Monday, April 30, 2012

Duxford and...George Carlin?

Commander Kelly with B-17, Duxford (photo: Jim Hooper)

The American Conservative Tour of London continues at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (, near Cambridge.  Cambridge is an easy 45 minute train ride from London and Duxford is a short cab or bus ride from the train station.  I was fortunate to be able to visit last week with some friends.

Duxford has nine enormous hangars filled with aviation history.  You can walk though an experimental Concorde that could cruise at Mach 2 or twice the speed of sound.  You will see biplanes and monoplanes form the earliest days of flight.  There is a hangar devoted to the Battle of Britain, when Britain stood alone against Hitler's Reich.  You will find Hangars devoted to naval aviation, World War II land combat and much more.  The nearby airfield has historic planes and helicopters landing and taking off on a regular basis.
Close air support A-10 and P-47 (Photo: Jim Hooper)

American Hangar, Duxford
My personal favorite part of Duxford is the American Hangar.  It contains a truly awesome display of American military might.  It was built in 1997 with generous grants from The Saudi government, Ford Motor company, Boeing, and others.  The late Charlton Heston helps provide voice over narration at some of the exhibits and the NRA is also a sponsor.
The American hangar features almost every major American warplane that you can think of.  You will find the massive B-52 -- first launched in 1955 and still in service today.  You will see the fastest plane ever -- the SR 71 spy plane.  The ungainly A-10 Warthog, championed by Boyd (see earlier post, Colonel John Boyd, 1/6/12) and so effective at destroying the Iraqi Republican guard during the first Gulf war, is here on display.  The famous  P-51 long range fighter is here.  It was the initial deployment of this plane, that could escort bombers from Britain to Berlin and back that sealed the doom of Nazi Germany according to air marshall Goering.  "When I saw Mustangs over Berlin. I knew the war was lost," he said.  You will see bombers with the distinctive D-day black and white stripes that were painted on all allied aircraft to avoid friendly fire just prior to June 6, 1944.

A visit to Duxford is a chance see some marvellous aircraft and to learn more about aviation history.  Here you will learn about the Allied bombing offensive in the Second world war.  Duxford airbase was used by the US 8th Army Air corps from April, 1943 until the conclusion of the war.  The bombing campaign in Europe claimed the lives of about 700,000 people, the bombing in Japan it accounted for 500,000 people with most of these casualties civilians.  Meanwhile, allied bomber crews lost over 100,000 crewmen over Germany and the KIA rate for heavy bomber crews was a staggering 71%.   The bombing offensive did not break the will to resist of the Germans or the Japanese, but it did divert precious Axis resources away from the fight against the allies.
Albert Speer, Hitler's Armaments Minister, laid out the best case for the allied bombing offensive when he said in 1959, "The real importance of the air war consisted in the fact that it opened a second front long before the invasion in Europe . . . Defence against air attacks required the production of thousands of anti-aircraft guns, the stockpiling of tremendous quantities of ammunition all over the country, and holding in readiness hundreds of thousands of soldiers, who in addition had to stay in position by their guns, often totally inactive, for months at a time . . . No one has yet seen that this was the greatest lost battle on the German side."  (source:

Nor can one fail to recall the 40,000+ casualties that Britain suffered during the Blitz, the attacks on Rotterdam and other Allied cities and the 30,000+ casualties that resulted from the Nazi's hail of V1 and V2 rockets.  You will find Anderson shelters and V1 rockets and launchers at Duxford.

Seeing these aircraft in Duxford compels us to remember some of those brave and diverse individuals who served their countries in Allied military aviation in World War II.  Consider just a few of those fortunate enough to survive the war...

President George H.W. Bush ( was a US naval aviator who flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific theatre in a Grumman TBM Avenger.  He won the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).  Bush was shot down on September 2, 1944 and was incredibly fortunate to be picked up by a passing American submarine.  His story is well told in James Bradley's 2001 Flyboys (http:/

Jimmy Stewart 1908 - 1997
Jimmy Stewart ( was drafted by the US army in 1940 and became the first major American movie actor to serve in the war.  He piloted over 20 combat missions in a B-24, bombing Axis targets.  He won two DFC's and the Croix de Guerre.  He later rose to the rank of Brigadier general in the USAF and even flew over a mission over Vietnam in a B-52 (also on display at Duxford) while in the reserves.  He starred in the Glenn Miller Story among many others.
Leo McKern ( , who played Horace Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey, served in a RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) ground crew during the war.

Sir Kenneth Adam
While strolling through the Battle of Britain hangar at Duxford it is interesting to reflect upon the wonderful life of Ken Adam ( who was one of only two German nationals to serve in the RAF during the Battle of Britain.  He piloted a Hawker Typhoon on tank-busting missions.  He was Jewish and would have been shot as a traitor if he had gone down over Nazi-occupied Europe.  Ken Adam would survive the war and become the principle set designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey and the early Bond films.  Sir Kenneth Adam is now 91 years old.

