"Do not, I beg you, be troubled by forces already dissolved. You have mistaken the hour of the night. It is already morning." (Hilaire Belloc)
Saturday, January 2, 2016
The Not-so-Great War still haunts us
The Churchill Legend
by Patrick Foy
Last week a Palm Beach friend, a country club Republican, gave me a copy of the Weekly Standard. She urged me to read “A World in Crisis, what the thirties tell us about today” by its opinion editor, Matthew Continetti. The predicate of this overly long article seems to be that the fate of the universe hinged upon a little-known traffic accident involving Winston Churchill on the upper east side of Manhattan in the early 1930’s. Unlike a Thomas Hardy novel, in this instance a chance mishap worked out for the best. Or so Continetti would have the reader assume.
Churchill was crossing Fifth Avenue at 76th Street in the late evening of December 13th, 1931 on his way to Bernard Baruch’s apartment for a pow-wow, when he looked the wrong way, crossed against the light, and was sideswiped by a car going 30 mph. The hapless statesman spent over a week in Lenox Hill hospital recovering from a sprained shoulder, some facial lacerations, and a mild concussion, all of which required a doctor’s prescription for “alcoholic spirits especially at meal times.”
Mr. Continetti mentions “the granularity of history”, whatever that means. “…If the car had been traveling just a little bit faster, the history of the twentieth century would have been irrevocably altered.” True enough, but for the better or the worse? That is the question.
Being a patriotic, informed and self-respecting American, I would normally not be caught in the same room with the Weekly Standard, anymore than I would waste time reading National Review online or be a subscriber to Commentary Magazine. All of them are members of the same Neocon, faux conservative fraternity, which hijacked Washington, starting with H.W. Bush, in the aftermath of the Cold War and demolished any hope of a “peace dividend”. The Neocons and their dupes have been beating the drums for U.S. “exceptionalism” and for global military confrontation ever since.
In varying degrees, Washington’s elected and unelected officials of every stripe and hue–from Bubba Bill Clinton and Madeleine “it’s worth it” Albright to G.W. “Charlie McCarthy” Bush and Dick “Edgar Bergen” Cheney to Drone Attack Obama and Hillary The Obliterator–all have danced to that same annoying drumbeat. In terms of career advancement, it has indeed been worth it for them. For the country, on the other hand, the results have been disastrous. These include inter alia the predictable 9/11 terrorist blowback from Arab nationalist/religious fanatics, and the ruinous, dead-end, unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.