View Full Version : Upon the Altar of the Nation..Moral History

03-21-2006, 11:13 AM
awesome book...possible Pulitzer prize...author teaches religous history at Yale...thesis is that relion&preachers supported the war & each side said "God was on their side"...civil religion(flags etc) soon took over & obscured the economic&political reasons for it....it is a very disturbing book....even after the war at reunions in the 1880's and on only WHITES reunite...the ex-slave & Black soldiers are excluded.....maybe the Civil War did more to increase racism than to end it!...as he says in his intro"most Americans prefer not to face the evidence of an immoral war,especially when that war in question is the American Civil war".....but it was that war that brought in total war...prison camps...bombing of cities.....years later Sheridan wrote to his ex commander Pres.Grant & said he would attack the Indians in the winter so he could kill all the women,children&braves:"after all" he wrote,"did we not lob shells into Atlanta to kill rebels"....what is a "just" war???.....think of Iraq if you want...

03-22-2006, 04:40 AM



I regret I have lost the name of the author of the following, and cannot find it again:

Why War?

War came because honor demanded it.

Men are compelled by love, loyalty, and a belief in justice, to fight for something in which they believe strongly. All those factors add up to honor, which can only be pushed so far before it demands a correction of grievances. Normally, honorable men can find a meeting point - a compromise, in the best Latin sense of the words (literally, compromise means "with a promise") - that protects everyone's rights while avoiding the necessity for violence. But there are times when no compromise can sufficiently protect the rights of all parties. At that point, there remain three choices: one side or the other can sacrifice some of their rights or decide not to seek justice for the betterment of the whole; the parties choose to make a friendly separation and go their own ways; or they turn to "trial by combat" and hope the best man ("the right," "the just", or just "our side") wins.

The fact of honor is complicated in the case of the Civil War by two other factors: conflicting views of the meaning of the Constitutional Union, and the actual nature of political power.

The first complication is obvious. Southern grievances (whether slavery, tariffs, or other issues of states' rights) were expressed within the belief that the Union was a voluntary collection of states that could be freely broken or re-arranged as the states saw fit. So when the grievances the Southern states felt could no longer be dealt with within the normal process of politics, honor demanded that their rights be upheld by the means left to them - separation from the offending Union. And when the opposing view manifested itself in a willingness (again supported by honor) to fight to maintain that Union, it put the homes and families of Southern men under threat. So honor demanded that Southern men must fight in defense of their homes and families.

At the same time, the Constitutional mandate of the President to preserve, protect and defend the government - the nation - so constituted, along with the clearly defined power in that Constitution to put down rebellion, meant that nation and government were honor bound to do all in its power to maintain that nation and Constitution. And once the flag of that Union had been fired upon, that nation came under attack, and by extension so did the home and family of every man living within its borders. That is the fact of national honor, especially as understood in that era. If you fire upon my flag - whether it flies over my house, or the post office down the street, or in some corner of Asia - you fire on me!

The second complication comes from the fact of political power. Couch it in whatever pretty words you want to use about "consent of the governed" and "will of the people" and "social contract theory" or whatever, when you get right down to it, Mao Zedong was unfortunately quite correct: Political power comes from the barrel of a gun. Law and order are maintained by the threat, and sometimes the use, of force. So you take a nation, mix in whatever issues you want which men believe strongly enough in, throw in love of country and strong sense of justice, and then take away (for whatever reason) the ability to reach compromise.

Now say one party wishes to part company in order to preserve honor, while the other's honor requires that the whole group must be preserved. The issue now becomes who exercises the greater power, and when there is nothing to talk about that power comes from guns. One side will use it to achieve independence from the other; the other side will use it to maintain the union between the two. And the side which uses that power more effectively (or makes the fewer mistakes in using that power) will prevail.

And so the war came - because honor demanded it.

Because honorable men must stand at some point. And when honorable men must stand, they must fight. Otherwise there is no honor left, only shame.

Another way to put it: Men fought that war because they should have.

History, like life, is often a harsh taskmaster.