Joseph Heller, the author of Catch 22, served as a bombardier on a B-25 in 60 combat missions while based in Corsica. (
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl (, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many other books, was one of "the few" who served in the RAF during World War II.  He crashed in a Gloster Gladiator in Africa and was nearly killed.  He became an ace while later flying a Hawker Hurricane in the Greek campaign.  He wrote memorably about his RAF experiences in Going Solo (http:/  He later served in British intelligence alongside Ian Flemming.

Visiting Duxford is a marvellous antidote to the prevailing view of war that popular culture seems to accept today and is best exemplified by George Carlin ( who famously claimed that we Americans love war.

If you loathe the USA and believe that American military power is primarily deployed in "bombing brown people" then a visit to Duxford may open your eyes a bit.  Note carefully the Orwellian elements in the late Carlin's routine.  For Carlin "critical thinking" means a willingness to swallow unfounded conspiracy theories.  "Thinking for yourself" means hewing closely to the Marxist / Freudian / Chomsky party line.  "Americans love war!"

You may object that Carlin is simply a comedian.  Yet many on the radical left, in the Occupy Wall Street movement and, of course, the fence-sitting libertarian Paul-bots ("both parties just the same, elections are illusions," etc.) accept Carlin's routines as holy writ.  Carlin was labeled "an unproductive airman" and discharged less than honourably from the USAF in 1957.  The last presidential candidate that Carlin actually voted for and supported was George McGovern in 1972.  Yes, that was the same George McGovern who flew 35 missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II -- See Stephen Ambrose's Wild Blue, 2001. (

Tuskeegee Airmen
How does the "bombing brown people" analysis really work in describing America's historical armed conflicts?  Not too well when one considers the matter.  The American Revolutionary war which, shockingly, claimed the highest percentage total American casualties, was against the "white" English aided by their native American and Hessian mercenaries.  The War of 1812 was a "white on white" war.  The US Civil war, the most costly American war, was largely a "white on white" war that led to a "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln said, for black American slaves.   The Spanish-American war, a favorite of the anti-war crowd (see earlier post, Remember the Maine, but forget The War Lovers,  2/20/12) began with one "white" nation, the Spanish, probably blowing up a US naval vessel filled with mostly "white" crewmen.  Black buffalo soldiers distinguished themselves alongside Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan hill in Cuba.  World War I against the Kaiser's Germany was a terrible tragedy, but not a race war.  America's direct involvement in World War II started with "yellow people," in Carlin's parlance, bombing Americans at Pearl harbor.  The "white" American Air Corps then went on to devastate "white" Germans and Italians in Europe, thereby helping to finish off the most anti-semitic, racist and barbarous regime in world history.  The famous "black" Tuskeegee airmen ( flew escorts for the allied bomber offensive.  The "red" Navajo tribesmen became the "code talkers" ( who helped keep US communications secure in the war.   In the Korean war, a brutal "red" man, Stalin, instigated some "yellow" men to attack other "yellow" men and the United Nations ("rainbow") intervened.  In the gulf war which triggered Carlin's rant a "brown" dictator invaded a "brown" nation (Kuwait) and the United Nations ("rainbow") again intervened.  In Libya just last year a "brown" man killed off another "brown" man ending another fearful dictatorship (see earlier post, Yankee fan kills Gaddafi with his own Golden Gun, 1/15/12).

Carlin was able to exercise his freedom of speech defaming his country and make a pretty good living doing it because of the sacrifices of those who served in the allied armed forces.  The counterculture is now mainstream, in case you hadn't noticed.

Commander Kelly agrees with Freud that sometimes, "a cigar is just a cigar!"  Moreover, Sometimes a fuselage is just a fuselage!


Please Pre-order your copy of America Invades

Glenn Miller's American Patrol

Glenn Miller 1904 - December 15, 1944 MIA

Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades, is now available
and on

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Breivik Tortured in Oslo!

Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Norway!

About 40,000 heartless Norwegians gathered recently to torture mass murder suspect Breivik recently in Oslo.  Their inhuman torture method was not water-boarding, but rather a mass singing of Marxist folk songs!

Perhaps he will be compelled to watch endless re-runs of the Eurovision song contest as well?  When will Human Rights Watch step in and end this senseless brutality?

Why didn't we Americans think about gathering together to serenade Timothy McVeigh with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell tunes?  "The answer, my friend, is blown' in the wind", etc.  This would have been so much more effective than the lethal injection that he received on June 11, 2001.  Now McVeigh is the poster boy for capital punishment in the USA.

