Friday, January 12, 2007

Third Thread.

I continue having more thoughts. (Emphasis, Smoothingplane.)

Tony Snow: "Let me draw a picture of dire consequences. You’ll leave Iraq without securing the democracy. You leave behind a power vacuum. The Iranians certainly are going to be interested in it, al Qaeda’s certainly going to be interested in it, and in either way, you know that there is a likelihood that terrorists are going to have access to the world’s second largest oil reserves, and also have access to enormous sums of wealth that are going to allow them to go on the international market and get some pretty pricey weaponry. Now at the same time, suppose you’re living in Saudi Arabia. You don’t have much in the way of a military, and you know that in the past, you’ve depended on the United States. But you’ve just taken a look, and the United States got out of Iraq and left some people high and dry. And you ask yourself, hmm, the terrorists are now well armed and determined. Who am I going to side with in the conflict between terrorists and the West?"

Does the name, Mers-el-Kébir catapault to the mind? Here is the text of the ultimatum given to the French fleet by British Admiral James Sommerville:

"It is impossible for us, your comrades up to now, to allow your fine ships to fall into the power of the German enemy. We are determined to fight on until the end, and if we win, as we think we shall, we shall never forget that France was our Ally, that our interests are the same as hers, and that our common enemy is Germany. Should we conquer we solemnly declare that we shall restore the greatness and territory of France. For this purpose we must make sure that the best ships of the French Navy are not used against us by the common foe. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government have instructed me to demand that the French Fleet now at Mers el Kebir and Oran shall act in accordance with one of the following alternatives;
(a) sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.
(b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.
If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.
(c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans unless they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West IndiesMartinique for instance — where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.
If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours.
Finally, failing the above, I have the orders from His Majesty's Government to use whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German hands."

The outcome:

"Somerville did not present the ultimatum personally. Instead, this duty fell to the French-speaking Captain Cedric Holland, commanding officer of the carrier HMS Ark Royal. Admiral Gensoul, affronted that negotiations were not being conducted by a senior officer, sent his own lieutenant, Bernard Dufay, which led to much delay and confusion. As negotiations dragged on, it became clear that both sides were unlikely to give way, with the French commander being loath to agree to demands made under the threat of British aggression. French Marine Minister Admiral Darlan never received the full text of the British ultimatum from Admiral Gensoul, most significantly with regards to the option of removing the fleet to American waters, an option which formed part of the orders, given to Gensoul by Darlan, to be followed should a foreign power attempt to seize the ships under his command. Before negotiations were formally terminated, British Swordfish planes from the carrier Ark Royal began dropping magnetic mines in the path of the French ships' escape route. A short while later, on Churchill's instructions, the British ships opened fire."

Ironic that human hubris, (here the French flavor, though it comes in all flavors,) would foul up the "diplomacy". I can imagine an attack upon the Iraqi oil fields to prevent the Democrat plan for Iraq from succeeding. I also believe the administration sees the precipice on which the world is perched, and the great fall to carnage unimagined if the "escalation in Iraq" is derailed because of (Democrat flavored) hubris. The mackerals of the press see nothing but bits of food in the water, and streak back and forth in carnal instinct. Above the water screeching gulls.

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