"Slavery was undoubtedly the immediate fomenting cause of the woeful American conflict. It was the great political factor around which the passions of the sections had long been gathered - the tallest pine in the political forest around whose top the fiercest lightnings were to blaze and whose trunk was destined to be shivered in the earthquake shocks of war. But slavery was far from being the sole cause of the prolonged conflict. Neither its destruction on the one hand, nor its defense on the other, was the energizing force that held the contending armies to four years of bloody work. I apprehend that if all living Union soldiers were summoned to the witness-stand, everyone of them would testify that it was the preservation of the American Union and not the destruction of Southern slavery that induced him to volunteer at the call of his Country. As for the South, it is enough to say that perhaps 80% of her armies were neither slaveholders, nor had the remotest interest in the institution. No other proof, however, is needed than the undeniable fact that at any period of the war from its beginning to near its close the South could have saved slavery by simply laying down its arms and returning to the union." - General John B. Gordon, CSA

03-22-2006, 08:25 AM
But what happens when unjust means are used to fight a war started for "just" means, especially when those unjust means become official policy of one or more of the combatants?

bill watson
03-22-2006, 10:25 AM
Always good to remember that we will likely be bewildered when we attempt to judge the folks who lived in a different time by the standards of our time.

03-22-2006, 10:57 AM
excellent post frenchie...the author mentioned that this was the last "romantic" war....also mentioned the quote "pre-war it is "the United States ARE"..after the war it is "the United States IS"....whatever you say the point is ; honor or no honor was it "moral"???...we all know that being attacked a la dec.7 is a "just" defensive war but what about Early burning down Chambersburg?? was that "morally just"??

03-22-2006, 11:01 AM
Tom: that's what makes this book so compelling...war&religion do go hand in hand...look at Iraq and 'death to the infidels"..look at us & talk about God....same w/Crusades.....it's hard to put the mirror up to your face;especially if you do it to the Civil War...that's his whole point..preachers on BOTH sides used God to justify murder(even Lee who was there when his own soldiers slaughtered Blacktroops that had been captured.

03-22-2006, 11:19 AM
Some observations:

Sherman's "total war" was not a new notion. It was the reintroduction of a very ancient one. History is rife with beseiged cities being bombarded with the technology of the time. When the cities fell, slaughtering the men, enslaving the women and children, and looting everything in sight was SOP. Even when armies battled each other in open fields, raiding the local civilians for "forage" and destroying everything in sight to punish recalcitrant civilians was common.

"Just war" was a notion introduced by the Christian Church after it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. It was an attempt to reconcile the peaceful, even pacifistic, tenets of the religion with the political realities of the time. There has been controversy over it since its introduction.

General Gordon overstates his case, for both the Unionists and the Confederates. We have too many letters and diaries from Union soldiers stating their cause against slavery. I personally doubt that it was the majority opinion, as there is plenty of evidence that many Northerners didn't give a hoot about slavery, one way or the other. It cannot, however, be dismissed as a significant motivator for many. As for the Confederacy, the immediate cause for cessesion was the election of Lincoln, who they feared would bar slavery from the Western territories. They could have served their own cause by freeing the slaves. This would have encouraged Britain and/or France to quickly come to their assistance and (maybe) swelled the depleted ranks of their armed forces. Recently released books have made the case that such plans were put forth, and promptly shot down.

The quote posted by Frenchie is a very accurate presentation of the role that "honor", as it was understood at that time, played in starting the conflict. I wish he could remember the source. Once warfare begins, however, notions of honor are too likely to be sacrificed for the preservation of self and comrades, while the temptation to baser practices becomes quite strong.

A theology professor of mine was fond of telling us, "If you want perfection, die and go to heaven. That's the only place you'll find it. Down here its complicated, confusing and messy. Pray a lot and do the best you can."

03-22-2006, 05:25 PM
the term 'total war" did not exist during the Civil war...but one must use it...by 1864 total war was the North's aim but the South employed it as well(Chambersburg)...commanders all the way up Knew it...it went from a "limited" war by North,war for "Union" to total war for"freedom" and abolition...unlike secession,slavery is not morally ambiguous...after all we seceeded from Britain...did Norway have the right to secede from Sweden or can Chechnya secede from Russia???......that is why this book is called "MORAL HISTORY">....even Evander Law said to Lee at Cold Harbor..."this is not war but murder".......author also says two key terms are "porportionality"(Cold harbor 116 a minute killed) and "discrimination"(civilians caught in the battle) must be considered. Americans were unprepared militarily,politically and morally according to Mr.Stout.

