Purported facts

To the Editor:

In the Dec. 11 Islander guest column, “A Long Trail of Falsehoods,” Dick Atlee has given us much to think about. Revisionist history can work both ways. In “Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor,” we have another attractive conspiracy theory.

Certainly, one could cite numerous incidents of misleading statements and lies issued by leaders, but lumping Pearl Harbor in with other supposed efforts by the U.S. government to lead us to war for the benefit of the military-industrial complex does not in itself support claims made by the book’s author, Robert Stinnet.

It would be better to simply examine the evidence for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s complicity in deliberately sacrificing lives at Pearl Harbor for the “greater good” in order to override the general mood of isolationism that was present in much of the U.S. population so that he could garner national support to defeat Japanese ambitions in the Pacific theater.

Any open-minded person would seek information from a variety of sources and arrive at an informed opinion if all the facts were not available, and it’s likely that they are not. And it is fair to note that even if a large majority of people do not believe in a conspiracy theory, that does not mean it cannot be true.

I suggest that people start by checking other references, perhaps using Wikipedia as a starting point and then digging further. The most untenable arguments that Stinnett presents are due to a paucity of hard evidence, over-extended generalizations and the classical problem that haunts so many conspiracy theories: that many hundreds of people would have had to cooperate flawlessly during turbulent times and remain quiet for decades if not to their graves.

Atlee is no stranger to conspiracy theories in that he strongly supported the conclusions of the video production “9/11: Explosive Evidence – The Experts Speak Out” in a previous submission which was replete with problems that I noted in a reply to the paper in Oct. 2013. “Long Trail of Falsehoods” further supports the conclusion that we all have a responsibility to exercise critical thinking in our everyday lives before being swayed by opinions and purported “facts,” especially when they are based on limited sources.

Bruce Hazam

Bar Harbor

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