Behring Breivik admits to having killed 77 people.  There is, however,  no possibility that he or any other murderer in Europe will be executed for their crimes -- the European Union forbids it.  After being convicted he will be a guest of the Norwegian royal family at the taxpayer's expense for what, we can hope, will be a lifetime prison sentence.

In August 2011, a representative survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion showed that 65% of Britons support reinstating the death penalty for murder in Great Britain.  They will be disappointed as democracy is now trumped by bureaucracy in contemporary Europe.

Hung Drawn and Quartered (Photo courtesy: Jim Hooper)

An excellent place to meditate upon the sad state of justice in modern Europe is London's Hung Drawn and Quartered ( just feet away from Tower hill, site of so many executions.  This boozer is a Fullers pub that  serves the delicious Honey Dew beer (Commander Kelly says "try it!"). <!-- Start Alexa Certify Javascript -->

The Haitian Revolution and the USA

The Voodoo that you do so well!

The Slave rebellion in Haiti (San Domingo) had an enormous impact on the USA in two very important  and distinct respects.

First, the success of a slave rebellion that actually did emancipate some 1/2 million black slaves in North America not far from America shores terrified the slave owning white population of the southern states.  Thomas Jefferson was an extraordinary man who was, at the same time not atypical of his place and time.  He denounced a slave-ruled Haiti as "the Cannibals of the terrible republic".

Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C.

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed to the world that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Yet Jefferson was a slave owner and Sally Hemmings was his mistress.  Jefferson, after the Missouri compromise of 1820 wrote that freeing of slaves in itself "would not cost me a second thought if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with the due sacrifices, I think it might be.  But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go (Commander's italics).  Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other...I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it."   In a separate letter to Adams he wrote further, "Are our slaves to be presented with freedom and a dagger?"  In a letter to Albert Gallatin, "All whites south of the Potomac and Ohio must evacuate their states; and most fortunate those who can do it first."  (Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Chistopher Hitchens, 2005)

A just God...?

Jefferson also said, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

It was the fearful example of the Haitian Revolution, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, that put the fear of God into southern whites and made them so resistant to any reform of their "peculiar institution".  The legend of Toussaint L'Ouverture grew to almost mythical proportions among the American slaves who learned of his life and a "free" Haiti.  Northern abolitionists cited Toussaint as a heartening example of black self-rule.

Second, the destruction of the army that Napoleon dispatched to put down the rebellion in San Domingo would have fateful and wide-reaching implications for the United States; indeed it would be the making of many states.

The reconquest of San Domingo was just the first stage of Napoleon's orders to his brother-in-law LeClerc.  After putting down the slave rebellion he was then to proceed to New Orleans and solidify France's position on the North American continent that had been acquired recently from Spain.  The destruction of the French army and the death of Leclerc made this impossible.  Napoleon was forced to revise his plans and consider the sale of the Louisiana territory to the United States as it could no longer be defended.

Jefferson negotiated the greatest real estate deal in history, doubling the size of the US at a price of 4 cents an acre.  "Overnight the upstart nation acquired land physically larger that France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, and the British Isles combined.  Crowning the vast territory was the magnificent city of New Orleans, which gave western farmers a much-needed water outlet to world markets." (Financial Founding Fathers, Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen, 2006).

The bold treaty affirming the Louisiana purchase was swiftly approved by the US senate.  On its signing, Robert Livingston said "From this day, the United States take their place among the powers of first rank."
French Soldier Dispensing Equality?

Jefferson displayed the elasticity of his principles with the Louisiana purchase (see earlier post, Ambrose Bierce's Very short Story 2/1/12).  He was a a devotee of limited government and a strict constructionist, but nowhere does the US Constitution authorise  the purchase of territory from foreign powers by the Executive or any other branch of government.  John Quincy Adams pointed out that the president would now dispose of "an assumption of implied power greater...than all of the assumptions of implied power in the years of the Washington and Adams administrations put together."  (Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Chistopher Hitchens, 2005)

Ironically, Jefferson's Louisiana purchase also owed a great deal to his archival Alexander Hamilton;  it was Hamilton's astute management of the Treasury during the Washington administration that had repaired the US government's creditworthiness.  The United States was able to easily borrow $15 million to pay off Napoleon (Albert Gallatin, Jefferson's Treasury secretary "floated a bond issue through the Dutch banking house of Hope and Company, which promptly sold it to Baring Brothers, a British investment bank." (Financial Founding Fathers, Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen, 2006).

The United States of America is much indebted to Toussaint l'Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution.  Jefferson's Louisiana purchase, made possible by the Haitian revolution, gave the United States an expansionist future.  This also meant that a divided nation would quarrel over the issue of "slave" or "free" in the new territories to be added to the Union.  Thus we can argue that while the Haitian revolution was, in some ways the making of the United States, it also sowed the seeds of our tragic Civil war.