03-22-2006, 09:02 PM
And sometimes it is good to play devil's advocate for the purpose of furthering the discussion.

03-23-2006, 09:33 AM
Si j'avais seulement la moitié d'un cerveau, je parlerais français.

Sorry, The devil made me do it. I really couldn't pass up the opportunity. :twisted:

03-23-2006, 10:46 AM
il faut utiliser son esprit ou le perde. :lol:

03-23-2006, 12:30 PM
this book is non fiction...if you really want to see it the other way read "The March".....but again as the war got bloodier & bloodier there had to be a defense for it....thus the "God is on our side"....or as Lincoln said " only God knows how much blood shall pay the bondsman for 200 years of slavery"....but what also appears is the new "civil religion"...dying for your flag replaces dying for your God...patriotism becomes a quasi-religion...compare to 911 and the reappearance of all the flags etc.....look at the Lincoln Memorial and the two speeches on each side...as close to a temple as possible.

03-23-2006, 03:43 PM
Always good to remember that we will likely be bewildered when we attempt to judge the folks who lived in a different time by the standards of our time.
Yes, but....

Lincoln wrote in his masterful Second Inaugural: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered."

This seems to indicate that even in the period being discussed, there were those who saw the irony of both sides imprecating God to help their cause in war prevail, and an understanding of the moral implications of the war. Just note how Lincoln continues:

"If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Understanding the moral issues of the period can only come by "working backwards" from our present-day morality. We all recognize that slavery is immoral, but there were those on both sides who did not share that opinion. Even Lincoln's understanding of the Negro "problem" evolved from a rather simplistic "send them back to Africa" to something more in keeping with what the situation demanded, even if it meant discomfiting his fellow whites.

I think the right balance in interpreting the past is to understand what forces were at work, and how those forces shaped the lives of the people. I don't believe that means we can't judge them, only that we must leaven that judgement with knowledge and occasionally, compassion.

03-23-2006, 07:16 PM
Ron: :P

johnnyyank: :?:

03-23-2006, 10:56 PM
Bill...good point...read the book...as the author says in his intro,"we cannot judge them as they are dead and don't care"....the bibliography is amazing...this definelty will win a Pulitzer......Lincoln's words have become part of what the author calls "the civil-religion"

04-10-2006, 09:41 AM
Reading your post gave me the impression it was the USA that had invented total war. Total wars had been around far longer than the USA. The European 30 Years War of the 18th Century was a very bloody affair and made the Civil War look tame. The best example of ancient Western total war was the Roman Punic wars. Carthage is still a ruin to this day.

Most of the various pictures of Civil War era ruined cities you see were merely caused by a fire. Massed area bombardment by artillery was not possible until the Great War, World War One. Most of the Civil War artillery damage to a fort took weeks during a siege. If you took 12 x B-52s loaded with a full load of JDAM bombs and did a strike on a Civil War fort the only thing that would be left would be busted bricks and piles of rubble.

The first true modern infantry battles were in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The American Civil War was the last of the Napoleonic type of line battles. Siege warfare, like at Petersburg, had been around for hundreds of years. When the MSM says that Petersburg is "just like Verdun" it just proves they know nothing about rifles and have walked neither battlefield.

There are lots of reasons to fight a war. Lets look at modern America. The left hates the right and vice versa. If this nation was as concentrated, as in 1860 America, into highly political regions there might be a push for dis-union. Example, lets say that the NEA pushed for all children education to be done by the government schools and it was now illegal for private church schools or home schoolers because those two groups of people were not giving proper multi-cultural tolerance courses to their children. Should the citizens with those children fight such an order? Here is another example. Prior to 1980 it would have been impossible for illegal immigrants to actively protest for American citizenship while waving a Mexican flag. In 2006 America some immigration activists are asking for Atzlan (sp?) to be formed from the South West USA. Should Hispanics be allowed to break away parts of the USA and form their own nation? Would you, sir, kill to teach tolerance? Would you, sir, kill to keep the USA whole? Fighting means killing. Would you take a rifle and shoot a father who wants to home school his kids? Would you fire a cannon at Hispanics who wish to have their own government. That is war. You are killing. What is the difference between a WMD that kills people or simply taking a rifle and blowing somebody's brains out? Killing is killing. When you reenact you're playing that you have a cannon or a rifle and if that person does not surrender to your wishes then you'll pretend to kill or injure them.

