Friday, 26 April 2013

How many Gettysburgs

‘I’d also like to remind our jingo-drunk public that they haven’t the least notion what a war with modern weapons will be like and the only fellows who can even guess are your American survivors from places like Antietam and Shiloh — that’s the only real war there’s been in a hundred years.’ The General pointed an accusing spoon at Mr Franklin. ‘Know how many men went down at Gettysburg? Fifty thousand — and if I hadn’t moved damned lively I’d have been one of ’em. Well, how many Gettysburgs d’you think it will take to settle a scrap between the kind of forces under arms in Europe today? I don’t know — perhaps a month of it would make everyone cry quits, but knowing the sort of clowns who’ll be in command — who are always in command — I take leave to doubt it.’

Mr American, p.520, Pan Books, paperback edition 1982.

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