Please Pre-order your copy of America Invades

Friday, April 27, 2012

Toussaint L'Ouverture Champion of Freedom and...Conservative?

Toussaint L'Ouverture c. 1743 - 1803

CLR James opens his work Black Jacobins (http:/ as follows, "In 1789 the French West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest individual market for the European salve trade.  It was an integral part of the economic life of the age, the greatest colony in the world, the pride of France, and the envy of every other imperialist nation.  The whole structure rested on the labor of half-a-million slaves."

The Haitian revolution, triggered by the revolution of 1789 in France, lasted from 1791 to 1802 and was the only successful slave revolt in history.

Toussaint L'Ouverture (, the leader of the Haitian Revolution, was, by all accounts a remarkable man.  He was born a slave win the French colony of San Domingo.  This was a very prosperous colony whose primary export was sugar cane.  San Domingo was a slave economy which exploited the labor of African slaves in the sugar plantations.  The life of a plantation slave was extremely difficult, lashings were commonplace and the life expectancy of a slave was about three years.  In 1789 the population was divided into three primary groups a minority of about 30,000 whites, half a million black slaves and, inevitably, some 40,000 mulattoes.  When the French Revolution burst onto the world in 1789 the blacks on the island took its Declaration of the rights of man at face value, a promise of their liberation.

165 Railton Road, Brixton
CLR James (, the author of Black Jacobins, was a Troskyite / Marxist historian from the island of Trinidad who wrote his book in 1938 on the eve of the Second World War.   He later lived and died in London (see blue plaque).  As a passionate partisan, James clearly wishes to paint Toussaint L'Ouverture as a revolutionary hero in the Marxist mold.  James attempts to fit Toussaint into the Procrustean bed of his Marxist dialectic, but with scant credibility--perhaps due to the absence of urban proletariats in 18th century San Domingo.  Toussaint has been variously described as the "black Spartacus," the"black Washington" and the "black Napoleon".  Toussaint had actually been freed in 1776, years before the revolt.  As a child he received no formal education, but did receive some instruction from the Jesuits.  At the outset of the uprising, he carefully escorted his own masters to safety.  Toussaint famously said, "I was born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a free man."

Consider, however, the way in which CLR James describes Toussaint L'Ouverture...

"A sincere Catholic and believer in the softening effect of religion on manners, he encouraged the practice of the Catholic religion, and wrote to that old friend of the blacks, the Abbe Gregoire, for advice.  He favoured legitimate children and soldiers who were married, and forbade his officials and commandants to have concubines in the houses of their wives, a legacy of the old disreputable white society....

Personal industry, social morality, public education, religious toleration, free trade civic pride, racial equality this ex-slave strove according to his lights to lay their foundations on the new State.  In all his proclamations, laws and decrees he insisted on moral principles, the necessity for work, respect for law and order, pride in San Domingo, veneration for France.  He sought to lift the people to some understanding of the duties and responsibilities of freedom and citizenship.
San Domingo - Haiti

He had the extraordinary faculty of satisfying all who came to see him, and was known all over the island as a man who never broke his word.  Even Sonthonax, the Jacobin lawyer and a very finished intriguer himself, said in the French Chamber that Toussaint was incapable of telling lies" ("Much like George Washington", adds Commander Kelly).

Toussaint wrote in a letter, "I have always done as much as lies in my power to preserve the property of each and every one..."

After the abolition of slavery he quickly recognised economic necessity proclaiming, "Work is necessary, it is a virtue, it is for the general good of the state."  James continues, "His regulations were harsh.  The labourers were sent to work 24 hours after he assumed control of any district, and he authorised the military commandants of the parishes to take measures necessary for keeping them on the plantations."

Toussaint said, "Learn, citizens, to appreciate the glory of your new political status.  In acquiring the rights that the Constitution accords to all Frenchmen, do not forget the duties it imposes on you.  Be but virtuous and you will be Frenchmen and good citizens...Work together for the prosperity of San Domingo by the restoration of agriculture, which alone can support a state and assure public well being...The age of fanaticism is over.  The reign of law has succeeded that of anarchy.

"The finance of the old regime was complicated and irksome.  Toussaint demanded first 'an exact inventory of our resources'; then abolished the numerous duties and taxes which were only a source of fraud and abuses.  He gave the gourde, the local unit of money, a uniform value for the whole island...Thus he was able to get rid of the numerous officials whom the old system demanded; each taxpayer knew how much he had to pay, and the simplicity of the system and his strict supervision raised the standard of probity...He lowered the tax on fixed property from 20 to 10 per cent, and on the advice of Stevens, the United States Consul, abolished it altogether soon afterwards.  The 20 per cent tax on imports acted as a check on the purchases of the merchants, and Toussaint lowered it to 10 per cent; later, to encourage the poor, he lowered the duty on articles of the first necessity to 6 per cent."

