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September 2001


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William MacKay <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 25 Sep 2001 18:54:55 -0400
text/plain (24 lines)
Living in Lower Manhattan myself, I think that I can understand--and share
the intensity of the "Janeholzka" email about the World Trade Center bombing
and the Pearl Harbor attack. However, I fear that some of the distinctions
offered may overstate the differences. The Pearl Harbor attack wasn't just
an explicit act of war taken by one nation-state against another. It was a
surprise attack that preceded a real declaration of war. If its survivors
felt any less betrayed than survivors of the World Trade Center holocaust,
they certainly had a more refined sense of international law than I can
pretend to possess.  Historical accounts also make it clear that Honolulu
was targeted partly because it was an important symbol of a powerful

If "Comparing the WTC bombings to Pearl Harbor suggests that war is the
appropriate response," then reducing the response to "a crime investigation
and punishment of the transgressors" [the apprehension of the criminals
occurring presumably somewhere before the conjunction] suggests that its
perpetrators have been acting without nation-state protection and/or
tolerance, an assumption that runs counter to recent history and even
Taliban statements.

The poster and I agree that the mention of Pearl Harbor evokes the chilling
memory of internment of Japanese-American citizens. I hope that no one wants
to return to that part of our shared history.