Monday, December 7, 2015, I went to The New York Times online with history on my mind. With anticipation I clicked on the video of President Obama’s Sunday address to the nation regarding the December 2 violence in San Bernardino. I thought the President would refer to another infamous day in the history of this nation. He did not make the reference I expected. A bit disoriented, I searched beyond the article. Finally in the “On this day” closing of the edition I found a brief entry:
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the home base of the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, drawing the United States into World War II. More than 2,300 Americans were killed.
Am I just an anachronism, thinking back to times long past that are today irrelevant? I can not help but believe that if we do not know our history we do not know ourselves. And if we believe that ISIS/ISIL is just a group of “thugs” as President Obama states, I suggest we do not know our enemy.
Know your opponent, know yourself, no peril in a hundred battles. Not knowing your opponent but knowing yourself, win one lose one. Not knowing yourself, not knowing your opponent, every battle must be lost. (Sun Tzu, The Art of War, last sentence of Chapter 3, author’s adaptation)
If you can spare 4 minutes and 47 seconds, you may see something worth seeing.