From the Diary of George S. Patton, March 24th, 1945:
Drove to the river and went across on the pontoon bridge, stopping in the middle to take a piss in the Rhine, and then pick up some dirt on the far side, in emulation of William the Conqueror.
George S. Patton was rather upset by the myth that the likes of TIME and LIFE magazines had built around him: “Old Blood and Guts”, the called him, publishing all manner of pictures of him astride this tank, or that command car. One evening not too long after the Battle of the Bulge, Patton’s son-in-law, Fred Ayers, screwed up his courage enough to ask his Uncle George why he put on all the bravado, the cursing, the pistols.
“Okay, Freddy, you asked, so I’ll tell you. In any war, a commander, no matter what his rank, has to send to sure death, nearly every day, by his own orders, a certain number of men. Some are his personal friends. All are his personal responsibility, to them as his troops and to their families. Any man with a heart would, then, like to sit down and bawl like a baby, but, he can’t. So, he sticks out his jaw, and swaggers and swears, I wish some of those pious sob sister at home could understand something as basic as that.” Then, he did smile. “And as for the kind of remarks I make, why sometimes, I just, by God, get carried away with my own eloquence.”
Of course, many of the remarks that Patton made weren’t verbal, even if they were just as eloquent. Some were physical. Many were visual, meant to inspire the men he commanded.
For example, at the very beginning of Operation Torch, and the very landings at French Morocco, Patton noticed that the landing craft were having a difficult time debauching their tanks in the heavy surf. Patton, of course, was the creator of the modern armored division, and knew better than anyone how to unload a tank in the heaving waves near the shore. So, he cast off (once the davits had been fixed after a close encounter with enemy fire) from the destroyer in which he’d set up his command post, and motored up in his little landing vessel. Once ashore, Patton set about to immediately demonstrate how to set the massive timbers, how to arrange the jacklegs and so on, and got soaked doing it. Then he returned to his ship. The tanks were unloaded.
We all are likely familiar with the shots from the George C. Scott movie of Patton driving to the front of an advancing column, getting strafed throughout, dodging bullets and weaving about in his jeep (which he always called “peeps”); or of is famous “traffic cop” scene, in which he’d untangle one convoy from another from atop an oil-drum, riding-crop in hand. These scenes, while Hollywood amalgamations of various documented events, were nonetheless true. Patton believed with all of his heart and mind in leading by example, by displays of courage and resourcefulness, of inspiring by action. He never demanded that those under his command do things he couldn’t bring himself to do.
Which is why he pissed in the Rhine River, when, in March of 1945, he finally was granted the unbridled joy of finally crossing the iconic waterway. His Third Army had raced across France in the high summer of 1944, and was within ten days of delivering Berlin into American hands– until he was stopped in favor of Montgomery’s disastrous plan of entering Germany through occupied Holland, called “Market Garden”. This ill-fated blow led, circuitously, to the Battle of the Bulge, and an thoroughly unneeded, long, tough slog that finally reached it’s zenith there, on the pontoon bridge the army had erected over the Rhine. After the death, slaughter, destruction and single-mindedness that I presume only a combat General can experience, he finally relieved himself on an enemy, quite literally, and in a manner he’d often spoken of doing.
Patton had set his mind upon a single goal: Killing Germans, killing them with dispatch, and shepherding thus his own men to safety. All else was politics, diplomacy and a total waste of time.
Hillary Clinton, despite her vainglorious accounts of landing in Bosnia under “sniper fire”, has never been in a war. Neither have I, as far as that goes. But, I have enough deep respect for those that HAVE been in a war to understand that war isn’t a garden party. It has to be mind-bendingly terrifying at moments, and the vestiges of civilization are swept away in those moments when the adrenaline starts to flow. The minutes must be frozen in the ambers of time, and the niceties of rules and regulations must seem as distant as Jupiter.
Hillary, nor her contemptible Commander-In-Chief, has never led by example in battle. She’s never wore her country’s uniform, she’s never confronted a terrifying enemy intent on murdering her. And yet, there she is: The “Sob Sister” about whom Patton so presciently spoke, getting her very large panties all a-twist, concerned again with what polite society might think of our steely warriors.
United States Marines are among our most magnificent Americans; they are absolutely the best our country has to offer. I could never do what they are asked to do, and do it so proudly, so self-sacrificially. And to hear the likes of Dame Hillary upbraid our warriors for pissing on a few corpses, and to do it with such smug outrage, is damnable. I don’t care what the background circumstances might be. I don’t care about the niceties and rules.
George Patton knew damned well that, when he urinated in the Rhine River, that the very image (a once-iconic image, by the way, which was snapped by enterprising Army photographers, and that has hung in years gone by in innumerable VFW halls throughout the land) he was sending, indeed, a message to Greater Germany: I’m pissing on you. And you deserve it, for the horrific slaughter you’ve unleashed on mankind.
In short, he was pissed off. And I’m still pissed off at the “Taliban”.