War is killing and that is the simple fact of life. People have been killing each other since the start of time.

04-24-2006, 07:41 PM
Lincoln said "history will judge us all"...or words to that extent...Pres.Bush said "history?so what....we'll all be dead"......so much for leadership.

04-25-2006, 01:39 AM
Few, if any, people waged "total war" like the Mongols.

From Annals of History, "Invaders: Destroying Baghdad" by Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, April 25, 2005:

"Genghis Khan's armies are said to have killed 1.6 million people in the city of Herat in northwestern Afghanistan in 1222; that's 1.6 million, dispatched with arrows, clubs, and swords."

"For the cities and cultivated places in the Mongol's path, they were a natural disaster on the order of an asteroid collision. Like the Huns and the Scythians before them, they came from the steppe grasslands of central Asia, which produced their great resources of horses and draft animals. After Genghis Khan united a number of Mongol tribes into a single horde under his command in the early 13th century, they descended on cities in China, India, Afghanistan, Persia, Turkistan, and Russia. Between 1211 and 1223, they wasted dozens of cities and wiped out more than 18.4 million people in China and environs alone. (These and other large numbers of victims may have been inspired more by terror than by historical fact.) By the time of Genghis Kahn's death, in 1227, the Mongol empire extended from the Volga River to the Pacific Ocean."

"In 1257 a Mongol general named Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, attacked and breached the walls of Baghdad, then for a period of seven days, the Mongols sacked the city, killing (depending on the source) two hundred thousand, or eight hundred thousand, or more than a million."

The United States of America has had the power to make the Mongols look like amateurs for decades. We have not, and will not, use it to such an end. Those who hate President Bush and would see America brought down by accusing them of genocide, empire-building etc. must deal with the fact that even if the charges were true, Bush and the USA are insignificant pikers compared to the Mongols. We have the most powerful military in history, superior to anything that can be brought against it. We have the power to bring any and all other nations on Earth under subjugation. If one one-hundredth of what the enemies, traitors, cowards, and sniveling brats who endlessly carp and whine were true, we would rule as no emperor in history could ever have dreamed.

Fact of the matter is, we do rule as no dictator could ever have, because of our superior drive, energy, will, and spirit of endeavor. That we have done so mostly in peace, bringing the vitality of our culture and enterprise to the world, even pouring out our greatest largess for our former bitterest enemies and thereby making the world, when all is said and done, a better place, is something the angry leftists cannot bring themselves to contemplate, much less accept. Verily, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

P.S. The referenced issue of The New Yorker has a fascinating article by Adam Gopnik about David S. Reynold's new biography, John Brown, Abolitionist.

04-25-2006, 07:56 AM
O.K. Fine. You don't like the U.S.A. nor President Bush. We get it.

Just try to remember one thing. We thought the World Trade Center bombings was a joke in '93 because the terrorists brought the rental van receipt back for refund of their deposit. It was not so funny the second time around when they came back with airliners.

Terrorists groups are quite forward about their objective. They want the nuclear destruction of NYC. What is my source? They have said it on the news.

Cripes, the present military is voluntary. We know what needs to be done. I don't care that you don't want to volunteer nor that you may not support the American military.

If a person was a young girl and getting an abortion your side says it would die to defend her right to chose (personally, I don't care). If my side sees radical Muslims as a threat to this very nation your side will protest that "we're using too much force."

Why do you even reenact? I said in an earlier post that war is killing. When people start this tripe about WMD they don't have a clue about war.

Do you know how artillery shells kill people? They rip them apart.

When a person is hit in the bowels by a bullet it blows their guts out. They die screaming for their mother.

When soldiers get into hand-to-hand fighting it's like something out of the middle-ages. When somebody is killed by having their skull crushed by a rifle butt is it better than dying from a WMD? Oh, they are still dead.

Want to know how to really win against the Muslims? Play the Waffen SS game. If a soldier is shot then shoot the village. Well guess what? The USA does not play like that. Heck, your side goes off the deep end because some pukes were made to wear panties on their heads. Their side does ritualistic chants while they saw somebody's head off with a dull knife. Ever hear of proportion?