He negotiated trade agreements with the United States and Great Britain.

Toussaint L'Ouverture, an uneducated ex-slave, was, in short, far more successful in executing his economic program than has been the current occupant of the White House!  Toussaint, in spite of being an ex-slave rather than a slave owner, was, Like George Washington, a deeply conservative revolutionary (see earlier post, George Washington in London? 2/8/12), .   He was a devout Catholic in spite of his island's peculiar fondness for Voodoo.  He supported reconciliation with the whites as opposed to retribution.  He defended property rights for all races and favored low taxes and free trade--he even bought 30,000 muskets from the Americans.  Sixty-two years before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Toussaint was abolishing human slavery in a piece of North America.  He created a written Constitution that made him Governor for life.  This document also said, "There cannot exist slaves, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born, live and die free and French."

Toussaint loved liberty, guns, religion, military discipline and low taxes.  Today he might be labelled a "bitter clinger" for these convictions.  Voltaire, who detested slavery, and Toussaint were both "God and Liberty" conservatives (see earlier post, Voltaire Conservative of the Enlightenment, 3/3/12).
Black Conservative?

It was on the battlefield that Toussaint displayed his most remarkable powers.  In the course of the 12 year struggle the slaves under his leadership "defeated the local whites and the soldiers of the British monarchy, a Spanish invasion,  a British expedition of some 60,000 men, and a French expedition...under Bonaparte's brother-in-law. "  He demonstrated tremendous physical courage usually leading his men from the front of each engagement.

Toussaint, however, made one great mistake.  He trusted and was faithful to the French who ultimately betrayed him.  Napoleon, believing the dispossessed whites in France who claimed that San Domingo could only recapture its former economic glory with the re-institution of slavery, dispatched his brother-in-law, General Leclerc, with an army of 40,000 thousand men to recapture San Domingo for France.  Napoleon, who claimed the "La Revolution c'est moi" was committed to destroying one of its few undeniable accomplishments--the abolition of slavery.  After a brutal campaign, Toussaint was eventually captured and sent back to France where he was imprisoned in Fort de Joux in the Doubs.  He died shortly afterward in 1803.

After his capture he said, "In overthrowing me you have cut down in San Domingo only the trunk of the tree of liberty; it will spring up again from the roots, for they are many and they are deep."  His words were indeed prophetic.

The occupying French forces were decimated by Yellow fever.  General Leclerc himself died in Haiti at age 30, leaving Pauline Bonaparte a widow.  Napoleon's forces were ultimately defeated (the final straw was the Battle of Vertières on November 18, 1803) by Toussaint's second-in-command, Dessalines, leading to "the establishment of the Negro state of Haiti which has lasted to this day."


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Belated Earth Day!

If I wanted America to fail....

Monday, April 23, 2012

La Rochefoucauld -- Selected Maxims

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld 1613 - 1660

Before there was Nietzsche, there was Francois de La Rochefoucauld, the great aphorist (çois_de_La_Rochefoucauld_(writer)).  These are timeless nuggets of wisdom, worldliness and psychological penetration from 17th century France.  Each one of his sentences sparkles like a freshly poured flute of champagne.  Commander Kelly says, "Enjoy!"

"People would never fall in love if they hadn’t heard love talked about.

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.

Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.

Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.

He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks.

If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.

Our repentance is not so much regret for the ill we have done as fear of the ill that may happen to us in consequence.

Many people despise wealth, but few know how to give it away.

Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.

The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.

The pleasure of love is in loving.

We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.

We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.

To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

The only thing constant in life is change.

We pardon to the extent that we love.

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

The most certain sign of being born with great qualities is to be born without envy.

When we are in love we often doubt that which we most believe.

Neither love nor fire can subsist without perpetual motion; both cease to live so soon as they cease to hope, or to fear.

If we are to judge of love by its consequences, it more nearly resembles hatred than friendship.

Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching.

When our hatred is violent, it sinks us even beneath those we hate.

We seldom find any person of good sense, except those who share our opinions.

Few persons have sufficient wisdom to prefer censure, which is useful, to praise which deceives them.

It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.

Vive La Rochefoucauld!
Fights would not last, if only one side was wrong.

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care to acquire.

Envy is more irreconcilable than hatred.

There are heroes in evil as well as in good.

Lovers never get tired of each other because they are forever talking about themselves.

Youth is a perpetual drunkenness; it is the fever of reason.

Few people know how to be old.

Old age is a tyrant, who forbids, under pain of death, the pleasures of youth.

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at with a steady eye.

If I advance, follow me! If I retreat, kill me! If I die, avenge me!"


You can purchase your copy of Commander Kelly's America Invades
or here on

Adam Smith's Recipe for prosperity

Adam Smith -- (Photo: James Hooper)

Adam Smith writing in his 1755 Lectures on Jurisprudence had a simple straightforward recipe for national prosperity which seems almost forgotten in our own day...

