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Roberta Wohlstetter Quotes
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It is hard to keep in mind that there were many plausible alternative hypotheses that might have explained this set of signals. Most of the partisan reviews of the Pearl Harbor material forget these alternative explanations.
If the study of Pearl Harbor has anything to offer for the future, it is this," Mrs. Wohlstetter wrote in her book: "We have to accept the fact of uncertainty and live with it. No magic, in code or otherwise, will provide certainty.
What does Pearl Harbor tell us about the possibility of a surprise attack today, with possible consequences of an even greater and perhaps more fatal magnitude?
In conditions of great uncertainty people tend to predict the events that they want to happen actually will happen.
After the event, of course, a signal is always crystal clear; we can now see what disaster it was signaling since the disaster has occurred. Before the event, it is obscure and pregnant with conflicting meanings.
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Christ shared our experience; he suffered as we suffer; he died as we shall die, and for forty days in the desert he underwent the struggle between good and evil.
August 22, 1912
January 6, 2007
Roberta Mary Morgan, better known by her married name of Roberta Wohlstetter, was one of America's most important historians of military intelligence. Her most influential work is Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision.
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