That Whole Rigamarole

Friday, August 30, 2002

Via Ranting Screeds John Keegan (I know him as the author of The Face of Battle) writes in the Telegraph about President Bush and Winston Churchill. The passage from a 1938 Churchill speech could have been written this week.

When - it is not a question of if - Saddam acquires nuclear weapons, the moment when he could be crushed without risk to his opponents, or of provoking a wider war, or of truly destabilising the Middle East, will be gone. At the moment Saddam could be toppled quickly, cheaply and without difficulty. The moment will not last.

Churchill would see the opportunity and, if in power, would grasp it. He would ignore the timidity of yesterday's men and strike. He would avoid by any means the need to make the speech that he was impelled to deliver to the Commons after Munich in 1938: "Do not suppose that this is the end. It is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first taste of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."


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