Commander K. at Adam Smith Institute, London
"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought by the natural course of things.  All governments which thwart this natural course, which force things into another channel or which endeavour to arrest the progress of society at a particular point, are unnatural, and to support themselves are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical."

Commander Kelly says, "This should be platform number one for Conservatives in the USA this fall, and always!"

Source: One Nation Under Debt, Robert E. Wright, 2007.  http:/ <!-- Start Alexa Certify Javascript -->

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bletchley Park and the Judgement of History

Bletchley Park Mansion (Photo: Jim Hooper)

I recently went with a group of friends to revisit Bletchley Park (  It has been claimed that the work of the code breakers may have shortened the war by as much as two years, saving countless lives.

Winston Churchill paid one visit to Bletchley Park to thank the staff their for their invaluable contribution to the war effort.  He referred to the largely female staff as being "the geese who laid the golden eggs, but did not cackle".  A majority of those who worked at Bletchley Park were women.  Having signed the Official Secrets Act, those that did the vital work of code-breaking could not tell their friends or family about the vital work they had performed during the war.

Churchill visited Bletchley once during the War (Photo: Jim Hooper)
The amazing work done by the code breakers of Bletchley Park was a well kept secret for many years after the war.  The secret did not start spill out until the mid-1970's with the release of The Ultra Secret.  If a historian had attempted to write a comprehensive history of World War II in 1965 (20 years after the war's conclusion), for example, he would have been missing a huge part of what actually took place.  Such a history would have been incomplete and inaccurate as the Allies were reading the Axis radio traffic and were consistently better informed as a result.

Polish memorial at Bletchley Park
World War II began in Europe, from the Allied perspective, with an attempt to preserve the independence of Poland which had been guaranteed by Britain and France.  Poland, invaded by Hitler from the west and Stalin from the east, lost a staggering 5.6 to 5.8 million people during the course of the war -- a higher percentage (16.6 to 16.7%) of her total population than any other country, even the Soviet Union (  Poland would not regain her independence until 1989 -- 44  years after the war's conclusion.  The Poles are well represented at Bletchley for their tremendous contributions in code-breaking during the war.

In order to render a balanced and reasonably accurate historical appraisal of any event a period of time must be allowed to pass -- probably at least twenty years must pass after a President leaves office.  Intelligence in modern warfare is critically important to the outcome of all major conflicts and is necessarily unavailable to journalists and the public. Moreover, the fires of partisanship must cool.  We are only just now, for example, able to render a reasonably balanced historical view of the Reagan Presidency.

It is, therefore, impossible to render a fair historical judgement of either George W. Bush or Barack Obama right now.  All of our judgements of these two Presidents must be provisional in nature.  This does not, of course, preclude us form forming judgments; it merely means that these judgements must be limited and incomplete.  The condition of Iraq in 2028 (presently unknowable) will, for example, have an enormous impact on history's judgement of George W. Bush.  The quality and cost of healthcare in the USA in 2032 (equally unknowable) will help future historians to evaluate the legacy of Barack Obama.
Commander K and WSC, Bletchley Park, UK
History takes time to do properly.  It takes time for memoirs to be published, for secrets to be divulged, for partisan passions to cool.  It takes time to gain historical perspective.

Astonishingly, there are still World War II secrets that the British government has NEVER divulged.  The contents of the 1941 German peace proposal transmitted by the flight of Rudolph Hess is one example (

Bletchley house offers more than just the code breakers.  You can also trace the invention of the first computer, the tragic story of Alan Turing, Ian Fleming's World War II espionage exploits and much more.  Commander Kelly says, "if you come to London and have any curiosity about the history of World War II, be sure to check out Bletchley Park!"  Here is the

The other unmistakable conclusion to be drawn from Bletchley is that democracies, with all their manifold flaws, are far superior at the war of the mind than dictatorships.  All of the Axis powers were too arrogant to admit that their communications were thoroughly compromised during the war.  The traditions of free speech and free thought proved to be a tremendous strategic advantage for the Allied powers.

History is all around us!

Mr and Mrs. Lawn

American Espionage...!

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades or on

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Il Duce's Florence

Forza Fiorentina!

Last week, "Commandante Kelly," while on spring break in Florence, had occasion to attend a soccer match featuring Fiorentina versus Palermo.  The game was a bit of a dud -- a 0 to 0 tie.  Fiorentina, of the distinctive purple jerseys, is having a truly horrendous season this year.

I did, however, learn an interesting fact about Florence's soccer stadium.  Please check out this image from Google Earth.  Do you notice anything unusual...?

