Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
June 8, 2008 - June 1, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

A D-Day Coincidence?


RUSTY MEMORIES. This morning, the AP was reporting that a very real souvenir of the Second World War is attracting serious interest in the U.K., which has lately been doing an excellent job of papering over the lessons of that fracas.

LONDON -- Military engineers were working Friday to defuse a giant bomb from World War II that was discovered in east London during construction for the Olympic Games, but the work was not going as quickly as hoped, a military spokesman said.

Service on two nearby subway lines was suspended Friday as a precaution.

A team of Royal Engineers, from the British Army, had hoped to render the 2,200 pound bomb safe by 9 a.m Friday, but the operation was expected to continue into the afternoon, said spokesman Simon Saunders. He would not give details of the difficulty that delayed the work.

The bomb, which Metropolitan Police said was the largest found in London in three decades, was discovered Monday by construction workers preparing a site for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Saunders confirmed that at one point the bomb had started to tick but said engineers dealt with the problem. He said he could not recall when the ticking was noticed.

Thousands of bombs fell on east London during World War II and unexploded devices are found from time to time, particularly at construction sites.

With writers on both sides of the Atlantic exercising eagle-eyed hindsight about the unnecessary and even criminal nature of Churchill's War (or Roosevelt's, depending on the vector of your flapping), it might be educational if the Royal Engineers asked Pat Buchanan or Christopher Hitchens's brother Peter to comment on the fact "that at one point the bomb had started to tick..."

Believers in the new "blame the Allies first" argument summarize it thus, with the helpful additional context of why it's so convenient in contemporary political terms:

Buchanan cites such British notables as F.J.P. Veale, B.H. Liddell Hart and C.P. Snow to document that it was Winston Churchill who committed, in Veale's words, "the first deliberate breach of the fundamental rule of civilized warfare that hostilities must only be waged against the enemy combatant forces." It was Churchill, not Hitler, who first targeted civilian populations in World War II and caused the structure of civilized warfare to collapse in ruins.

The Americans quickly adopted Churchill's criminal policy of attacking civilians, culminating in the outrageous use of nuclear weapons against two Japanese cities, the slaughter of Vietnamese civilians, and the ongoing slaughter of Afghan and Iraqi civilians.

Slick, huh? Churchill would no doubt be surprised, at least slightly, to discover that he's responsible for imaginary atrocities committed close to a half century after his death. On the other hand, he was no stranger to the concept of being smeared by the high-toned sort of politician who excels at causing impossible moral dilemmas whose consequences he runs from like a frightened deer. Here's a reasonably factual account of how Churchill "first targeted civilian populations" in World War II:

The United Kingdom had a policy of using aerial bombing only against military targets and against infrastructure such as ports and railways which were of direct military importance. While it was acknowledged that the aerial bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic.[4] This policy was abandoned on May 15, 1940, two days after the German air attack on Rotterdam, when the RAF was given permission to attack targets in the Ruhr, including oil plants and other civilian industrial targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnaces that at night were self illuminating. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15 May - 16 May.[5]

Between 1939 and 1942 the policy of bombing only targets of direct military significance was gradually abandoned in favour of a policy of "area bombing" - the large-scale bombing of German cities in order to destroy housing and civilian infrastructure. Although killing German civilians was never explicitly adopted as a policy, it was obvious that area bombing must lead to large-scale civilian casualties.

There were a number of reasons for this policy change... [including]... The free use of indiscriminate bombing of cities by Germany - Warsaw in 1939, Rotterdam in 1940, Belgrade in 1941 and above all the bombing of British cities ("the Blitz") in 1940-41 - hardened British attitudes towards bombing Germany.

Now. Back to that "ticking" in the Year 2008. Yes, it's hard to believe that a nearly 70-year-old mechanical/chemical device could start ticking upon being disturbed, and perhaps (hopefully) it didn't. What's important is that ticking is something the Royal Engineers would be listening for. Why? Because during the Blitz, Germany didn't just drop bombs indiscriminately on residential sections of London that had no conceivable role in aiding the British "war effort." They also employed the cleverness of their munitions engineers to transform a certain percentage of their bombs into terror weapons.

These bombs were never intended to explode on impact. They were designed to explode later on, if moved or even touched by those who might be picking through the ruins of a bombed neighborhood. Some contained intricate timing devices that were set to begin ticking when disturbed and explode seconds or days after the fatal sequence had been set in motion. (The fun was in the not knowing when.) The fuses that governed these devices were also booby-trapped, so that those charged with rendering them safe would be routinely blown up in full sight of the women, children, and other civilians into whose homes and schools the bombs had fallen.

They were, in this respect, the first civilian-targeted IEDs. Although German 'improvisation' is probably more systematic and mass-produced than what we've seen from Iran and al qaeda Iraq.

Does bombing the German military-industrial complex in the Ruhr seem as "criminal" as this calculated effort to wreak as much physical and psychological damage as possible in the civilian population of London?

Well, sure. If your only use for history is to rewrite it as propaganda for your current political posturings. But if you're prepared to think about it in somewhat more depth, there was a Brit television series that explored these antique beginnings of modern terrorism in a typically (or what used to be) understated British fashion.

