Scuttle or Move Your Fleet, Or We Will Sink It

Out on the porch at 8 am, and the sun is just starting to broil. We readjust our chairs to get out of the strong rays, and I am reading a letter to the editor of the Wall St. Journal about World War II.

Letter writer Elliott Hinkes MD, from LA, compares the Lebanese to the French, for their distinctive way of acquiessing to the enemy. As the Lebanese defense minister promised to use their regular army not against Hezbollah, but against the Israelis the situation harkens back to the 40s.

With France overrun by Nazi Germany in 1940, Winston Churchill made a decision to sink the French fleet of warships, anchored off the coast of North Africa, lest it fall into the hands of the enemy. This was after the French had refused numerous entreaties to do the deed themselves, or surrender the ships to the British, or at least moor them in a safe harbor out of the Nazi’s way.

“Almost 1300 French sailors were killed, the fleet was largely destroyed, and the French gallantly responded by immediately and peevishly bombing British-held Gibraltar.”