Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle the Wagons

There’s a funny dynamic that occurs in a family. No matter how much you might fight with your brothers or sisters, no matter how many names you may call them in the midst of knock-down drag-out fights over time spent hogging the bathroom and whatnot something odd happens when someone from outside the family joins in. Its perfectly fine for me to call my sister a loud-mouthed blowhard but whoa be unto the poor soul from down the street who calls her a loud-mouthed blowhard. That’s my sister you’re talking about bud!! Something very similar happened to me this morning when I opened my online version of Der Spiegel.

I was treated to a charming interview with a German Political Scientist who was complaining about the “immature naiveté “ of the American celebrations at Times Square following the killing of Bin Laden. While its true that I have written on this very blog about my own ambivalence on this matter and my own son wrote quite poignantly of his own conflicts, there was something particularly galling about having to listen to this lecture from…a German. This professor went on and on about the unseemliness of American barbarism and our foolish and unnecessary provocation of the Muslim world. Really? A German feels the need to lecture us about barbarism? A German whose Grandfather was probably elbowing people out of the way 75 years ago so he could catch a glimpse of the Fuehrer. I don’t know that a citizen of a nation that plunged us all into World War twice in the last century is in any position to preach about barbarism. His nation gave us Adolph Hitler and the slaughter of 6 million jews. You want to talk about immature naiveté? Ok lets start with every segment of German society rolling over to accommodate the Nazi party in the 1930’s. I’m thinking that maybe there should be a 100 year gag rule on any country that invades all of its neighbors twice in 25 years prohibiting them from opening their pie-holds in criticism of any other country’s foreign policy. So to all German political scientists out there..um..shut up!

Then I moved on to Le Monde and heard all about the French being aghast at the jubilant displays of “American Triumphalism”. Ahh, the French. As irritating as the Germans can be, at least they give us spectacular beer and the finest cars in the world. From the French we just get haughty condescension and the croissant. I can just picture some Parisian sitting at a lovely café at noon beginning his 3 hour lunch break complaining about our triumphalism secure in the knowledge that thanks to Seal Team Six his chances of being blown to smithereens just dramatically declined. We Americans are constantly reminded of the superiority of French society with its bountiful safety net, fine food, and elegance. Wonderful. While our revolution produced the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and Thomas Jefferson, the French version 20 years later ushered in the Jacobin Reign of Terror that claimed the lives of upwards of 30000 Frenchmen, and introduced a new word into the world’s lexicon…the Guillotine. The supposedly superior French society has produced 57 Nobel Prize winners while we knuckle-dragging Americans have somehow managed to win 327. While our military has had to bail out the French twice in the recent past you would think our boys would get a bit more respect from our friends in Paris. Whenever I am confronted with French whining I think about that great Craig’s List add for the French Infantry rifle…”in mint condition, never been fired and only thrown to the ground twice!” Save me from pious hand wringing from a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who folded at the first whiff of diesel fuel from Hitler’s tanks, then formed the traitorous Vichy government to complete their total humiliation. No wonder they are so offended by military success.

So on this day I circle the wagons. That’s my country you’re talking about bud!!