Imagine a World War II movie with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum doing
nothing while standing on the bridge of a well-armed war ship watching
below as fellow American soldiers are being whisked away by a few
Japanese in a small craft in the waters of the South Pacific. We would
cringe in disbelief. It would not be soldier-like, patriotic, or manly.
What sissies, we would think, what about the spirit of comradeship
embodied in “all for one and one for all”? We would be ashamed at such
an act of timidity and passivity.
I keep hoping that I'll wake up one morning to find out that the Brits or the Israelis or even the Americans have blown up Iran's gasoline refinery (with sufficient advance notice of course so civilians can evacuate.) No one need die, but Iran's economy would be crippled and notice served to its government that the rest of the world has had enough of its threats and troublemaking.
The capture of the British sailors and marines only highlights efforts underway in the UK to defund its Navy. Arthur Herman writes on the ramifications.
The United States has grown used to doing the fighting and dying the other industrialized democracies refuse to do in order to defend themselves and their interests.
Britain has been an exception. In places like Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, and in operations like Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, its help has been solid and genuine, as well as important in a symbolic sense. America always looks better when a couple of frigates flying the Royal Navy's White Ensignare side by side with those flying the Stars and Stripes. U.S. sailors also know that in a real fight, the men of the Royal Navy, which our navy men still call the "Senior Service," will never let them down.
That contribution has never been vital to America - yet it was a badge of honor for Britain. It had echoes of past glory as an empire, of course, but also of Britain's historic role as protector of a civilized and stable world order, and specifically the role of the Royal Navy. The British navy had wiped out the slave trade; it had single-handedly defied tyrants from Louis XIV and Napoleon to Hitler; and it served as midwife to the ideas of free trade and the balance of power.
"I might have preferred iron -- but bronze will do. It won't rust."
A truly great lady who turned the United Kingdom from the perennial "sick man of Europe" into an economic power and revitalized its military reputation, too.
While it's hard to find many now who praise her, I suspect that when the sad day comes that she's no longer with us, the Brits will turn out by the hundreds of thousands to pay their respects just as Americans did for Ronald Reagan.
A Tory councillor who suggested gay people were paedophiles was given a conditional discharge today.
Peter Willows, who has been a councillor in the UK's self-styled gay capital Brighton and Hove for 12 years, made the comment at a mayor-making reception in May.
The 75-year-old was asked by the editor of a gay magazine whether he thought a gay councillor was a paedophile, Brighton Magistrates' Court was told.
"James Ledward asked Willows, 'Do you think Paul's a paedophile?"' prosecutor David Packer said.
"Willows replied to that with, 'I know you are not Paul, it's the other gays'." The barrister said the words "equated gay people with paedophiles".
Willows, who the court heard has "fixed, traditional views on marriage, church and families", was found guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting works or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress after a day-long trial.
He had denied the charge, which was brought under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Chairwoman of the Bench Pauline Quinton said: "It's quite clear that you did use the word gays not guys, despite your denial.
"Because you knew that both men were gay...your remarks would inevitably be insulting."
But she added that the comments were not borne from hostility towards people who were gay. Willows was given a conditional discharge and told to pay £250.
He had to pay a fine for saying something stupid and wrong. He was found guilty of breaking a law for having insulted people. Speech codes and laws that maintain them are frightening.