I was pleased to see that the Fourth of July fireworks display on the National Mall will conclude, according to tradition, with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with carillons and cannons firing. Tchaikovsky’s famous work of course does not commemorate our somewhat abject War of 1812—when the British burned Washington, and all we got in return was Francis Scott Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Overture, composed in 1882, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Russian victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Borodino.
So it’s an entirely appropriate symbolic celebration of victory over the French that we will have on the Mall. Never mind that they were right about the non-existent WMD’s. Never mind that they might actually win the World Cup, a competition in which the USA collapsed early on. We can join hands with Vladimir Putin (looking into his eyes, perhaps) in celebration of the rout of the French. And maybe we can at the same time express our astonishment that five justices of our Supreme Court still give weight to international treaties and conventions. Meanwhile, Bill Frist will take care of that star-spangled banner for you, never fear.