Towering Illusions

My grandson, at two, recognizes the Eiffel Tower. Our daughter called us to report his new words and to say: "We know where he got this from." I confess. I taught the lad. The Eiffel Tower has a strange appeal to me. That's not surprising. When it was erected in 1889, it was denounced by French critics as American. No worse epithet could be hurled by the French elites.

I will never forget my first view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was a bitter cold night in November, just 44 days shy of the Millennium. Looking out from that 1,000-foot high tower, it is hard to imagine that everything in view could have fallen to a barbaric invader. The tower itself communicates strength and endurance.

We know that France did indeed fall victim to an invader in 1940. Hitler is shown in old newsreels exulting in his only trip to Paris, early in the morning of June 23rd.  As Americans, we are used to viewing the French with contempt. They must have been cheese eaters, weaklings, to collapse so ignominiously before Hitler's panzers. And what was that stupid Maginot Line all about, anyway? What fools. What cowards. Or so we think.

Churchill was no fool, no coward. Churchill placed a high reliance on the courage, strength, and martial skill of the French army. No one was more shocked at its sudden collapse in 1940 than the man who loved France and the French passionately. He even went so far as to propose a union -- a common nationality -- between the French Republic and the United Kingdom if only the French army would carry on the fight against Hitler.

But France had been fatally weakened in World War I, bled white with the loss of 2 million men. For four years, almost all trench warfare had taken place on French soil.

Try to imagine how strong our America would have been in 1920 if we had lost 8 million men in World War I and if the war had taken place with Pennsylvania and everything north and east under German occupation for the duration.

After the war, President Wilson signed the French Guaranty Treaty in which he pledged the U.S. would come to France's aid if she were ever threatened by a vengeful Germany. Yet when the Senate refused to ratify his beloved Treaty of Versailles, Wilson refused to submit the French Guaranty Treaty to the Senate for approval. Worse still, when the Republicans took over Congress and the White House in 1920, they pursued naval disarmament.  Our last WWI veteran, Frank Buckles, has just died. Mr. Buckles spent three years in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines during World War II. That was a war that need not have happened. And our colonial administration made the Philippines vulnerable to invasion because the U.S. had disarmed.

The French had to endure four years of Nazi occupation, 1940-44. They had to suffer the humiliation of seeing Hitler's twisted cross -- the pagan swastika flag -- flying atop their Eiffel Tower. They watched as Hitler's soldiers goose-stepped their way through the Arc de Triomphe every day during the occupation.

Why go into all this now? Because we are today headed by the weakest commander-in-chief in a century. "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child." (Ecclesiastes 10:16) President Obama has no idea how the world works. He has no understanding of how to defend this country. Even now, he is putting out peace feelers to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Even now, he thinks we should let the Islamists put up a victory mosque at Ground Zero. Every day, as the wolves gather, Mr. Obama proceeds to weaken and diminish our military. The strongest Navy in the history of the world is shrinking before our eyes.

When I hear talk of how "weak" the GOP field is for 2012, and read reports in the international press how the really strong contenders for the presidency are taking a pass on 2012, it is deeply troubling. We just assume that the U.S. is impregnable. We just assume that there will be a 2016 election for the really strong ones to take part in.

We should all go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It would be a sobering experience.

Then we might realize that nothing is guaranteed to us. We cannot continue daily weakening the economic, military, and spiritual fiber of our nation without dire consequences. The dollar is about to be replaced as the world currency. This administration persists in trying to buy off our enemies. They are showering money on the PLO.  Marriage is about to be abolished by this administration or its cohorts in the courts.

Do we think our great republic cannot collapse? That's what some pretty intelligent people thought about France in 1940. Can civilized peoples really fall to barbarians? Who else do they fall to? The Eiffel Tower is a good place rid ourselves of our towering illusions.

Robert Morrison works at the Family Research Council.
My grandson, at two, recognizes the Eiffel Tower. Our daughter called us to report his new words and to say: "We know where he got this from." I confess. I taught the lad. The Eiffel Tower has a strange appeal to me. That's not surprising. When it was erected in 1889, it was denounced by French critics as American. No worse epithet could be hurled by the French elites.

I will never forget my first view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was a bitter cold night in November, just 44 days shy of the Millennium. Looking out from that 1,000-foot high tower, it is hard to imagine that everything in view could have fallen to a barbaric invader. The tower itself communicates strength and endurance.

We know that France did indeed fall victim to an invader in 1940. Hitler is shown in old newsreels exulting in his only trip to Paris, early in the morning of June 23rd.  As Americans, we are used to viewing the French with contempt. They must have been cheese eaters, weaklings, to collapse so ignominiously before Hitler's panzers. And what was that stupid Maginot Line all about, anyway? What fools. What cowards. Or so we think.

Churchill was no fool, no coward. Churchill placed a high reliance on the courage, strength, and martial skill of the French army. No one was more shocked at its sudden collapse in 1940 than the man who loved France and the French passionately. He even went so far as to propose a union -- a common nationality -- between the French Republic and the United Kingdom if only the French army would carry on the fight against Hitler.

But France had been fatally weakened in World War I, bled white with the loss of 2 million men. For four years, almost all trench warfare had taken place on French soil.

Try to imagine how strong our America would have been in 1920 if we had lost 8 million men in World War I and if the war had taken place with Pennsylvania and everything north and east under German occupation for the duration.

After the war, President Wilson signed the French Guaranty Treaty in which he pledged the U.S. would come to France's aid if she were ever threatened by a vengeful Germany. Yet when the Senate refused to ratify his beloved Treaty of Versailles, Wilson refused to submit the French Guaranty Treaty to the Senate for approval. Worse still, when the Republicans took over Congress and the White House in 1920, they pursued naval disarmament.  Our last WWI veteran, Frank Buckles, has just died. Mr. Buckles spent three years in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines during World War II. That was a war that need not have happened. And our colonial administration made the Philippines vulnerable to invasion because the U.S. had disarmed.

The French had to endure four years of Nazi occupation, 1940-44. They had to suffer the humiliation of seeing Hitler's twisted cross -- the pagan swastika flag -- flying atop their Eiffel Tower. They watched as Hitler's soldiers goose-stepped their way through the Arc de Triomphe every day during the occupation.

Why go into all this now? Because we are today headed by the weakest commander-in-chief in a century. "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child." (Ecclesiastes 10:16) President Obama has no idea how the world works. He has no understanding of how to defend this country. Even now, he is putting out peace feelers to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Even now, he thinks we should let the Islamists put up a victory mosque at Ground Zero. Every day, as the wolves gather, Mr. Obama proceeds to weaken and diminish our military. The strongest Navy in the history of the world is shrinking before our eyes.

When I hear talk of how "weak" the GOP field is for 2012, and read reports in the international press how the really strong contenders for the presidency are taking a pass on 2012, it is deeply troubling. We just assume that the U.S. is impregnable. We just assume that there will be a 2016 election for the really strong ones to take part in.

We should all go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It would be a sobering experience.

Then we might realize that nothing is guaranteed to us. We cannot continue daily weakening the economic, military, and spiritual fiber of our nation without dire consequences. The dollar is about to be replaced as the world currency. This administration persists in trying to buy off our enemies. They are showering money on the PLO.  Marriage is about to be abolished by this administration or its cohorts in the courts.

Do we think our great republic cannot collapse? That's what some pretty intelligent people thought about France in 1940. Can civilized peoples really fall to barbarians? Who else do they fall to? The Eiffel Tower is a good place rid ourselves of our towering illusions.

Robert Morrison works at the Family Research Council.