[added on March 12, 2011]

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The Yamamoto Method
  • requires reason(s) or excuse(s) to declare war;
  • kill the target with military might

Isoroku Yamamoto 山本五十六 (4 April 188418 April 1943) was the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Combined Fleet (聯合艦隊) during World War II. After the U.S. Congress passed the Two-Ocean Navy Act on 19 July 1940, Japan knew that war with America was inevitable. The Japanese High Command ordered Yamamoto to draw up plans to defeat the U.S. Yamamoto had lived and been educated in America. Given the disparity in strategic strength, he knew that Japan cannot defeat the U.S. The best that Japan could do is to deliver a fatal military blow to paralyze the Americans in the Pacific, demoralize their will to fight and compel them to sue for peace.

With this notion in mind, Yamamoto masterminded the Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December 1941. Delay in delivering the ultimatum to the U.S. State Department had turned the meticulously planned surprise attack to a sneak attack, fueling the Americans with rage and passion to seek revenge. Although the attack was a tactical success, Yamamoto failed to destroy the three American carriers in the Pacific. To protect his ships against air strike from the intact American carriers, Admiral Chūichi Nagumo (南雲 忠一) withdrew before launching the third wave attack to destroy the docks and oil storage facilities. Pearl Harbor became functional again within months after the attack. Many of the damaged warships were repaired to combat ready state in the docks. Yamamoto's strategic objective to force the U.S. to sue for peace had not been accomplished.

Politically, the attack had awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve to seek total victory. At Winston Churchill's great relief, Yamamoto brought the United Sates into the war, an outcome Churchill had sought without success since war broke out in Poland in September 1939. At this time, Churchill was contended that England was saved. America's entry to the war had permanently changed the balance of power against the Axis.

As Yamamoto correctly predicted, the Japanese ran wild and won victory upon victory in the Pacific against the Allied in the next six months after the Pearl Harbor attack. The tide turned against the Japanese after the Battle of Midway. To boost morale after the defeat at Guadalcanal, Yamamoto made an inspection tour throughout the South Pacific. On 14 April 1943, the U.S. naval intelligence effort, codenamed "Magic", intercepted and decrypted a coded message containing specific details regarding Yamamoto's tour, including his itinerary. Yamamoto's subordinate officer had pleaded him not to take the risk as his route was within range of American fighters, assuming that the Japanese encrypted code had been compromised. But Yamamoto insisted on his one-day tour. He assured his officers that he will return for dinner the same day.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz immediately relayed the information to President Roosevelt and proposed to kill Yamamoto en route. Roosevelt was having breakfast in Washington D.C. when the news arrived. Without a second thought, he approved Nimitz's proposal and ordered him to proceed.

A squadron of 16 P-38G Lightning aircraft were assigned to intercept the most hated Japanese naval commander. Accordingly, the codename for this top secret operation was "Vengeance". In the morning of 18 April, 1943, First Lieutenant Rex T. Barber opened fire on Yamamoto's plane. He targeted the aircraft with gunfire until it began to spew smoke from its left engine. Barber turned away to attack the other transport as Yamamoto's plane crashed into the jungle. The crash site and body of Yamamoto were found the next day in the jungle by a Japanese search and rescue party.


To maintain secrecy of reading Japanese coded messages, all orders surrounding Operation Vengeance must not duplicated and must be destroyed after being read. This operation is one of the most expertly-executed missions in history. Should he be a worst scenario planner, Yamamoto would have avoided this disaster. But this Japanese commander was a born gambler. This cost his life and delivered a serious blow to Japanese moral.

In 1949, fate had satirically brought Mr. Barber to meet Yamamoto's widow, Reiko Mihashi, in Japan. Unknown to Reiko Mihashi that Barber was the airman who killed her husband, she thanked Barber and the American government for helping to rebuild Japan after the war. Be mindful that details of Operation Vengeance remained classified until 1960.

The beauty of this method is killing the target becomes a legitimate objective and people in power can use all resources of a nation without any restriction.

Saddam Hussein (28 April 1937 30 December 2006) died in a similar way. Prior to the First Gulf War (2 August 1990 28 February 1991), Iraq was a friend of America. The Americans had supported Iraq in the 8-year long Iraq-Iran War. The grudge began after Saddam invaded his oil-rich neighbor Kuwait and annexed the country. After liberating Kuwait, Saddam remained in power and had plotted to kill former American President George Bush.

In 2001, George Walker Bush became president. The 911 attack had given the American president the political opportunity he needs to run wild. Although there is no linkage that Iraq was involved in the attack, Saddam Hussein openly celebrated the success of the 911 attack. Furthermore, his continuous threat to kill the old former president George H.W. Bush had outraged the President. During a campaign speech in September 2002, Bush cited a number of reasons in addition to alleged terrorist links and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) about why Saddam was so dangerous to the U.S., noting, in particular that, "After all, this is the guy who tired to kill my dad." He was referring to an alleged plot by Iraqi intelligence to assassinate Bush's father during his triumphal visit to Kuwait in April, 1993, 25 months after U.S.-led forces chased Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War and three months after Bush Sr. surrendered the White House to Bill Clinton.

Under the pretext of ridding WMD, American and British troops started the Second Gulf War in March 2003. Unlike the First Gulf War, the Coalition's objective is to invade, occupy and overthrow Saddam's government. Three weeks after the beginning of the invasion, US-led Coalition forces moved into Baghdad. Saddam ran hiding. Iraqi troops soon ceased to be an organized fighting force after its command structure disintegrated. On July 22, 2003 during a raid by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and men from Task Force 20, Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay, and one of his grandsons were killed in a three-hour gunfight.

On 13 December, 2003, Saddam was captured at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit with some small firearms and over $700,000 U.S. dollars in cash. The Iraqi dictator lacked the courage to commit suicide. On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein and other senior Baathist leaders were handed over legally (but not physically) to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences. On 5 November 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam's half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed but subsequently affirmed by Iraq's Supreme Court of Appeals. On 30 December 2006, Saddam was hanged. He was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, about 2 miles from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein next day.

After an extensive search, Coalition troops found no WMD in Iraq. This is an embarrassment to the Bush administration and casts serious doubt on the integrity of military intelligence and the merit of the war. Despite whether or not Bush started the war to protect or to avenge his father, it is certain that Iraqi oil fields are now in American hands. Incidentally, the Bush family is from Texas and has substantial connections with oil businesses. Occupying Iraq will blockade al-Qaeda expansion in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Strategically, stationing troops in Iraq provides forward position to deal with threats from Iran and the perceived expansion of China. Domestically, the oil and the weapon industry are pleased as the war has generated many business opportunities.

One indictment against Saddam was crimes against humanity including enforced disappearance of persons. It is thought simulating to remark that state-sponsored child removal amounts to a systematic attack directed against a civilian population, with knowledge of the attack resulting in enforced disappearance of persons and other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. Legalizing such hideous acts by way of "child protection" related statute does not change the nature of these acts one bit.

Nancy Schaefer

[This page was separated from the "Nancy Schaefer" page on 20 April 2010, last revised on 25 March 2011.]