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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

 
Neocon Ecstasy

Josh Marshall has some really interesting stuff up today, but this quote by looney tunes Michael Ledeen is just a pip:

I think it all depends how the war goes. And I think the level of causalities is secondary. It may sound like an odd thing to say. But all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people. And that we love war. And one of my favorite comments on American character, which is Patton's speech at the beginning of the movie, where he says "Americans love war. We love fighting. We've always fought. We enjoy it. We're good at it. And so forth." What we hate is not casualties but losing. And if the war goes well, and if the American public has the conviction that we're being well-led, and that our people are fighting well, and that we're winning, I don't think causalities are gonna be the issue.


I guess Patton is his idea of a great intellectual. And, for an AEI "freedom chair" scholor, you'd think this idiot would know that the speech he is referring to actually took place and it took place on a very auspicious day --- June 5th, 1944. (But yeah, the movie was like, cool too.) Patton was speaking to his men on the eve of the Normandy Invasion and he knew that huge numbers of them were going to die. So, what he was doing was pumping up the troops. Here's (more or less) what he is supposed to havesaid:

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."


Now, I don't know what other "scholors" Ledeen may have been referring to, although Tom Hanks made a good speech in "Saving Private Ryan" and John Wayne was positively riveting in the "Sands of Iwo Jima."

One thing is very, very clear. It's damned easy being a war loving American when you are a flabby middle-aged doughboy sitting behind a desk and talking the big talk. This really is one of those situations where the chickenhawk label is completely apt. Ledeen is still a little boy in a grown man's think tank. Had he proved his manhood in Vietnam instead of onanistically watching Patton and absorbing it as "reality," this country would be a safer place today.

What an utter embarrassment. He makes Newtie's silly military history book reviews sound like Sun Tzu.