” Johnson on World AIDS Day, December 1. Johnson, who admittedly got AIDS through sexual promiscuity, urged AIDS testing and more “safe sex.”
Homosexual media influence was demonstrated on November 16 when correspondent Morley Safer and CBS’s 60 Minutes went to bat for Col. Steve Loomis, who violated the military’s rules against homosexual conduct and fraternization, was expelled from the service, and is now suing the federal government for military benefits. He is hoping that a liberal judge will use his case to overturn the military’s anti-homosexual policy.
Loomis, 45-years-old at the time, was ousted after 19-year-old Army Private Michael Burdette set a fire in Loomis’ home in an attempt to destroy nude photos that Loomis had taken of him during a homosexual relationship. A video discovered in the rubble had images of Loomis engaged in sexual acts with three other enlisted men.
The New York Times followed on November 28 with an op-ed, “Why We Need Gays in the Military,” by Nathaniel Frank, an official of the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He wrote that U.S allies such as Britain had “lifted bans on gay soldiers without undermining unit cohesion or combat readiness.”
However, he ignored the case of Sam Wyatt, a lesbian in Britain’s Royal Air Force posted in Canada who announced she was getting “married” to a woman and applied for married quarters at the base there. Wyatt said, “Gays are allowed to be in the military now-so why can’t they recognize same-sex marriages?”
The Post agrees, declaring in a November 30 editorial that the military’s anti-homosexual policy should be repealed. It then ran a December 3 front-page article lamenting the loss of homosexuals from the military ranks.
This media campaign shows no sign of abating.
Send the enclosed cards or cards and letters of your own choosing to Larry DiRita, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Alan J. Bell of Freedom Communications, and Sig Gissler of the Pulitzer Prize Board.