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Comparing John Kerry to Neville Chamberlain is unfair to Neville Chamberlain.
Peter Townsend (the fighter pilot they didn’t let Princess Margaret marry) wrote in Duel of Eagles about the order of battle affecting Chamberlain’s policies; Donald Kagan supports this view in On the Origin of War.
The thought was that there was no effective defense against bomber aircraft (the slogan among defense planners was “the bomber will always get through”) and that bombers would lay waste to cities. Combined with Britain doing defense on the cheap in the '20s and '30s, the idea was that making a stand against Hitler in that state would be national suicide, and the motivation behind “peace in our time” and selling Czechoslovakia out to the Germans was to buy time rather than the wishful thinking regarding Hitler’s intentions many made it out to be.
As it turned out, a determined civilian population could be rallied to withstand bombing attack through measures such as shelters and a stoic determination to withstand casualties in wartime, and a fighter defense net, even if imperfect in blunting the onslaught of bombers, could through attrition impose serious costs on the attacker. But the Battle of Britain was a near thing that depended on completion of the Chain Home radar net, high-octane gasoline, some good decisions by Dowding and some bad decisions by Goering, and Churchill’s willingness to trade civilian casualties for the lives of fighter pilots and the protection of aircraft factories (the pilots being the “few” that the “many” owed so much to, but the many had to pay a price in blood to prevent the few from being utterly annihilated). Judging by the high casualty rate of fighter pilots in the Battle of France, Britain may not have been able to defend its homeland if it had taken a stand over Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain may go down in history as making a tragically wrong decision negotiating with Hitler, but the bad decisions were made years earlier when defense budgets were written on the expectation that Britain had years to rearm and when it looked away when Germany stopped fulfilling its treaty obligations from the last war. Chamberlain was acting in what he thought was Britain’s best interest given difficult circumstances.p>The problem with Mr. Kerry is that I don’t believe he thinks much about anything beyond promoting himself, and the sense of duty, service and reflective thought that guided British politicians, both the failed and successful leaders, is completely absent. Mr. Kerry’s appeal that we can fight the War on Terror on the cheap is not based on any calculus that America cannot afford the price of taking a stand — it is what Mr. Kerry thinks will get himself elected.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online