Just like what's happening now.
Tom Purcell September 18, 2014 6:51 am Text Size: A A A
Dec. 7, 1941: An aide enters the Oval Office with grim news for President Barack Obama. "Mr. President, the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor! We have sustained severe damage to our naval and military forces. More than 2,400 Americans are dead."
"Ah, phooey. I had a tee time set for this afternoon."
"Sir, the world is waiting for you to act. You need to make a statement."
"Make a statement? I donít even know why the Japanese attacked us. Did some nutty American circulate a film that was unflattering to the emperor?"
"Sir, this matter is very serious. The Japanese caught us by surprise. Their goal was to wipe out our naval fleet to prevent us from interfering with their plans to invade other countries."
"I wasnít going to interfere with anything. Everyone knows Iím a reluctant warrior. I donít start wars, I end them!"
"Sir, this was an act of warfare. We have no option now but to declare war on Japan."
"Whoa! Letís not jump the gun here. Are we even sure it was the Japanese? I think we should do a study first."
"Sir, you must project resolve and decisiveness to the world. You must show that America is strong ó that we didnít ask for this fight, but we will not shy from it."
"Nobodyís shying from anything. Iím just thinking we should establish a committee to debate this war thing before we do anything drastic."
"With all due respect, sir, the majority of Americans donít think you have been doing a very good job as commander in chief. They worry that you are disengaged, indecisive and that dictators do not fear you. After all, you do have a habit of not following through on threats you make to the worldís bad guys."
"How dare you question my leadership abilities? Did I not lead two well-run presidential campaigns? Did the American people not vote for me twice?"
"Sir, you need to move quickly. You need to work with the Congress to establish a formal declaration of war. You need to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to create a strategy that will lead us to victory."
"Victory? Look, all we have to do is make this Japanese thing more of a manageable problem. Iíll admonish them in a couple of speeches. I bet theyíll never attack us again."
"Sir, the world is a mess. Europe is in flames. The world is desperate for American leadership. If we are decisive and forceful, we will defeat Japan, Germany and Italy, the Axis powers."
"Hey, whoa! I got no beef with Germany and Italy. I thought it was just Japan we were trying to make a manageable problem?"
"Sir, it is just a matter of time before Germany declares war on us. There is no turning back now. We must be in it to win it."
"I think we better sit tight and see how this war thing develops. Maybe Germany will forget to declare war on us."
"Sir, Germany, Japan and Italy are run by some very bad characters. If these men sniff a hint of weakness or hesitation in you, they will be emboldened. You must show them fortitude, sir. You must make it clear that they will be crushed by Americaís might."
"Canít I just make a show of force?"
"Sir, as commander in chief of our armed forces, you must take all measures to defend the country. You must make it clear to everyone that no matter how long it takes to resolve the great challenge before us, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory."
"All right, all right. Iíll give a speech with some forceful words in it. Do you think it would look bad if I kept my tee time?"
©2014 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.