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The Boutique of Misguided Perception

September 29, 2011

Gunnery Sergeant Brad Colbert:

I think we have this, um, this misguided perception that World War II was this, you know, the Good versus the Evil, very clear-cut.

It was messy and it was ugly and it was just as nasty and ruthless and vicious as what we have in the Middle East.  You just didn’t have a camera there.

From Carlo D’Este, Patton: A Genius for War, (New York: Harper Collins, 1995) pp. 696-697:

After the pincers of the First and Third Armies at last closed the famous Bulge on January 16, Patton drove to the shattered town of Houffalize.  While waiting for bulldozers to clear the highway, he said: ‘Little town of Houffalize, here you sit on bended knees.  God bless your people and keep them safe–especially from the RAF!” (a reference to an order given him earlier that the Third Army was not permitted to attack the town until the RAF was able to bomb the Germans out of Houffalize).  The devastation was worse than Bastogne, the absolute worst he had seen in this war.

Both moved and bitter, Patton composed a Christmas carol to the melody of “O, Little Town of Bethlehem”:

Oh little town of Houffalize
How still we see thee lie:
Above thy steep and battered streets
The aeroplanes sail by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
Not any goddamned light
The hopes and fears of all thy years,
Were blown to hell last night.

Addendum: Sometimes white people go wild.  This crazy cracker made a respectful remark about the value of his time in relation to lunch and then addressed his speeding ticket struggles.

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