US has unlearned the lessons of Pearl Harbor

Eighty years ago, the world changed forever. In the early hours of December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes launched from the decks of a fleet of Japanese Imperial Navy aircraft carriers that had surreptitiously departed Japan months before navigated a circuitous route across the North Pacific Ocean, toward the US Navy and Army Air Corps facilities on the Hawaiian Islands.

Their mission was to destroy America’s military presence in the Pacific Ocean. It was a daring plan that very nearly succeeded. 

As the great historian Roberta Wohlstetter assessed in her review of the Pearl Harbor attack, US intelligence was aware of the rising threat toward the Americans in the Pacific posed by Japan. Yet the intelligence mosaic was never properly pieced together by policymakers in Washington, DC.

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