'1941' Author Craig Shirley: Obama Doesn't Grasp America's Greatness

Wednesday, 07 Dec 2011 04:26 PM

By Martin Gould and Kathleen Walter

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President Barack Obama is intellectually incapable of understanding the concept of American exceptionalism and doesn’t have the inspirational qualities necessary in a great leader, conservative strategist Craig Shirley tells Newsmax.

Obama “was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, and he equated American exceptionalism with Greek exceptionalism, which most people would view as nonsense,” Shirley said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.

“This is a unique country,” added Shirley, whose new book, “December 1941” hits bookshelves today. “It’s unique because, as Reagan believed, America is a great country because America is a good country.

“Never in the history of the world has there been a country as selfless as America, as willing to do more and ask for less from the rest of the world.

“But President Obama does not understand that or appreciate that. His intellectual class rejects it because they see it somehow as anti-intellectual.”

Story continues below video.



Shirley said he agrees with historian Thomas Carlyle’s “Great Man Theory.”

“Essentially the question was, ‘Do the times produce the man, or does the man create the times?’ I happen to agree with Carlyle that the man creates the times.

“Only George Washington could have led America against George III. Only Abraham Lincoln could have appealed to the better angels of our nature and led us to reunify the country and to the new birth of freedom. Only Franklin Roosevelt could have led us against the Axis powers. Only Ronald Reagan could have led the fight — successfully — for the defeat of Soviet communism and the freeing of millions of people behind the Warsaw Pact.”

But for now, he said, that type of leadership has gone. “President Obama has not provided that inspirational leadership and, as a matter of fact, we haven’t had it since Ronald Reagan left in January 1989.

“Whether you agreed with him, or disagreed with him, he was still an inspirational leader. Whether you agreed with Franklin Roosevelt or disagreed with him, he was still an inspirational leader — and that is what’s missing in this country today.

Shirley’s book, which he subtitled “31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World,” deals with the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“It’s astonishing how quickly the country changes after the morning of Dec. 7 when the Japanese attack,” Shirley said. “The country immediately goes into what is essentially a lockdown.

“There are curfews imposed. There are blackouts imposed. The Office of Production Management tells Detroit, ‘You are not going to make any more cars for 1942; you are going to start making airplanes.’

“Rationing takes place, the War Powers Act granted through FDR are vast and expansive, far greater than was either given to Abraham Lincoln or Woodrow Wilson for their respective wars.

“He had the power to regulate all radio broadcasts, all radio properties of the United States through the Federal Communications Commission and the Office of the Navy. He had an indirect way to control all the newspapers in America and the country willingly went along. There was not really any objection whatsoever.”

The country was more united in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor than at any time in its history “including July 4, 1776, including the victory over the British in October 1781, including before, during and after the Civil War, including even after Sept. 11, 2001.”

“People were scared. They didn’t want war to come to America. World War I had left a very bitter taste in Americans’ mouth. They thought it was a war to make the world safe for democracy, only to see the rise of Adolf Hitler and . . . Mussolini and others around the world.

“People were . . . just so astonished that this attack had come and it was so audacious and there was a great fear of attacks coming in other parts of the country. There were rumors in the newspapers of planes about to bomb New York City, about to bomb Boston, about to bomb Los Angeles. Those were just rumors, but in fact Japanese submarines were operating all along the west coast in the days after Dec. 7, and American commercial and military vessels were fired upon, some were hit and some were sunk.”

People often forget that the Japanese didn’t attack only Pearl Harbor in December 1941 but also hit targets in Wake Island, Midway Island, Singapore, Malaya, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, Shirley said.

“It was one of the most astonishingly successful naval maneuvers in world history,” he said.

But the belief in American exceptionalism was so strong that people were convinced that the United States would win when it became involved in the war — and that victory shaped world history.

“After World War II, we were instrumental in the creation of the United Nations, it was created in San Francisco and put in New York City. We maintained a military presence around the world. We became the leading superpower against the forces of communism, something that might never have happened had we not been pulled kicking and screaming into the Second World War.

“We might never have joined NATO or might never have joined SEATO, we might never have had American military bases around the world. We might never have taken on the fight against Moscow and then later taken on the fight against Islamic terrorism had we not become an internationalist country and we only became an internationalist country after Dec. 7, 1941.

“So it changes everything. It changes the arc of history for America, for the American people and the world forever.”

Editor’s Note: To get Craig Shirley’s new book, “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World” at a great price at Amazon — Go Here Now.

To read an excerpt from the book, exclusively at Newsmax — Go Here Now.

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