Pep Talk from the Best
Like Richard Nixon — scandals and character aside, certainly the most interesting president we’ve yet — I love Patton. Like most kids of my generation and my father’s, I know him only through George C. Scott’s rendition.
Good stuff. Partial transcription follows.
Men, this stuff we hear about America wanting to stay out of the war, not wanting to fight, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight – traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.
When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble player; the fastest runner; the big league ball players; the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. 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, not ever will lose a war, for the very thought of losing is hateful to an American.
Imagine my glee when, after the obligatory mid-movie Google search, I found that even this was a little on the tame side. The original, such as it exists, is a lot more graphic.
My men don’t surrender. I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he is hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight. That’s not just bullshit, either.
The kind of man I want under me is like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Lugar against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand and busted hell out of the Boche with the helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German.
All this with a bullet through his lung. That’s a man for you.
And then there were his cuss words.
Don’t forget, you don’t know I’m here. No word of the fact is to be mentioned in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell became of me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the goddamn Germans. Someday I want them to raise up on their hind legs and howl, “Jesus Christ, it’s the goddamn Third Army and that son-of-a-bitch Patton again.”
We want to get the hell over there. We want to get over there and clear the goddamn thing up. You can’t win a war lying down. The quicker we clean up this goddamn mess, the quicker we can take a jaunt against the purple pissing Japs an clean their nest out too, before the Marines get all the goddamn credit.
This is the kind of speech that makes me want to get back into the teaching gig. If only I had both excuse and opportunity.
Oh wait. I do.