This was originally posted on my blog on September 11, 2003, four years ago today. I thought it was worth a re-post:
“As I came into work this morning, I noticed that they were playing the move “Patton” downstairs in a training area in memory of what happened two years ago. If you’ve never heard the opening monologue that is done by the late George C. Scott in this movie, it is fantastic. It is an actual speech made by General Patton to some American troops in England, just before the D-Day invasion. I have posted this speech below, somewhat edited because of some blunt
‘Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. ALL REAL Americans, love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers . . . Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the
Saturday Evening Post, don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating. Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world…Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything, we’ll let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly, and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy…Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, ‘What did you do in the great World War Two?’ You won’t have to say, ‘Well, I shoveled s— in Louisiana.’ Alright now…you know how I feel. . . . I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.’
“Patton was a no-nonsense fighter. To me, this speech embodies the spirit of the fighting soldier. As a former infantryman, it makes me want to scream ‘Hooooaaaah!’ He is the type of General that I would want to be under.
“But I am often torn between my want to win this war that were in with being an instrument of grace. The truth is, I would really like to see Osama bin Laden strung up on a tree somewhere, but could I do that and be an instrument of grace? Would I rejoice if I saw that knowing that he will most likely, outside of the grace of God, go to a sinner’s hell? What should my response be? Two years later and I still want to respond like Patton does here. And the truth is, I’m just not sure what’s right. I realize that I could take it apart with theology and philosophy, but I want much more than that. I want the heart of Christ. So, what would Jesus do?