Category Archives: History

Back In LA

I took a little longer to drive back from Phoenix because I did two things that I’ve never done, in all the times I’ve made that trip over the past thirty years. I stopped at the Colorado River in Blythe and walked across, and I stopped and did a quick tour of the Patton Museum at Chiriaco Summit. I’d show the pictures, but I don’t seem to have my card reader with me. I might pick one up at Fry’s tomorrow.

The latter was more impressive than I expected, considering that it’s private, not official. More so on the interior than outside, though. They have a number of tanks out there, in various states of decrepitude and disrepair, and no signs to provide any useful information about them. Still worth a visit, though, for anyone interested in military history.

War Critics Decry Interminable And Unwinnable Conflict

January 15th, 1945

WASHINGTON (Routers) With the “Allied” forces continuing to be bogged down in the Ardennes Forest, many are questioning Roosevelt administration war policies, the unreasonable length of the war, and even whether or not it can be won.

The 7th Army’s VI Corps is waging a desperate, and perhaps futile battle with German troops, surrounded on three sides in the Alsace region. A whole month after the beginning of the renewed German offensive, with almost twenty-thousand American troops dead in this battle alone, there remains no clear end in sight, or hope that the American lines can be closed.

There are serious questions about the competence of Generals Bradley and Patton, concerns that were only heightened shortly after the beginning of the battle, when two armies from Bradley’s army group were removed from his command and placed under that of the British General Montgomery. General Montgomery’s comments in a press conference a week ago have served only to buttress such legitimate doubts. He didn’t even mention their names in describing the limited efforts to recapture lost ground, that remains unsuccessful, with the Germans continuing to take the initiative.

Many point out that these lengthy battles, and lengthy wars, are somehow indicative of a fundamental failure of American policy, not just in waging the war, but in the very decision to enter into it.

“It’s not just that we’re a whole month into this battle with no clear resolution or exit strategy. In a few more months, this war will have gone on as long as the Civil War,” said one Republican critic of the administration. “And that one was Americans against Americans. We should have expected to do much better against Germans. After all, this war has now gone on twice as long as World War I, when we mopped up the Kaiser in a year and a half.” He went on, “It’s clearly the fault of this Roosevelt administration, that lied us into war, and then botched it. I’ll bet that had Tom Dewey won the election a couple months ago, he would have exercised his judgment by immediately implementing his policy of not having entered the war.”

Others disagree. One administration spokesman has said on background that this seems like flawed logic.

“One can’t judge war progress by a calendar. Wars aren’t run on a schedule, and every one is different,” he pointed out. “And neither can one judge the progress of a battle that way, or by the casualty count. Often the heaviest fighting occurs just before victory. Our heaviest losses at Normandy were just before we took the beach and the cliffs.”

“Yes, the fighting is fierce in the Ardennes now, but Hitler is waging a war on two fronts, and he’s down to young boys and old men as soldiers. We will simply have to outlast him, and I’m confident that we will start making serious progress into Germany in a month.”

But war opponents will have none of it.

“This administration has been telling us we’ve been winning for two and a half years, ever since Midway,” said the leader of one of the prominent anti-war groups. After over three years of killing and terror, it’s time to stop the lies, and the war.”

I Wouldn’t Have Guessed That

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

I find arguments (such as Dennett and Dawkins, and Hitchens) put forth that religion is the source of all evil in the world to be tendentious. Much evil has been (and continues to be) done in the name of a god, but the most nihilistic, murderous regimes in history, in the twentieth century, were godless. Belief in God (or lack thereof) is neither a necessary, or sufficient condition for evil acts. The real dividing line, as Jonah points out, is not whether or not one is a deist, but whether or not one is an individualist. Say whatever else you want about a classically liberal society–it might leave some behind, but it won’t murder them wholesale.