Stadio Artemi Franchi
Florence, Italy

The stadium is clearly in the shape of a huge letter "D" -- a salute to Il Duce that persists in the 21st century!   Stadio Artemi Franchi was built in 1931.  History is all around us!

Let's not forget what H.L. Mencken had to say about Mussolini...

"One hears murmurs against Mussolini on the ground that he is a desperado: the real objection to him is that he is a politician. Indeed, he is probably the most perfect specimen of the genus politician on view in the world today. His career has been impeccably classical. Beginning life as a ranting Socialist of the worst type, he abjured Socialism the moment he saw better opportunities for himself on the other side, and ever since then he has devoted himself gaudily to clapping Socialists in jail, filling them with castor oil, sending blacklegs to burn down their houses, and otherwise roughing them. Modern politics has produced no more adept practitioner."

Special thanks to Matteo Pierattini for pointing this out to me!

Christopher Kelly is the co-author of Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World.  You can purchase a signed copy or buy a copy on

You can get the Full Italy Invades package here...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nietzsche Quotes

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 - 1900

Before there was H.L. Mencken, (See earlier post, The Sage of Baltimore 2/29/12) , there was Friedrich Nietzsche who exalted the individual and despised the constricting power of the state.  Here is a sampling of his thought...

1)  You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

2)  I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.

3)  Amor Fati – “Love Your Fate”, which is in fact your life.

4)  One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.

5)  A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

6)  Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

7)  In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

8)  Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

9)  No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

10)  You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.

11)  But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!

12)  Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.

13)  What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.

14)  Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.

15)  That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
Wanderer Above the Mist, Caspar David Friedrich

16)  Man is something to be surpassed.

17)  A man’s maturity: that is to have rediscovered the seriousness he possessed as a child at play.

18)  The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night.

19)  Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies (See earlier post, Breivik and Oldman, 4/20/12).

20)  The secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: to live dangerously!

21)  Plato was a bore.  (See earlier Commander Kelly post, Liberals and Conservatives / Plato and Aristotle, 12/16/11)

22)  All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

23)  And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

24)  Art is the proper task of life.

25)  He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.

26)  He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

27)  I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.

28)  In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.

29)  In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.

30)  The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

31)  There are no facts, only interpretations.

Thus Spake Zarathustra by Richard Strauss

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

The Shores of Tripoli, Jefferson in London and the Birth of the US Navy

Jefferson by the late Hitchens, 2005

Christopher Hitchens wrote a short book entitled, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, published in 2005.  (http:/  Please allow me to quote at some length...

"Between the years 1530 and 1780, it has been calculated by the historian, Robert Davis, as many as a million and a quarter Europeans were kidnapped and enslaved by Muslim autocracies on the the northwest coast of Africa.  this trade, which combined piracy, ransom, and enforced servitude, was not the equal of the infamous Middle Passage in which so many bartered black Africans lost their lives, nor was it as organised and commercialised as the "triangular" trade ins laves that flourished between Europe, Africa, and the Americas.  But it did in some ways result from that trade, too, in that European interlopers had disrupted an earlier North African Arab involvement in a north-south transport of African slaves.  Many well-authenticated chronicles of the period tell of "Barbary" raids on coastal towns as far away as England and Ireland, as well as numberless abductions from, and of, vessels in the Mediterranean and other seaways.  It appears, for example, that practically every inhabitant of the Irish village of Baltimore was carried off in 1631.  Samuel Pepys and Daniel Defoe both allude to the trade in their writings, Robinson Crusoe himself spending hard time as a captured slave.  James Thomson's famous 1740 popular song "Rule Britannia," with its refrain about Britons "never, never, never" being slaves, was composed with the Barbary terror in mind.

It was the general policy of European powers to make their separate peaces with the rulers of Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis...

The new United States could hardly approach this with equanimity.  It did not have a navy with which to protect its commercial ships, or with which to threaten retaliation.  Its trade had declined, in fact, as result of having lost such protection from the British Empire...

During the time that he and John Adams were, respectively, the ministers to Paris and London, Thomas Jefferson conceived a great loathing for this state of affairs.  In 1784 the American ship Betsey, with a crew of ten, had been then captured by a Moroccan corsair while sailing with a cargo of salt from Cadiz, in southern Spain, to Philadelphia...

Seeking clarification, Adams invited Jefferson to London for a private meeting with the Ambassador of Tripoli.  On this occasion, Ambassador Abdrahaman mentioned some startlingly high tariffs for ransom of hostages, for cheap terms of "perpetual peace," not forgetting to add his own personal commission on the negotiation.  Since the United States had not offended the Muslim powers in any way -- it had not taken part in the Crusades, for example, or the Spanish monarchy's reconquest of Andalusia -- Adams and Jefferson asked to know by what right this levy was being exacted.  As Jefferson later wrote, to Jay and to Congress, on March 28, 1786:

'The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.'

