Saturday, April 24, 2004

Then as Now...

In a recent speech, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz closed with these remarks from Winston Churchill's diary:

"I knew the United States now was in the war up to the neck. So we have won after all," Churchill said, four years before the war actually ended. And he went on to talk about "silly people here in England [not just in Germany or in enemy countries] who," in his words, "discounted the force of the United States.

"Some said the Americans were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They couldn't stand the bloodletting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections, these people were saying, would paralyze the American war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now," these people said, "we would see the weakness of this numerous, remote, wealthy, and talkative people."

"But," Churchill said, "I had studied the American Civil War fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey [the British Foreign Minister] had made to me more than 30 years before" as the United States entered the First World War. Grey had said "that the United States is like 'a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate.'"

Wolfowitz concluded his speech with a fitting imprecation:
May God bless the heroes of our armed services who serve our country so nobly and so well. And may God bless this wonderful country.