And you think war is a young mans game? Ha! On the war on terror there are over 1600 over-50 men on active duty. There are thousands of over 40 men who have been called up. Can they do the job? Yes. Are we worried? Darn right!!!

Yep, put on the little blue uniform and give a speech to some spectators how "you are fighting to end slavery".

04-25-2006, 10:56 AM
Could that have come from Reminiscences of the Civil War
by John B. Gordon?

Sorry that I did not make it to President Street last Saturday...family business came up.

04-25-2006, 11:10 AM
Want to know how to really win against the Muslims? Play the Waffen SS game. If a soldier is shot then shoot the village. Well guess what? The USA does not play like that. Heck, your side goes off the deep end because some pukes were made to wear panties on their heads. Their side does ritualistic chants while they saw somebody's head off with a dull knife. Ever hear of proportion?

This is my opinion---from an old Viet Nam era vet...I would do to them what the urban legend says "Black Jack" Pershing did during the Phillipine insurrection.

"Once in US history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines about 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of the garrison. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, so "Black Jack" told his boys to catch the perps and teach them a lesson.

Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The US soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs.

All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years."

Pointing a gun into the face of Islamic terrorists won't make them flinch. They welcome the chance to die for Allah. Like Gen. Pershing, we must show them that they won't get to Muslim heaven (which they believe has an endless supply of virgins) but instead will die with the hated pigs of the devil.

I now work at Fort Meade where the trial was for the Sergeant involved in the Abu Ghraib "tortures". I was "tortured" more in basic training!Awww...his dog barked at them and hurt their feelings! Should have hurt lots more than that!

04-25-2006, 09:56 PM
O.K. Fine. You don't like the U.S.A. nor President Bush. We get it.

Amazing. Have my powers of written expression degraded that far? No, sir, you don't get it at all. Obviously we don't know each other. You took from my words the exact opposite of my meaning. As I thought I said very clearly, if the USA wanted to conquer the world, it would be done. That we have not done so is a testament to our great national desire to let others decide for themselves how they will live, provided they do so without enslaving and/or killing each other unjustly. It redounds to our credit, and that is just one reason we are so hated, because we are not murdering monsters.

As for politics and military service, I consider myself somewhere to the right of Barry Goldwater on most issues, have been a Republican since 1972, voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential and congressional election since then, and proudly served (as have my father and brothers) in the US Navy.

<snipped for brevity>

Yep, put on the little blue uniform and give a speech to some spectators how "you are fighting to end slavery".

If you hear someone giving such a speech, come over and find out if it's me, and if the spirit so moves you, engage me in a debate. The 'tators would be entertained and enlightened, and we might have some fun with it too.

04-26-2006, 07:39 AM

I agree with you. My comments were directed at ... the yank . Personally, I agree with your post.

I thought that threat follows what the yank wrote fairly well.

What I really dislike in this hobby are the "falsees". A "falsee" is a reenactor who will claim something like "I think this Civil War is justified to free the slaves" or "we must preserve the union." Then they will have a sticker on their car saying "Peace at any cost" or some such other rubbish. Let me get this straight. A falsee supports a war 135 years past? However, against people who want to remove womens rights, the right to free speech, and the freedom of religion a falsee will protest against the war? Right.

You can't pretent to volunteer to be in the union army then have your real actions do the exact opposite in a real war. Lincoln was very unpopular in the Civil War. However, the union army had near 100% support for him.

Basically we have a lot of people who dislike the current administration so much they are willing to side with people who would openly work towards their own destruction. Worse, they have little respect toward the actual people who do the fighting.

They remind of a part of dialogue in the movie "Hoffa". A Labor organizer says of scabs "a brother will take advantage of the benefits his brother has accrued. But they will do nothing to help.".

Falsees are like scabs. They take advantage of something they have not earned, like liberty, and are only too willing to give those rights away. Don't believe me? Look at France where they having parts of that nation go under Islamic law, sharia law. It's going on in Canada as we speak.

Liberty is cheap if you did nothing to earn it.

04-26-2006, 07:47 AM
MDRebCav needs a little history lesson.
1) The Phillipine insurrection began against the Spanish.
2) It was continued against the U.S. when it appeared to them that that one foreign master had been traded for another.
3) It ended when William Howard Taft became governor and arranged for the Phillipinos to attain a great deal of the self-rule they had fought for, and which the U.S. had stated as one of its goals during the war with the Spanish.

