Tag: New York Times

Mosul and Churchill’s Wisdom: Put a Lid on It!

Mosul and Churchill’s Wisdom: Put a Lid on It!

Churchill’s wis­dom speaks to us across the years. Take the con­tro­ver­sy of whether we blab too much in advance about mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, like Mosul.

Mosul’s attack­ers. Not often not­ed, many of them are fly­ing the flag of Kur­dis­tan, not Iraq. They are not broth­ers in arms. (CBC)

In the Octo­ber 19th pres­i­den­tial debate, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and Iraqis for­feit­ed “the ele­ment of sur­prise” in pub­li­ciz­ing the com­ing offen­sive against Mosul. This, he insist­ed, allowed Islam­ic State ring­lead­ers to remove them­selves from the dan­ger zone: “Dou­glas MacArthur, George Pat­ton [must be] spin­ning in their graves when they see the stu­pid­i­ty of our coun­try.” Ear­li­er in the week he had asked: “Why don’t we just go in qui­et­ly, right?…

Read More Read More

Churchill’s Favorite Newspapers

Churchill’s Favorite Newspapers

Which news­pa­pers did Churchill pre­fer? I am par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in 1919, when he was Sec­re­tary of State for War and Air. Was he a Times or Tele­graph read­er? —J.W., via email

Await­ing his train at St. Andrews, Fife, cir­ca 1940.

Remark­ably, Churchill  read all the news­pa­pers he could lay his hands on—from The Times to the Dai­ly Work­er, the British ver­sion of which was lat­er renamed the  Morn­ing Star.

He would do this in bed of a morn­ing after break­fast­ing off a tray. He liked to dis­card each sheet of a news­pa­per to the left and right. In the 1940s this infu­ri­at­ed his valet, Frank Sawyers, who made a show of dis­ap­proval as he picked up the sheets.…

Read More Read More

Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Racist still? In “To See Humans’ Progress, Zoom Out”  (The New York Times, 26 Feb­ru­ary 2012), Pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker asserts that for all their faults, edu­cat­ed peo­ple today are get­ting bet­ter:

Ideals that today’s edu­cat­ed peo­ple take for grant­ed — equal rights, free speech, and the pri­ma­cy of human life over tra­di­tion, trib­al loy­al­ty and intu­itions about puri­ty — are rad­i­cal breaks with the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the past. These too are gifts of a widen­ing appli­ca­tion of rea­son.

Fair enough, but to con­trast what edu­cat­ed peo­ple were like in the bad old days, Prof.…

Read More Read More