Getting One-Upped

We have all witnessed at one time or another a situation where someone got one-upped by a competitor, rival or even a friend in a situation.  They thought they had everything wired just the way they wanted it to obtain their desired goal and then, wham, something happened or was said that put them back in their place.  These are usually fairly harmless little events in the course of life but they can provide amusement or education for the observers.    Even the rich and famous have these faux pas on occasion and get left in the dust by another.

Shortly before D-Day in June of 1944 word by rumor was leaked to Ike that Churchill was planning on being on a British ship off the coast of Normandy.  He wanted to be a on a fighting ship that fired the salvos against the German defenses and be there as the troops hit the beach.  Churchill wanted to smell the cordite in the air and feel the jar of the big guns firing aboard ship and hear the roar and blast of those big guns.  In a word he wanted to be in the “action” with the sailors and troops.  He was in his late 60’s by this time and had been Prime Minister since May of 1940.  He was the Voice of Britain and recognized to have bull-dog tenacity in fighting the War.   Ike was very concerned.  The risk of death or injury to Churchill would be devastating to the Allied cause.

Ike called Churchill and asked him if he did plan to be there on a ship.  Churchill told him yes.  Ike tried to dissuade him from doing that pointing out the obvious danger and the blow to Britain if he were injured or killed.   Churchill was an old Navy man and had been an infantry officer for a short while during WWI and he told Ike it was very important to morale that he be there with the sailors and troops and that this was the most significant event in history and he wanted to be part of it.  Ike went so far as to say he would prevent him from getting on board any ship.  Churchill reminded Ike that he had been First Lord of the Admiralty and he was sure he had enough contacts in the Royal Navy that someone would allow him on board.  Ike still insisted.  Churchill threatened to call Roosevelt and tell him what he was going to do and go over Ike’s head in the chain of command.  Ike responded that he would resign if Churchill was successful in persuading Roosevelt.   They ended the conversation at loggerheads on the issue.

Ike was so concerned that later he placed a call to George VI and told him of Churchill’s plans and told the King that he should not be allowed to do that.  The King told Ike that Churchill was very bull-headed and the King was not sure what he could do.  The King did agree that it was not a good idea for Churchill to be exposed that way to harm.   The conversation ended with no resolution other than the King agreeing it was a bad idea.

Shortly thereafter the King called Churchill and asked what is this he heard about him being on board a ship for the invasion.  Churchill made the same reply to the King as he had to Ike.  He was the leader, it was a historic event and it was important that the sailors and troops knew he was willing  to share the risks with them.  It was a matter of leadership according to Churchill.  They bickered a bit about the question and when the King asked flat-out for a commitment not to go, Churchill demurred and repeated his argument about this importance of the troops knowing he was there with them.

The King then replied that Churchill was right.  It was important for the leaders to be there with the troops to show they were willing to accept the risks with them.   The King then said he should be there too along with Churchill and asked Churchill when they would be boarding ship.  There was a pause on the other line.   Churchill finally replied that the King had made his point.   There was no conceivable way the Prime Minister would expose the King to that danger and he knew if he went he could not force the King to remain ashore in Britain.  Churchill was one-upped by the King.

The recently fired MMS administrator was Elizabeth Birnbaum.  A Havard lawyer who specialized in environmental law and had worked for various government agencies and NGO’s prior to her appointment.  We should have known that would not end well.  How many young Jewish ladies are in engineering school to be petroleum engineers or petroleum geologists at the major universities? One?  I doubt even that.  They should have appointed a good ol boy from Purdue, Okla. St. or Texas A&M who had some experience in the industry.  Someone who knows a little about how they explore for and develop oil and gas wells.  That would be nice for too logical and non-political for the Washington types.


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Filed under Culture, Environment, history, military history, Politics

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