The show was called "Danger UXB." It followed not the exploits, but the ups and downs of a unit of Royal Engineers responsible for defusing the unexploded bombs that fell on London during the Blitz. They weren't volunteers. They were simply assigned based on some officer's read of their mechanical aptitude and, more importantly, lack of family ties.

It's rather a sad show in two different ways. First, major characters die with some regularity, almost matter-of-factly, in the same way that the Brits of the time endured the Blitz and suffered myriad privations, large and small, to win a monstrous war. Second, the show is a period piece, excruciatingly correct about the details of wartime life and things military and ironically (almost 30 years after its production) indicative in a score of ways that the Britain which survived the darkest days of the war to join us in the D-Day invasion no longer exists. Here's a taste:

The whole series is available on DVD and can be rented through Netflix. If you need show biz type credentials to give it a look, the star is Anthony Andrews, who became famous for his extraordinary performance in another Brit drama, Brideshead Revisited.

And there's also the MG. I think it's a TA, the precursor of the MGTC which helped inaugurate the sports car craze in America. It was slow as molasses but cooler than most anything on the road today.

Which seems a fitting way to wrap up this oblique memorial to what (almost) none of you remember about the Sixth of June, 1944. Except, maybe, for one last irony. Individual days of the Blitz were certainly worse than the 7/7 terror attack, and this old bomb is probably bigger than anything al qaeda set on that day. But when you've trampled on your own triumphant past to come up with acceptable excuses for quitting today, you wind up trading your future away. Running away from Iraq wasn't just a sorry episode in Brit history. It was the last episode in Brit history.

From now on it's about fashion, gossip, sex (fading), and death (regnant).

But today let us all remember that there were Brit beaches at Normandy as well as American beaches. And hope we won't miss them too much when it comes time to storm the next beaches alone.

P.S. In fairness, Buchanan deserves a second slap that even American liberals should be remembering on a day when all are delighted to condemn the flying of the biggest Confederate flag ever constructed. Destroying the enemy's ability to make war against you by decimating their industrial and agricultural productivity as well as their military was a strategic innovation of Union Generals Grant and Sherman in the American Civil War. Sherman's March to the Sea was the Ruhr-bombing of its day, and for Buchanan in particular to concoct a case against Churchill for it is hypocrisy of the grossest sort. By the same token, I'd be delighted to hear from "progressives" any defense they might offer of the human rights of southerners to pursue their war for slavery without having their slave-dependent plantations burned to the ground. But their customary silence on such moral quandaries will probably stand them in good stead this time. Pat will probably make that argument in his next book, The Unnecessariliness of the Civil War.

I tend to stand on the admittedly reactionary cliche of Mr. Sherman, who declared that war is hell. The same Sherman who knew that some wars have to be fought anyway because some outcomes are even worse than hell. Meaning you'd be willing to spend an eternity in hell yourself rather than be an accomplice in such outcomes. Slavery comes to mind in this context. And rape rooms. And fanatical enemies who interpret your attempts at reasoning with them as invitations to wanton murder.

But that's just me. I'm sure Pat -- and probably Peter, too -- have it all worked out differently. In their wisdom.

The Hillary-Obama Meeting

TMI. Everybody's so fired up about this, from the MSM to the rightwing talk radio hosts. So we paid off our sources big time and got you the actual footage. PLEASE don't express your gratitude in any way. Ever. We really really don't want to know any more about it.


UPDATE. Yeah, I know you find all this depressing and I'm supposed to make it better somehow, but McCain believes in five-buck-an-hour illegal labor to "do the jobs Americans won't do," like, say, picking oranges or, er, cotton, which is pretty much the same argument Jeff Davis had about the indispensability of slavery. Obama can't bring himself to disagree. McCain believes in the simplistically rigged computer models of Global Warming and its $45 TRILLION price tag, which doesn't even count the extinction of all human liberties forever. Obama thinks that's part of necessary change. And McCain has developed an old man's idee fixe about the inviolability of the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, which could give us 27 million gallons of gasoline a day and an absolutely KILLER campaign issue. Obama wants us to die on the vine, the way we deserve. But McCain's a damned old bastard who's too rigid to change his mind about anything, especially if it means pleasing evil, free-market conservatives. Obama thinks the mere idea of CHANGE is enough to solve all the problems of the world. While McCain wants us all to sign up for basic training. Rachel is sure it's dumber than f___ to resist the McCain imperative. I give up.

So all I can do is aim you at the bright shining light of right now. Here she is. On the subject of Clint Eastwood.

I always believed that's who he really was.*
I think it's called being a romantic. I still am.

Feel better? Funny. I kind of do. too. But I don't think it will last all the way to 3 am, which as everyone knows is the dark night of the soul. Still, I think it's going to work great till about bedtime.

That's when I'm going to start thinking about who exactly I'd face down if the nannies hadn't eliminated all poetic justice from the face of our poor poor planet.

