Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Heirs hail Senate action
on Kimmel and Short

By Pete Pichaske
Phillips News Service


WASHINGTON -- The campaign to clear the names of Adm. Husband Kimmel and Army Gen. Walter Short, the two officers blamed for the 1941 Pearl Harbor disaster, still faces seemingly intractable opposition.

But the stunning success yesterday in the Senate, which voted 52-47 to exonerate the two and restore to them posthumously the ranks they held before the attack, went a long way toward pleasing supporters.

"I'm euphoric," said Edward "Ned" Kimmel of Wilmington, Del., the only surviving son of Adm. Kimmel and the leader of efforts to exonerate the two officers. "This is the first chink made in the armor of the U.S. government on this. I am very pleased and gratified."

"I want to see this go through to the end, but this is a huge step," said Walter D. Short of Colorado, Gen. Short's grandson.

Kimmel, Short and their heirs have argued for decades that the two men, the senior military officers in the Pacific when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, were scapegoats for the military blunders and miscalculations that failed to anticipate the attack.

That position has gained credence in recent years with the release of formerly classified information and the findings of several reports, including one by a top Pentagon official, that the blame should be shared.

But the road to official exoneration remains bumpy. The Senate action came in the form of an amendment to the defense spending bill, which must be accepted by the House.

Moreover, it must then be signed by President Clinton. The president has yet to take a public position.

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