Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I just finished the first book of Churchill's history of World War II, which culminates with his rise to Prime Minister as Holland and Belgium are invaded by Germany. You have to love his well-deserved self-confidence, with only a hint of irritation at the stupidity of the rest of the world for not confiding in him more:

"Thus, by the afternoon, I became aware that I might well be called upon to take the lead. The prospect neither excited nor alarmed me. I thought it would be by far the best plan."

"Thus, then, on the night of the tenth of May, at the outset of this mighty battle, I acquired the chief power in the State, which henceforth I wielded in ever-growing measure for five years and three months of world war, at the end of which time, all our enemies having surrendered unconditionally or being about to do so, I was immediately dismissed by the British electorate from all further conduct of their affairs. . . . I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. . . . My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams."

There is the voice of a craftsman who knows his job well and is glad for the chance to do it. It just happens that his job is saving civilization.

No comments: