Monday, January 02, 2006

Winston Churchill: No Softy

Winston Churchill is one of the most highly respected men of the 20th Century. The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill—born November 30, 1874 and died January 24, 1965—was a British statesman, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was at various times a soldier, journalist, author, and politician, and is generally regarded as one of the most important leaders in British and world history. He won the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature. Churchill was voted as history's "greatest" Briton in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002 to identify the "100 Greatest Britons."

Given the reverence in which Mr. Churchill is held in the United States, readers may find it surprising that he planned to execute Adolf Hitler in the electric chair if the Nazi leader fell into Allied hands.

As a story published in The Washington Times by London Sunday Telegraph writer Chris Hastings explains, “Official documents declassified for the turn of the New Year reveal that Churchill was opposed to Allied plans for war-crimes trials and wanted summarily to execute leading Nazi figures, including Hitler, whom he regarded as ‘the mainspring of evil’ and a ‘gangster.’”

The papers also show that Mr. Churchill was willing to "bump off" Nazi Heinrich Himmler and shoot German prisoners of war should Germany begin doing the same to British prisoners. Churchill passionately argued that leading Nazis who fell into British hands should be treated as "outlaws" and shot, rather than be put on trial.

Observations readers often excoriate me for my no-holds-barred, give-them-what-they-deserve position on criminals and terrorists. My belief is that not only do these vermin deserve the worst possible treatment, but that if the U.S. is seen as a nation that will not hesitate to harshly punish those who try to harm us, some of them may think twice about taking on the U. S. or its citizens. Even if that doesn’t dissuade them, at least they’ll get some of their own medicine.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is dancing with the idea that terrorists ought to have access to our court system when the time comes for justice, and that violent criminals ought to be treated better in their punishment than they treated their victims, both magnificently absurd and immensely irrational ideas.

I am gratified that Mr. Churchill had better sense on that issue than many of the softies in the United States.

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