Crackbrain McCain Plays Churchill Card - Part I
Monday, March 24, 2008 11:32 AM
It would, of course, be folly to take at face value anything said by any of the three U.S. Presidential contenders still in the ring. True to the disgraceful, modern-day record of U.S. Presidential campaigns, the contestants are going to say whatever it takes to get elected, based upon the advice of their media and polling experts. Most of it is silly and stupid anyway. The exceptions to this rule are few. Besides, once elected, a President must deal with reality, not campaign rhetoric. So that means what is being said is largely irrelevant, in addition to being silly and stupid.
It would be just as foolish to pay attention to the party platforms. In point of fact, nobody does. As soon as they are written and both conventions are over, the Democratic and Republican party platforms are relegated to the wastepaper basket, where they belong. These documents are so much make-believe, detached from the conundrum of governing the now hopeless free-for-all which is the successor to the north American Republic of 1789.
The only decent and intellectually honest candidate for the 2008 Presidency, the Republican congressman, Dr. Ron Paul, spoke often and glowingly during his upstart campaign about the U.S. Constitution, as if it were still extant. That was misleading. Dr. Paul may not fully appreciate the fact that the Constitution was rendered null and void by the War Between the States (aka the War of Northern Aggression or the Civil War) less than 75 years after the founding of the Republic.
It is a mistake to think that America is living under the framework of its original constitution, when obviously this is not the case. The circumstances where half the country was invaded, pillaged and subjugated by the other half indicates that the constitution binding the country together has been thrown out the window. Armed force by a group of states against another group of states is not an exercise in self-government or the rule of law. It signals an internal, systemic breakdown.
On top of a full-scale and extremely bloody civil war in the 19th century, the U.S. Presidency has transmogrified in the interim--most dramatically in the 20th century starting with World War I--into an imperial presidency, a circumstance we know for sure to be at odds with the expressed intent of the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution. They would regard the current system and its operation as lunacy, pure and simple.
At present, in the 21st century, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have been reduced to nullities, while the U.S. Supreme Court pretends to be interpreting a constitution written in the late 18th century, which document exists in name only. Nobody, especially not the happy-go-lucky nincompoop who is nominal POTUS 43, pays any attention to the Constitution, except when trying to subvert and distort the document further.
At bottom, the governance of the United States is a charade. The script for America is being improvised along the way. All the sound and fury coming from the Democrats, the Republicans, the left and the right, the liberals and the libertarians, the conservatives and the so-called “neoconservatives”, adds up to so much hot air. Politics is passé and a bore, in addition to being a pack of lies, as noted in a previous missive.
The foregoing observations aside, what the presidential candidates proclaim and posture is significant, and not devoid of meaning, no matter how mendacious or nonsensical. The multiple campaigns constitute an entertainment, to which we are entitled. Indeed, we deserve and have paid for it.
In this regard, John McCain's television commercial, prepared shortly after clinching the Republican nomination, is alarming, preposterous, priceless, and downright laughable. The commercial compares McCain to Winston Churchill. It is a sign of things to come, while looking backward at what we have just experienced in the over-the-top, inexcusable Administration of Cheney-Bush. In effect, a vote for McCain is a vote for more of the same.
McCain is the anointed candidate of the “neoconservatives”-- now that Rudy Giuliani has imploded. It is the “neocons” who led the White House charge into the Iraq quagmire and who want to bomb Iran yesterday. They are still in charge, because Cheney and Bush have not been incarcerated for malfeasance and war crimes. As imperial co-presidents, they are immune.
Churchill is a “neocon” saint, thanks in large part to his successful effort, in a conspiracy with Franklin D. Roosevelt, to drag Uncle Sam and the resources of the United States into a European fratricidal conflict called World War II, on the side of John Bull and Joe Stalin. That war bankrupted England and destroyed the British Empire, communized half of Europe, and reduced the other half to rubble and misery.
For these outstanding achievements, the mountebank Churchill is a saint--and not just for the “neocons” but for the vast, vast majority of all those sharing the received wisdom of establishment history, including the professional politician, Senator McCain. Like everyone else trying to get elected to something, McCain must pander to popular misconceptions and ignorance, including his own. If he didn’t, he would have been out of a job long ago.
Hence, the commercial. Senator McCain is honest enough to admit that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, having graduated near the very bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. Hence, the commercial. His outlook is predicated upon embracing in toto the “clash of civilizations” bilge of Cheney-Bush and their “neocon” brain trust, fronting for the Israel Lobby and the Likud agenda. America has greatly accelerated its ongoing self-destruction under Cheney-Bush, thanks to swallowing that bilge and following that agenda.
