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July 7, 2005
Dafydd: Calling London

When a people are attacked, brutally and without warning, there are two possible responses: they can get up, scamper for safety, and there cower; or they can get up, stand on their own two feet, and hit back with everything they have.

When a people are attacked in their own homes, they can't run anywhere else, so the only alternative is crawling and begging for mercy, doing what they're told, and hoping to be spared. Or they can fight.

We will find out in a few days which path the Britons will take: that of Spain under Zapatero -- or that of Great Briton under Winston Churchill. The terrorists bet on the first, just as they bet in 2001 that we were the America of Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia.

But I'm betting on the second. Once again, the butchers have misunderestimated their expected victims. Of all people in the world, the British are most like us, deep down. Yes, they have been hampered by such close propinquity with Europe and Europeanism. But when it comes down to it, the British are not Europeans.

They are Brits.

I am positive that George Bush will offer anything they need -- but I'm equally sure that Tony Blair will say no, they're perfectly capable of taking care of these swine themselves... and they will. This will serve to galvanize the British public like nothing has since, as the Captain said, the blitz.

First will come the grief, then the inchoate rage, then the smouldering fury that leads to a renewed interest, almost obsession, with stamping out this craven, new threat once and for all. We know. We've been there.

The militant Islamists miscalculated in America, they miscalculated in Australia, and now they have miscalculated in Great Britain. We, Brit and American, will finish the job. There is a reason that English-speaking people have dominated the world for centuries: there is something noble in our culture that will not allow us to give up or give in, an idealistic fever to "let justice be done, though Heaven should fall."

Toby Keith wrote, "this big dog will bite if you rattle its cage." It's a clear statement, but I actually prefer a pithier version, an older version, one we flew on our Navy ships in 1775 and have recently begun to fly again: the original Navy Jack of the fledgling United States, with its thirteen stripes alternating red and white, a superimposed rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the perfect motto for the civilized world in this age of the death-cult of militant Islamism: Don't Tread On Me. The same symbol was painted onto the drums of the first American Marines, superimposed on a yellow background instead of the stripes and later made into the Gadsden flag.

The rattler was once a symbol of defiance against the British themselves, when they were a tyranny. But they have long since thrown off their own chains and now stand as one of the great bulwarks of liberty throughout the world, just as we do. They have been our closest allies since the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, probably the oldest alliance in the world today. Here is an anonymous description, possibly by Benjamin Franklin, of the meaning of the rattlesnake:

She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

And of course, if you ignore the warning and do tread on her, she is deadly.

Rule, Britannia; we've got your back.

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Posted by Dafydd at July 7, 2005 2:34 PM

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