Sunday, March 15, 2009

Military and Political Consequence

It’s a beautiful crisp March day, no cloud, no wind, ideal for a walk to the ATM machine and lunch outside. It’s that sort of a day when it’s a joy to be alive.

I continue reading the Bryant/Brooke book. Pearl Harbour has just happened. Hopkins and Marshall have flown over to discuss a 1943 landing in France. Brooke is asking Marshall what plans he has after landing. Do they go east, south or west? Marshall had no idea. The Americans, as did Churchill, wanted to make a political gesture to the Russians. Brooke believed a premature attempt would be a disaster. His viewpoint prevailed.

It reminds me - in the scale of things, trivia - of a Copenhagen conversation I had. In 2002 Anne and I stayed with friends in Berlin. We had planned to go to Dresden and Prague but there had been heavy flooding so we changed and went north to Copenhagen and Lubeck. We’d spent a morning in the fascinating Danish musuem and were having lunch in the cafetaria. An American couple asked if they could join us. He worked in naval administration. About his third sentence was, ‘how long will it take to knock that bastard Saddam Hussein off his perch?’ I said, ‘that’s not the question. What will happen when you’ve done that?’ We had a ding-dong debate. The women-folk quickly left us to explore the museum shop. He seemed to have a frightening unawareness of the concept of consequence.

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