PostHeaderIcon Artful Arguments

…and the sweet sound of silence!

Do you ever get sick and tired of those who denigrate our country and accuse us of exploiting weaker nations? Does having the Marxist fool in our White House running around the world, apologizing for our arrogance and bowing to petty tyrants tighten your jaws? Do you happen to disagree with him, and embrace American exceptionalism? There is an art to making that argument, and never time to set up the teleprompters when an opportunity presents itself. Here is a collection of the fine art of subtle argumentation rewarded by embarrassed silence, which has been assembled by an unknown author:


Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 1960s when Charles de Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO. de Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded, “Does that include those who are buried here?”

De Gaulle did not respond. You could have heard a pin drop.


When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ’empire building’ by George Bush.

He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?”

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”

You could have heard a pin drop.


Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”

The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible.. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!”

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.”

You could have heard a pin drop.


8 Responses to “Artful Arguments”

  • Greg says:

    I don’t know whether this was pointing out stupidity by others, or making good arguments on the other guy’s end (stupid AS brain not being able to tell >.<). Along the former lines though…

    Don't get me started on Bushisms xD

    There were a few good ones I've heard on the stupidity end of things:

    Random Senator (Forget his name), talking to Admiral Mike Mullen, on the Armed Forces Committee: "My concern is that if you add too many troops to Guam, the island may tip over and capsize."

    Response from Mullen [hiding laughter]: I don't think there's any problem with that, sir.

    Senator from Maine [forget her name], On the Secret Service Scandal: "[person x] is a really take charge sort of a person. I bet if there had been more women on the service detail, this problem would not have happened."

    My gut reaction to that is, "Well, statistically, that IS true."

    There's also Dan Quayle's forgetting how to spell potato, but my favorite one was this.

    Dan Quayle was trying to remember the motto of some organization (Forget its name), which was "A mind his a terrible thing to waste." — It came out, "It's a terrible thing to lose one's mind."

    • Here is something you probably never knew about the Quayle spelling bee brouhaha. He actually agreed with the kid; but he was holding up a flash card, provided by the school, with a picture of a potato on the front, and the word POTATOE misspelled on the back. I watched it on TV the day it happened, which was back when video editing was a tedious process, and they tended to run longer clips of such events on the news. He was as flummoxed as the kid was, even turned to the teacher with a puzzled look on his face, and obviously was wondering if perhaps he had been spelling it wrong all those years.

      To his credit, he laughed it off, and didn’t make a big deal out of trying to defend himself. It actually became somewhat of an endearing joke, which he would play along with and quip about. Whatever one thinks of an individual and his politics, it strains credulity to suggest that man could obtain a JD degree, pass the bar, practice law, serve two terms as a Representative, be in his second term as a Senator, when elected Vice President – and actually be an idiot. â—„Daveâ–º

  • Greg says:

    I never said he was stupid. In fact, both the Quaylisms and Bushisms made them kinda endearing to me, though I didn’t like their policy. You obviously have to be a smart man to be a President 🙂

  • Daedalus says:

    I believe the cards were of English origin where “potatoe” is the correct spelling.

    • Ah… that makes sense, John. The Brits do have a peculiar way of speaking and spelling plain ‘English’ words, don’t they? My partner in our Montessori school is an expat, and I often find it necessary to correct her English. 😀 â—„Daveâ–º

      • Troy says:

        Yes, I myself have found it odd that the supposed originators of the language make so many mistakes in its spelling and its pronunciation.

        Must we Americans fix EVERYTHING for them?

        I also find the behaviour of my neighbours a bit odd at times.


  • Troy says:

    One cannot help but notice that several of these quips involve Frenchmen. While I appreciate the fact that they saved our bacon at Yorktown and also that I have enjoyed visiting their county, they nevertheless have an arrogance that is unjustified by anything they have accomplished in the past 200 years.

    It is also true that France has been the repeated victim of German aggression.

    Ergo, I have long suggested the perfect punishment for both these errors… the next time Germany invades France, they should be forced to keep it. And try to run it.


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