At first, the “clash of civilizations” strategy by McCain would appear to be unwise, in view of the harm already inflicted upon a complacent America in the senseless Iraq conflict. But that would be confusing foreign policy with a campaign strategy. We are talking here about a 2008 American presidential campaign strategy, not the criminal “neocon” foreign policy of Cheney-Bush. That foreign policy commenced in January, 2001--ten months prior to 9/11--and was brought front and center after 9/11, and continues to this day, most notably in the plans to attack Iran.
With respect to domestic politics, evidently all it takes to succeed in Washington is to scare, mislead and lie long and hard enough. This political strategy has worked like a charm for Cheney-Bush since day one. Why change a winning strategy? It is Karl Rove's “patriotism card” all over again. My educated guess is that the “Turd Blossom” Rove suggested the Churchill gambit. The simple-minded McCain can understand it, and so will the American electorate.
The premise of the commercial is that America is in a life-and-death struggle, like England supposedly faced under Prime Minister Churchill during World War II. Accordingly, we require a cosmic leader of Churchillian proportions to save us from the present danger. Maybe on that cartoon level, the commercial succeeds. I’m not saying it doesn’t. Most campaign commercials in the United States are inherently dishonest, but also effective.
Leave aside the Senator’s bad taste in gratuitously comparing himself to a national leader of such titanic dimensions in the popular mind as Sir Winston Churchill. The fact that Churchill was an irresponsible blowhard, an amazing drunk, a liar, an impostor, a wheeler-dealer, and just dead wrong most of the time in his long public and private career when it came to England's best interests, is beside the point. Most informed and responsible observers, including those in academia, are oblivious to Churchill's “dark side”, and have bought the Churchill legend lock, stock and barrel.
Which brings me to the book, The Churchill Legend, written by the Englishman Francis Neilson, and privately published in America in 1954. It is not even listed on Amazon.com. I knew it was a rare book, long out of print, but not even to be listed is a surprise. Surely there must be a copy in the Library of Congress, the NY Public Library main branch, and at Harvard and Yale. My own copy might be worth a small fortune, if it were not so terribly underlined and marked up.
As noted in the link to Churchill in my “Primum Non Nocere” of last month, Neilson claimed to have known Churchill longer than anyone alive, starting in 1906. He told this to war correspondent Reginald William Thompson, author of Winston Churchill, the Yankee Marborough (1963).
Francis Neilson was born in England in 1867. At the age of 18 he traveled to America, where he started work as a longshoreman in Manhattan and as a day laborer in Central Park. Later back in England, he joined the Liberal Party and became a member of Parliament in 1910, where he remained until 1915, when he resigned in protest to England's participation in the Great War. He left England for New York. He became a U.S. citizen in 1921.
His first book, How Diplomats Make War, may have been his most successful. It was published anonymously six weeks after he resigned from Parliament, in November 1915. It can still be found on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website. The two reviews of the book on Amazon.com are well worth reading.
Says reviewer #1, in part: “Neilson wrote a readable account based on documents, not textbook and newspaper nonsense, and he was in a position to know as a Member of the British Parliament. Readers will find this book well written and sane. This reviewer strongly recommends this book.”
Says reviewer #2, in part: “In this great book, Francis Neilson, former member of the British Parliament, totally demolishes all the propaganda myths about the origins and outbreak of WWI. It is particularly good at destroying the ‘naval rivalry’ myths such as put forth by Robert Massie in his book ‘Dreadnought’. Neilson reveals that it was the British who started the rivalry and were the driving force behind it, not the Germans as we are always told. The increases in the German Navy was nothing more than a reaction to the British naval expansion and the Entente efforts to surround and isolate Germany. Neilson also exposes the myth of Belgian neutrality as the reason for England entering the war. We need more books like this and fewer of the Massie type propaganda/history books. This is a great book for anyone interested in this period of history.”
Another period of history which anyone might be interested in is World War II. It was a direct result of World War I and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Therefore, How Diplomats Make War is still relevant. What did Francis Neilson have specifically to say about that second conflict? He sat down and wrote an astonishing document in five fat volumes entitled The Tragedy of Europe, which is a day-by-day diary of the Second World War, starting on Friday, September 1st, 1939 and ending on August 30th, 1945. I cannot claim to have read every word of The Tragedy of Europe, but I can say that what I have read has forever changed the way I look at modern times...
--Copyright 2008 Patrick Foy--