Baa-baa Black Sheep
Three incidents embody, in their own ways, what the West values most of all. I'm just trying to figure out what it is. The Independent reports the French government has recalled the former pride of its Navy until it can find a breaker's yard willing to touch it.
President Jacques Chirac ordered the hulk of the decommissioned carrier to be towed back to France from the Indian Ocean after the official French state watchdog declared the old ship to be a 27,000-ton piece of "industrial waste". ... Following yesterday's ruling by the Conseil d'Etat in Paris, the Clemenceau will be towed back to the Mediterranean, incurring, once again, multimillion euro "compensation" charges for passing through the Suez canal. The ruling is a triumphant vindication for Greenpeace and three other ecological groups which had protested from the beginning that the export of the Clemenceau broke European Union rules. The French government insisted that the Clemenceau was still a warship, despite the fact that it had been de-commissioned from the French fleet in 1997. Greenpeace, and others, said that the ship was industrial waste and contained far more asbestos than the French Navy had admitted. ... The minister announced on Monday that she was taking legal action against a French contractor which had stripped the aircraft carrier of asbestos in when it was in Toulon.
The Clemenceau is not the only piece of unwanted industrial waste. In America, university officials are struggling to find something shoddy enough to name after Pappy Boyington. In From the Cold reports:
According to World Net Daily, the (University of Washington) student body recently rejected a proposed memorial for WWII flying ace (and Washington alumnus), Lt Col Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.
Boyington, who attended the university from 1930-1934, gained fame as a Marine Corps fighter pilot during the Second World War. After a stint with the famed American Volunteer Group (the famed "Flying Tigers") in China, Boyington commanded Marine Fighter Squadron, the legendary "Black Sheep." Lt Col Boyington shot down 26 Japanese aircraft in aerial combat over the South Pacific, making him the leading Marine ace of the war. Shot down on a combat mission, he spent 20 months as a Japanese POW before being liberated in 1945. For his heroism, Boyington received the Navy Cross and the Congressional Medal of Honor.
According to minutes of the meeting, student senator Jill Edwards said she didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." Another senator, Ashley Miller, said the school already had many monuments that honor "rich white men." As a compromise measure, another member of the senate amended the resolution, removing a clause that referred to Boyington's 26 aerial victories, saying that the Marine pilot should be honored for his service, not his killing of others."
All is not lost however, In From the Cold notes that "that the federal government recently gave the university $5 million to build a new bioengineering research facility, and another $12.4 million to fund a "science of learning" center." That, and the fact that Boyington is UW engineering graduate might -- just might -- justify naming the new facility the "Gregory Boyington Bioengineering Research Center". If all else fails they can rename the old ROTC building after him.
The USS Iowa might best be renamed the "Flying Dutchman" after the ghost ship doomed to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa forever. "The (San Francisco) Board of Supervisors rejected a plan last year to bring the historic ship here and turn it into a museum and tourist center. The main objection appeared to be that the Iowa was an instrument of war". As in Boyington's case, there's hope that future generations may get to see the Iowa yet, provided the powers of political correctness can be appeased. To "address concerns surrounding the battleship museum, which include its financial feasibility, its cost to The City and the unequal treatment received by gays, lesbians and people of color who have served in the military ... part of the museum would include an education project focusing on the contributions of gays, lesbians and ethnic minorities in the military. And the group would offer to hold an annual peace conference on the battleship -- the kind in which the Iowa once participated when it was sailing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt around the world to negotiate the agreements to officially end World War II."
One of my problems, and it's only a niggling one, was that the 'peace' meeting from which USS Iowa conveyed Roosevelt was the Teheran Conference -- at which Operation Overlord was confirmed. It may come as surprise to some, but the end of World War II was not achieved by President Roosevelt sailing around the world concluding little UN-type treaties. But since it was the first wartime summit attended by that man of surpassing gentleness, Joseph Stalin, I suppose the Left might regard his presence as transforming that place of dark designing into a "cathedral of peace". I mention this small detail because it is the best way to enter into the spirit of absurdity with which USS Iowa's memory is being treated. Let me close this discussion with a reading from my favorite September 11 poem, perhaps the one we truly deserve.
Wage Peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble.
Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red-wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists
Breathe out sleeping children and fresh mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out life long relationships intact.
Wage peace with our listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothing pins, clean rivers.
Play music; learn the word "thank you" in 3 languages.
Learn to knit: make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.
as the outbreak of beauty or gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.