* Yes. It was, by far, the longest movie gunfight in history. A seven-minute foregone conclusion. But it's possibly the only Hollywood gunfight that wasn't some kind of a political statement. The Man with No Name was open to all kinds of symbolism -- libertarian, anarchist, capitalist, marxist. But he was so archetypal that he subverted the fake ones and exemplified the valid ones. He became the, gasp, Man with No Allegiance. Which is quickly and easily reducible to the man who just doesn't want to be told what to do. Period.

It's an unwelcome idea anymore. That many of us might not be evil but still don't want to be told what to do.

That's why some of us climb on our motorcycles and howl.

But if you object, be content. No one will ever see this. All the well schooled conservatives have learned never to reference this blog again.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You Want Hillary
to quit. Don't you?

THE SCAPEGOAT. We just love America. And the Seventies too. We can't wait for the utter destruction of our country by Michelle Obama, the ultimate henpecker-in-chief. Funny that we never figured we'd be rooting for Hillary as a saner alternative. Now that's life in these United States.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

France is Done.

How soon will our 'progressives' exhume Marilyn Monroe
to burn her at the stake? For one damn reason or another.
Crimes against Green, or Feminism, or Trans-Racialism?

LOOK IT ALL UP, CHUMPS. There was once a nation called France, which believed that life was to be lived through all the senses even as they created some of the greatest works of architectural engineering and artistry in the world, in addition to their skeptical philosophies, mind-expanding conceptual painting, and deathlessly sensual poetry. We can still admire them for their gift of the Statue of Liberty; the western masterpice called Paris; the technological aspiration represented by the Eiffel Tower; the wineries of Champagne and Bordeaux; the precociously decadent music of Debussy, Satie, and Piaf; the scientific contributions of Pasteur, Lamarck, and Descartes; writers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Rimbaud, Moliere, Hugo, and Dumas; the mechanical esprit of Bugatti, Delahaye, and Turbo Lago; and the nudes of Degas, Renoir, Manet, Rodin, and French cinema.

Now it turns out that the thousand-year duel between French Catholic faith and cynical French ennui has finally been decided. Robespierre and Vichy trump Napoleon and de Gaulle. Foucault trumps Joan of Arc. The EU trumps Voltaire. And De Sade trumps Bastiat. What's left is grinding, defeatist, even enthusiastic submission to barbarism. A truly French icon is now to be offered up on the altar of cowardly sacrifice.

Former screen siren Bardot convicted in race case

Brigitte Bardot was convicted Tuesday of provoking discrimination and racial hatred for writing that Muslims are destroying France.

A Paris court also handed down a $23,325 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner. The court also ordered Bardot to pay $1,555 in damages to MRAP.

Bardot's lawyer, Francois-Xavier Kelidjian, said he would talk to her about the possibility of an appeal.

A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed a lawsuit last year over a letter she sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The remarks were published in her foundation's quarterly journal.

In the December 2006 letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot said France is "tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts."

Bardot, 73, was referring to the Muslim feast of Aid el-Kebir, celebrated by slaughtering sheep.

French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot had been convicted four times previously for inciting racial hatred.

"She is tired of this type of proceedings," he said. "She has the impression that people want to silence her. She will not be silenced in her defense of animal rights."

It's rare that the best case for a nation can be made without words, especially when that nation has produced some of the greatest users of words in recorded history. But here's a brief (very) sample. [To be added later if I still feel like it: IP readers who don't think graphics are 'silly' can register their votes in the comments. HINT: The Talbot Lago is the automotive equivalent of Bardot. Still, I'd hate to disturb the 7-minute frosting of hope Mal is living on these days.] And here's a look at the iconic woman France is now throwing under the bus along with its own heritage as a civilized nation.

"Il faut cultiver notre jardin." Sexy idea for Brigitte.
Inconvenient anti-Islamic truth for La France Perdue.

Put them all in haute-couture burkhas.

They'll all look the same then. Just like the rest of the European zombies.

P.S. I couldn't resist. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Talbot Lago.

And, what the hell, a Delahaye too.

How are the mighty fallen.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Obama Decides on a New Church

XOFF NEWS. After days of in-depth research, the Obama campaign has selected a new church affiliation for the candidate that is expected to boost his popularity in Democrat constituencies where he has been weak.

"We didn't want to depart too strongly from the kind of tradition Senator Obama has been used to -- a vigorous, enthusiastic, pentecostally joyous congregation whose devout beliefs reflect working class concerns and backgrounds," explained campaign spokesman George Axelrod. "At the same time we wanted to take the opportunity to do some outreach and create a new bond between the Senator and typical white people from embarrass--, uh, embattled states like Kentucky and West Virginia."

These criteria led to the choice of a Pentecostal Baptist Church in Jolo, West Virginia. In announcing his decision, the Senator said, "Michelle, the kids, and I are truly looking forward to next Sunday's service, and I feel sure that the majority of hard-working white Americans will soon see that whatever our religious differences may have been before, they are now a thing of the past. Jolo Baptist is probably exactly like the church next door to all of you who don't live in California, New England, or Chicago."

The tornadoes that struck large parts of the nation yesterday are believed to have been caused by a collective sigh of relief from the Democratic National Committee.

Here's a little more about Jolo.

If sanity is the measure, we're sure the Senator will feel right at home. Electorally, we'll just have to wait and see.

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