Posted by: Lister | June 9, 2007

We will spin them on the beaches…

Fisk sometimes writes like Ronnie Corbet tells jokes — all over the place. This article is really about the comparison Bush and Blair make of the current war to WWII. He begins with talk of a French (Vichy) submarine sunk in the waters of Lebanon. Then he includes this memory:

At home, I have an album of Lebanese Second World War photographs which depict the choice made by the French army in Lebanon when told that they could either sail home to Vichy France or stay in the Middle East and fight for de Gaulle. Almost all chose to return to Marseilles and a two-page spread in my photographic book shows thousands of French troops sailing out of Beirut port with a huge French flag upon which are embroidered the words “Vive Pétain.”

Then gets to the point:

A few months ago, I had the delight of participating in the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, in which you can select eight records to bore – or entertain – the listener. One of my records was Winston Churchill’s address to the British people (hardly music, I acknowledge) in the spring of 1940. I chose it because I wanted to prove that Blair and Bush were no Winston Churchills.

“Hitler knows that he must break us in this island or lose the war,” Churchill began. What a wondrous feat of words. Bush would have said “defeat”. Blair would have said “beat”. But Churchill said “break”. If we stood up to Hitler, Churchill said, “all Europe may be free and the light of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.” Compare that to the “I am absolutely and totally convinced that I was right” of Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara when pontificating on Iraq.


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