Spectator’s Journal

Spectator's Journal

The Liberation of Paris — Three Score and Ten Years Ago

By 8.28.14

No doubt, Champagne corks were popping on the Champs Elysées this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from the prolonged four-year German occupation in World War II.

Despite repeated orders from Hitler that the French capital “must not fall into the enemy’s hand except lying in complete debris” to be accomplished by bombing it and blowing up its bridges, General Dietrich von Choltitz, as commander of the German garrison and military governor of Paris, surrendered on August 25, 1944, in a simple ceremony at the Hôtel Meurice, the newly established headquarters of French General Leclerc.

The liberation of France came at a tragically steep cost: 134,000 Americans were killed, wounded, missing, or captured; casualties among the British, Canadians, and Poles totaled 91,000. In half a million sorties flown during the summer, more than 4,000 planes were lost, evenly divided between the RAF and the U.S. Army Air Force. A total of 600,000 tons of Allied bombs were dropped on occupied France, the weight of 64 Eiffel Towers, resulting in the deaths of between 50,000 and 67,000 French civilians. The campaign was expensive indeed. 

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Panama 100 Years Later

By 3.19.14

Begin with one of the most famous (to some, infamous) quotations from a generation ago: California Republican Senator S. I. Hayakawa (served 1977-83) said during the election preceding the 1977 signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, “We should keep the Panama Canal. After all, we stole it fair and square.” Yet in 1978 the senator would help shepherd the treaty through the Senate and win ratification.

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Churchill Survives Chris Matthews

By 11.11.13

Liberal commentator Chris Matthews was the emcee at the closing banquet of the annual International Churchill Conference last weekend in Washington, D.C. Citing the dedication earlier in the week of a Winston Churchill bust in the U.S. Capitol, with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders presiding, Matthews hailed Churchill as a rare unifying figure in partisan Washington. Of course, Matthews being Matthews, he still inserted a gibe against the Tea Party.

Afterwards, Matthews’ loud voice could be heard in the hotel men’s room, where a dinner participant had confronted him about his Tea Party comment. Attentive men in tuxedos circled around to hear the confrontation in front of the lavatory sinks as Matthews defended himself. So indirectly, maybe Churchill still provokes controversy.

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Ted Cruz: ‘There is Another Way’

By 11.6.13

Senator Ted Cruz addressed the audience at The American Spectator 2013 Robert L. Bartley Gala on October 23. It was Cruz’s first major speech since the government shutdown ended, and his last speech before he hit the campaign trail in Iowa:

Here are some excerpts:

“Well, we’re at the end of the evening and I will tell you I will do my very best to try and keep my remarks under 21 hours, but you will know that I am nearing the end when I pull out and begin to read The Cat in the Hat. Look, 21 hours is a long time. It’s a really long time. I mean, it’s almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare website."

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Island Wisdom

By 9.20.13

Even from multi-lingual Curacao, it doesn’t look good for Democrats in 2014 and 2016.
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Beyond Palestine

By From the March 2013 issue

As Israel counted votes in its legislative election in January, your humble correspondent joined reporters at an election night event in Tel Aviv hosted by The Israel Project, where politicians and analysts from across the political spectrum either stopped by or (more often) called in to comment on the news. Among the most amusing was Tamar Zandberg of the far-left Meretz party, who urged the centrist and center-left parties to eschew a coalition with the right. She was only repeating a position her party had staked out in the campaign. But it rang especially hollow in light of the evening’s big news: Yesh Atid, a new centrist party founded by erstwhile journalist Yair Lapid, would hold the second largest number of seats in the Knesset after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, which had merged for this election onto a joint list with the secular nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Netanyahu will again lead a governing coalition, and while negotiations over its exact shape are ongoing at press time, there’s little doubt that Lapid’s party will join.

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Paradise Island

By 1.11.13

Sri Lanka sure can seem that way once you've explored it over a long stretch. A special winter vacation report.
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