Gen. Pershing may well have done what the quoted author described. His actions, however, are not responsible for the cessation of hostilities. That is an unsupportable leap in logic.

04-26-2006, 12:21 PM
MDRebCav needs a little history lesson.
1) The Phillipine insurrection began against the Spanish.
2) It was continued against the U.S. when it appeared to them that that one foreign master had been traded for another.
3) It ended when William Howard Taft became governor and arranged for the Phillipinos to attain a great deal of the self-rule they had fought for, and which the U.S. had stated as one of its goals during the war with the Spanish.

Gen. Pershing may well have done what the quoted author described. His actions, however, are not responsible for the cessation of hostilities. That is an unsupportable leap in logic.


I said it was an URBAN LEGEND...I never said it was accurate, I only said that I would do something like that to today's Islamic terrorists. No history lesson needed here...

04-26-2006, 02:12 PM
The results are the history lesson. One that should be in mind when speaking of the current situation in the Middle East, terrorists and the support, or lack of it, that they garner. If we act as you dream of, we reinforce the motivations of those already involved, provide their recruiters with more material to work with, and convince the bulk of the population that this really IS a repeat of The Crusades.That damage has already been done, to a great degree, by the stories and photos that emerged from the prisons.

Other examples:

The American Revolution - The more repressive the British government/army became, the more colonists became convinced that independence was a good idea. Enough became convinced and dedicated to gain the outside aid they needed and pulled it off.

The Nazis in Eastern Europe - Originally hailed as liberators from Stalin, they murdered and tortured enough locals that they lost a good number of potntial allies/supporters and gained a decent number of new enemies. (Yes, there were local Nazi SS units recruited. It was the folk who aspired to independence AND would have supported anyone who fought the Russians that were lost.)

The Japanese in SE Asia - Many welcomed them as liberators from European colonial powers, only to be treated just as badly by the Japanese.
Again, potential supporters/allies turned into active or passive resistors, occupying men and materiel that th Japanese could have more effectively employed elsewhere.

Ruthlessness can be, and often is, stupid.

04-26-2006, 02:56 PM
I see "them" as initiating the assaults and thus being the "oppressive" aggressors. We need to meet force with like force in my mind...or even slightly greater force...we are not cast in the roles of the German SS or the British in the Revolution since we are not the originators of the agression prepetrated in these recent events.

The British fired the first shots at Lexington...
The Germans and Japanese killed those who hailed them as liberators....
WE have not fired the first shots nor have we attacked those who would have been our allies.

The terrorists attached our country on 9/11; THEY are the agressors. I knew two people on United flight 93, and I was supposed to have a meeting at the Pentagon on 9/11 which was luckily canceled the day before.

I knew many at the Pentagon that did not return to work on 9/12. Those attacks were an act of war on our country...the problem is that we have no single country to fight, and this is our major problem.

If you are going to fight a war you must be willing to win. Do I think we should attack all Muslims? Of course not! Do I think we should confront those countries who harbor terrorists and their organizations? You bet!

What I said in my earlier post was more akin to "fighting to win"...in Viet Nam we were not ALLOWED to win. Now we must be WILLING to win. I have seen too many men and women returning to Walter Reed Army Hospital who can no longer carry on the fight but who wish us to, to let them down.

Violence is not good but sometimes it is the best alternative, especially when no response in kind to a violence already performed would be construed as weakness or unwillingness to respond. Violence may breed more violence at times, but sometimes it is the only way to stop the cycle. Do I sound pee'd off? You bet I am!

History is written by the victors and I hope we will be the ones writing the history of this "War on Terrorism." But now I wish to get back onto topics of the WBTS...no real bullets flying there anymore!

04-26-2006, 04:06 PM
You can't pretent to volunteer to be in the union army then have your real actions do the exact opposite in a real war.

Unless I'm missing something here... Yes, you can pretend to be someone you're not--that's the very definition of pretend.

Since most Union (and Confederate) soldiers were against allowing women to vote or sit on juries, against legal equality for African-Americans, and similar unpopular positions today, it would be very difficult to get the numbers necessary in the hobby, if every participant were required to hold, for real, the same political viewpoint as the person he was portraying. Quantity aside, I don't see quality of the hobby improving either, if we limit CS reenactors to people who would willingly kill modern US soldiers.

