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This week we mark the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion that commenced the liberation of continental Europe. Earlier this week, the editors of the Washington Post provided a reminder of decisive leadership in the form of Dwight David Eisenhower. As the invasion drew near, Ike wrote a statement – what he would say if the invasion floundered and failed – and put it in his wallet. The statement was very simple. This is what it said:
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
These are the words and deeds of a true leader.
And on this anniversary of D-Day, the Senate entertains the nomination of Lieutenant General Doug Lute, to be “the full-time manager for the implementation and execution of our strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan.” The job was created, we learn, at the instigation of a number of figures in the White House, notably National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who wanted someone else to be the fall-guy for the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush himself is missing from the scene altogether.
These are the words and deeds of the leaders we’ve got, to our great misfortune.
And this is proof that once the Republican Party knew how to identify and elevate great men. But that time seems to have passed.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”