It is hard to imagine a better summary of all that Jefferson disliked, both about monarchy and religion, but he did not dilate on this point, preferring to recommend to the administration that it refuse all payment of tribute, and prepare at once to outfit an American naval squadron to visit the Mediterranean (Commander Kelly's italics).  In the longer run, he wrote, what was needed was an international concert of powers (A Coalition of the willing?, asks Commander Kelly), composed of all those nations whose shipping was being subjected to predatory raids.  'Justice and Honor favour this course," he wrote, not omitting to add that it would also save money in the end.

John Adams was not at all of the same opinion.  He agreed that "Avarice and Fear are the only agents at Algiers." and that "it would be a good occasion to begin a navy," but he was certain that Congress would never appropriate the money of a punitive expedition, and meanwhile the United States had no navy to speak of.  'From these premises I conclude it would be wisest for us to negotiate and pay the necessary sums without loss of time.'  As for the piratical Islamic powers, 'We ought not to to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever."  In my view, Jefferson's opinion of Adams began to decline from that point."  Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Christopher Hitchens, 2005. http:/

And so it was that the second and third Presidents of the United States learned about the vital need for creating a Navy and Marine corps while representing their nation in London (See earlier post, Jefferson in London, 2/5/12).  Thomas Jefferson purchased a copy of a Koran from a London bookseller during his brief stay not merely out of theological curiosity, but also in order to "learn more about the enemy."  It looks like Jefferson might even have approved of Russian Justice (see earlier post, Russian Justice on the High Seas 4/6/12)!

On February 23, 1815, shortly after the treaty of Ghent was signed ending the War of 1812, President Madison, Jefferson's disciple, asked Congress to declare war on Algeria and soon thereafter dispatched two powerful squadrons to the Mediterranean.  The squadron led by Commodore Stephen Decatur arrived in Tripoli on August 5, 1815 and effected the release of ten Christian slaves. Source: 1812: The Navy's War George C. Daughan, 2011 http:/

For another interesting take on Pirates old and new check out this by Seattle author, William Dietrich...

Commander Kelly says, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose!"

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades or on

Breivik and Oldman

Right Wing Sociopath

Behring Breivik is a 33 year-old Norwegian who has admitted to killing 77 people in Norway last year (  Trenton Oldfield (See earlier post, Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 4/15/12) is a 35 year-old Australian who disrupted the 2012 Oxford Cambridge boat race (  Breivik is a "right wing" nut who opposes immigrants, muslims and "multi-culturalism".  Oldfield was a "left-wing" nut who opposes elitism, public fences and the British class system.

Left Wing Sociopath
I do not, by any means, intend to equate these two individuals.  Clearly Breivik bears a far greater guilt for his heinous crimes than Oldfield who did not set out to physically harm anyone other than himself; just as Timothy McVeigh's crimes were far worse than those of Cornelius Horan who disrupted the Vanderlei DeLima's (Brazilian marathoner) bid for Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Breivik and Oldfield do, however, have some interesting points in common...

1) Both were making a bid for their "15 minutes of fame" in a fame-obsessed society.
2) Both seem to have had a longing for martyrdom.
3) Both were bloggers.
4) Both are mentally unbalanced.
5) Both are well-educated, privileged caucasians.
6) Most importantly, both men put a greater value on their ideology than on the lives of others or even their own.

It is this final point that illuminates how profoundly "Un-Conservative" both men are.  The first principle of Conservatism holds that all human life is sacred (see earlier posts, It's a Wonderful Conservative Life 12/30/11 and Why Conservative. Life is Sacred 12/12/11).  While Conservatives certainly do lean to the "right", it would be a mistake, therefore, to conflate "Conservatism" with being simply "right wing."

I personally love ideas and ideological sparring more than most.  I am happy to engage with those whom I disagree.  I highly value the opinion of those who vehemently disagree with me and welcome ALL comments to this blog regardless of tone, point of view, etc.  Quite frankly, I find that I usually learn more from those who disagree with me than from those who are in accord with my views.  I enjoy reading the works of radical Libertarians like Thomas DiLorenzo and socialists like Christopher Hitchens with whom I clearly do not always agree.  I believe that it is essential and healthy to challenge one's own convictions with the fire of opposing viewpoints.

Both Breivik and Oldman are men of passionate convictions and their example forces us to recall what Nietszche wrote, "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."

Breivik and Oldman call to mind the opening lines of W.B. Yeats immortal poem, The Second Coming...

The Second Coming

                                            "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
                                             The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
                                             Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                                             Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                                             The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
                                             The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                                             The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                                             Are full of passionate intensity."

                                                                                                Composed 1919

Voltaire (see earlier post Voltaire -- Conservative of the Enlightenment, 3/3/12) exemplifies for me the essentially tolerant nature of Conservatism; he wrote that, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."