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Old 12-03-2004, 05:40 PM   #1
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How Far We’ve Come

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December 03, 2004
How Far We’ve Come
Let’s not forget.
by Victor Davis Hanson
Private Papers

The harrowing World War II movie Twelve O'Clock High begins with a postwar bald and bespectacled Dean Jagger (Colonel Harvey Stovall) riding his bicycle out to an old airfield in Archbury, England, that years earlier had been home to the 918th B-17 Bombing Group of the 8th Air force. As the nondescript Jagger walks along the weed-infested airbase and rusting bombers, the movie unfolds as one long dreamlike flashback of the horrors of what daylight bombing over Germany in 1942 entailed and the courageous men who used to take off from the now eerie, abandoned runways.

In juxtaposing the dreadfulness of what the airmen went through (centered around the bravery and eventual breakdown of group Commander Gen. Frank Savage) with the calm of the post-bellum English countryside, director Henry King reminds us how easily we forget horrors of the immediate past. No one in the town, or indeed back home in America, other than the families of the dead, recalled a Bishop, Cobb, Wilson, or the thousands of Savage's anonymous flyers who perished in doing their part to bring down the Third Reich. The tragedy of Stovall's war, King seems to suggest, is that the inferno in the skies was but a blink of the eye from its dividends of victory and rural tranquility — and that we all are of short memory, allowing even the worst nightmare to retreat into the oblivion of everyday life.

I fear the same may be said of Afghanistan and even Iraq in a year or two. Indeed, we already see how few talk of what it was like in the very dark days of September 2001. The country was reeling from 3,000 murdered; a trillion dollars were lost to economic dislocation; and the prospect of going 7,000 miles to the other side of the world to root out Dark-Age killers that had grown emboldened by a decade of American appeasement was considered too frightening.
http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson120304.html
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Old 12-04-2004, 11:41 AM   #2
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Whoaah, could this Hanson dude wave his flag any more furiously?!! This article veers dangerously close to racism in my opinion.
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Old 12-06-2004, 02:37 AM   #3
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I do wonder what qualifies as racism these days.
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