I Wouldn’t Have Guessed That

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

I find arguments (such as Dennett and Dawkins, and Hitchens) put forth that religion is the source of all evil in the world to be tendentious. Much evil has been (and continues to be) done in the name of a god, but the most nihilistic, murderous regimes in history, in the twentieth century, were godless. Belief in God (or lack thereof) is neither a necessary, or sufficient condition for evil acts. The real dividing line, as Jonah points out, is not whether or not one is a deist, but whether or not one is an individualist. Say whatever else you want about a classically liberal society–it might leave some behind, but it won’t murder them wholesale.

I Wouldn’t Have Guessed That

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

I find arguments (such as Dennett and Dawkins, and Hitchens) put forth that religion is the source of all evil in the world to be tendentious. Much evil has been (and continues to be) done in the name of a god, but the most nihilistic, murderous regimes in history, in the twentieth century, were godless. Belief in God (or lack thereof) is neither a necessary, or sufficient condition for evil acts. The real dividing line, as Jonah points out, is not whether or not one is a deist, but whether or not one is an individualist. Say whatever else you want about a classically liberal society–it might leave some behind, but it won’t murder them wholesale.

Rewriting History

Is it possible that Hillary! is being less than truthful about her and Rwanda?

I think it’s a lot more likely that she either didn’t advocate action on Rwanda at all, or did so only in passing. If so, this would have to be the definitive example of her attempt to claim responsibility for everything good that happened during her husband’s presidency, while disavowing all responsibility for his mistakes. This was, in my opinion, the most shameful moment of the Clinton administration. It ought, by rights, to have a place in Hillary Clinton’s “thirty five years of experience working for change.” Or perhaps she might claim that she wasn’t that interested in foreign policy at the time, or that for whatever reason she just didn’t pick up on the genocide in Rwanda until it was too late to act. That would at least be honest.

But if, in fact, Clinton missed the chance to urge her husband to help stop the Rwandan genocide, then she should not pretend that she was, in fact, right there on the side of the angels all along. That’s just grotesque.

In a related question, do bears defecate in the sylvan wilderness?

“Grotesque” doesn’t start to describe the former First Couple.

Back To The Drawing Board

Lileks:

I just remembered that I called the Bob Davis show this morning to talk about the new theory re: Moses and the Ten Commandments: dude was high. Apparently a professor somewhere has suggested that the entire experience was the result of a mushroom or some such ceremonial intoxicant. I called to say I didn’t believe it, because if Moses was tripping we wouldn’t have ten commandments. We would have three. The first would make sense, more or less; the second, written half an hour later, would command profound respect for lizards who sit on stones and look at you, because they’re freaking incredible when you think about it, and the third would be gibberish. Never mind the problem of getting the tablets down the mountain – anyone who has experience of watching stoners try to assemble pizza money when the doorbell rings doubts that Moses could have hauled stone tablets all the way down.

Confused

Selena Zito writes that all of the remaining presidential candidates are Scots-Irish.

Really? This is the first I’d heard that Hillary! was of Scots-Irish descent. I’d always assumed that she was from Puritan stock. That’s the way she’s always acted. And Obama is obviously, at best, only half Scots-Irish.

Zito doesn’t seem to quite get the concept, either:

How can there be such scant understanding of a 30 million-strong ethnic group that has produced so many leaders and swung most elections?

Perhaps because political academics and pollsters parse the Scottish half off with the WASP vote and define the Irish-Catholic half as blue-collar Democrats. They are neither.

There is no “Irish-Catholic half” of the Scots-Irish. Scots-Irish aren’t Irish at all. Neither are they Scottish. They were mostly Anglo-Saxon, not Celtic. They were also a violent people with an honor culture, mercenaries from the border area between England and Scotland. As the article notes, they were sent by the English to colonize Ulster, to get them out of Britain after the war between England and Scotland was settled and they had no more need for them. The ones too violent for Ulster were shipped off to America, so they’re a double distillation of the most violent culture that the British Isles produced. After they fought (mostly for the South) in the Civil War, many of them headed out west.

People who think that America is too violent blame it on the proliferation of guns. But they confuse cause and effect. We have a lot of guns because we have a lot of Scots-Irish (aka rednecks). But it comes in pretty handy during war time.