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On pre-emptive war

The following is a conversation taken from a forum to which I belong: the names have been excluded, but even a novice googler can probably figure out from whence it came.


Originally Posted by ………. View Post
No.I believe what he’s suggesting is a proactive defense.Let’s use Pearl Harbor as an example again.

Our intel has cracked the Japanese code and sensing a possible attack has deployed submarines and scout aircraft. However, in this scenario, by a stoke of luck, a submarine manages to see the Japanese fleet on December 4th, 1941. He tails them for a day and has no doubt they are headed to Pearl Harbor. He breaks contact so that he can surface and send a coded message to Pearl Harbor warning of the attack.

The US commander dispatches several submarines in a “wolf pack” to intercept the Japanese. He also has all bombers loaded with 500 lb bombs and ready to launch as soon as the Japanese are within range. He contacts the US carriers and gives them a likely rendezvous location to attack the Japanese from.

On the morning of December 7th, at 4:30 AM, the B-18 bombers take off from Oahu on the heading the submarines have given for the Japanese fleet, so as to arrive at first light.

The bombers arrive overhead at 5:45 AM and drop their bombs, concentrating on the carriers, while the Japanese are still preparing to launch their first wave. At the same time, the submarines also concentrate on the carriers.

In this first attack, all 6 carriers receive sufficient damage to prevent launching aircraft.

The next wave is en route from Oahu and consists of dive bombers and torpedo attack planes. It arrives at 7 AM. In this attack, 2 carriers are sunk and 1 crippled so badly it is dead in the water. During this attack, the planes from the Enterprise arrive and finish off the rest of the carriers.

Since the crews of the Fleet were on their ships and ready for action and the boilers were already up to pressure, the fleet sails from Pearl Harbor upon word of the bomber attack on the Japanese and engages the Japanese by mid-afternoon

After this attack the few remaining ships and submarines of the Japanese fleet makes a run for Japan. However, the Lexington is steaming to intercept them after being recalled from Midway. In the ensuing attack, the remainder of the Japanese fleet is ravaged since they have no air cover and the Lexington makes several successful sorties against the them.

By the time Lexington breaks off it’s attack, all but a handful of Japanese subs are sunk.

Due to the preemptive attack by the US, Pearl Harbor is never actually attacked and the American casualties were numbered in the low hundreds, rather than the thousands.

The Imperial Japanese Navy is completely demoralized, the Japanese land forces are left without adequate supply, and the US forces, with the only carrier fleet in the Pacific, destroy any supply and troop ships in the southern Pacific before they can resupply or reinforce islands like Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Wake Island is quickly retaken.

The bomb is never dropped on Japan, but the US fleet has a total blockade of the Japanese Islands and are attacking with massive firebomb attacks that accomplish the same thing. Total Japanese surrender. However, the Pacific campaign is ended in early 1944 rather than August of 1945.

This is what can be accomplished with a preemptive strike against a known enemy. (who was literally about to pull the trigger, not who hadn’t even found his gun yet, much less left his house to get to yours.)

Some words from Sun Tzu.

Chapter VIII – 11. The art of war teaches us to not rely on the chance that the enemy will not come, but on our own preparations to receive him; not on the chance of an enemy not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

GSH, your entire article is still premised under the fact that we were under a no-BS attack from another nation, not some supposed would-be could-be possibly having the remaining capability to refine nuclear material in weapons grade form at some time in the indescernible future and then perhaps sell or give to some other third party to make an untraceable attack on any given target.

Your Situation: We had a good defense, so we beat off the attack before we were harmed.

Our (national) situation now: We attack them first, without other real provocation, much less a fleet fifty miles off our coast, in order to stave off some unforeseen and vague possible future attack.

You have to see the logical differences between the two. PROACTIVE DEFENSE I understand, when DEFENSE is the key word. PROACTIVE in any other form is simply ATTACK with a different nomenclature.


I bolded some of the parts which highlight arguments made by myself (and many others here) as obvious proof that you seem to want the same thing we do, but somehow cannot fathom our desire to NOT invade everyone else on even “great” intelligence (like we did IRAQ.)


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