Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan

Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan have an excellent editorial in the issue of the Weekly Standard out this morning. The editorial makes the case for the clarifying effect of the emergence of the Axis of Weasels: “Merci, M. de Villepin.” Claire Berlinski has an equally fine article that constitutes a kind of companion piece to the editorial: “Mrs. Euro’s Mideast Adventure.”
The bottom-of-the barrel lying, cowardice, rapacity, and treachery put so prominently on display by the Axis of Weasels has once again reminded me of an unforgettable passage from Stephen Ambrose’s marvelous book, Band of Brothers. Ambrose’s book provides a memorable account, as the book’s subtitle concisely has it, of “E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, from Normandy to Hitler’s Eage’s Nest.”
One of the heroes of Company E is a soldier who survived, but just barely. Former Corporal Walter Gordon was horribly wounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. He recovered, went to law school, and became a successful entrepreneur in the oil business in Louisiana. In December 1991 Gordon saw a story in the Gulfport Sun Herald. The story related that the mayor of Eindhoven, Holland had declined to meet with General Norman Schwarzkopf “because he had too much blood on his hands.” According to the mayor, Schwarzkopf was “the person who devised the most efficient way possible to kill as many people as possible.” The mayor’s statement made Gordon angry.
Ambrose recounts that Gordon wrote the mayor as follows: “On September 17, 1944 I participated in the large airborne operation which was conducted to liberate your country. As a member of company E, 506th PIR [parachute infantry regiment], I landed near the small town of Son. The following day we moved south and liberated Eindhoven. While carrying out our assignment, we suffered casualties. That is war talk for bleeding. We occupied various defense positions for over two months. Like animals, we lived in holes, barns, and as best we could. The weather was cold and wet. In spite of the adverse conditions, we held the ground we had fought so hard to capture.
“The citizens of Holland at that time did not share your aversion to bloodshed when the blood being shed was that of the German occupiers of your city. How soon we forget. History has proven more than once that Holland could again be conquered if your neighbor, the Germans, are having a dull weekend and the golf links are crowded.
“Please don’t allow your country to be swallowed up by Liechenstein or the Vatican as I don’t plan to return. As of now, you are on your own.”

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