If you think that someone is grabbing too much reflected glory by putting on a costume and playing a role, then I think you're giving way too much credit to the value of costumes and acting.

Hank Trent

04-26-2006, 07:21 PM
Dear sir:

I am one of those people who dislike the current administration dislike the current war and I REENACT. I HAVE ALSO WORN THE REAL UNIFORM AND COMMANDED MEN THAT WORE THE REAL UNIFORM. I served this country to give all citizens to right to among otherthings disagree with the government and to speak out both in support and in dissent. IF THAT RIGHT NO LONGER EXISTS IN THIS COUNTRY THEN I WASTED MY TIME DEFENDING OUR CONSTITUTION and this nation upon which it is founded.

Having said that I dislike this war, I fully support the job that our soldiers are trying to do. Once we toppled Hussien, we had no choice to stay the course until a new government could be formed. My major beefs with the adminstration over the war are two-fold. First, as bad as Hussien was, without the non-existent weapons of mass destruction he was not an immediate threat to the security of the United States and even with them he did not have the means to deliver them to our soil. (As crazy as Hussein was, he would not have used terrorist groups as delivery mechanisms simply because they were just as likely to use those weapons to overthrow him as well as attack us. Remember, Saddam molded himself after the supreme master of parania itself - Stalin.) Now that we have committed our world political capital and severely tied up our forces with Iraq, we have severely limited our options with Iran who is developing weapons of mass destruction, actively supporting Islamic fundamentalism based terrorism, and has publically announced that they will export nuclear technology to other Islamic states such as in the Horn of Africa - such stable countries as Sudan and Somolia. Second, once the decision was made to take up Saddam, pre-existing plans were thrown out for a "new" strategy that lacked sufficient resources, U.S. or International, to quickly stabilize the country and start immediate restoration of destroyed infrastructure our front-line troops defeated Saddam's regular forces.

I greatly respect those that have served in the Armed Forces and hold their lives dear. Again, I have had men's lives in my hands in the past. My attitude has always been that the military is sworn to protect this country with even their lives. It is their sworn duty. However, it is also the sworn duty of the President to make D*MN sure that, when these men and women are required to give up their lives in this manner, those deaths were indeed necessary. It is here where I have the most fault with this adminstration. Well before Bush was initially elected, I watched as more and more members of Republican Right called for Saddam's removal by any means necessary. They were uspset because, in their eyes, Saddam was basically thumbing his nose at us. Having seen this momentum build during the latter years of the Clinton Adminstration, I am not surprised that Bush and his team were looking for an excuse to go after Saddam, and Bin Laden gave Bush the perfect excuse with 9/11 - even though many in the intelligence community were questioning the WMD assumptions and openly contradicting the Saddam/Bin Laden linkage repeatedly alluded to by Bush et al.. And then there is the failed attempt to assassinate Bush Sr. In other words Bush had a personal agenda from day one against Hussein and this resulted in our country going to war and becoming immersed in what is in real danger of exploding into a full-scale sectarian civil war. When your decisions literally determine the very lives of hundreds and thousands of service men and women, there is NO room for personal agendas - only the security of the United States. Bush severely failed here. Furthermore, because of the effects of our invasion of Iraq and our continued presence there on the radicalization of fundamental muslims and the recruitment of such organization, if anything, he has actually made it less secure for Americans abroad - despite the valent efforts of our troops.

04-27-2006, 02:05 AM
It has been said that opinions are like anal openings: Everybody has one, and some of them can be rather odiferous. :wink:

Please note that the above is not aimed at Mr. Pritchett, but is only a general statement of our times.

That being said, I'll offer my opinion on the current state of affairs.

The US military has done superbly when called upon to do what it is meant to do; fight a war. Both in the overthrow of Saddam and each of the following actions against strongholds, it has performed exactly as designed.

The problem is that we are asking the military to do a job it is not cut out to do, namely "keeping the peace". Such activity turns a well trained, agressive force into a passive entity, allowing the enemy to determine when and where it will strike, and causing us to be reactionary instead of "actionary". I understand why it is so, but it's not what these people are generally trained to do.

The only way any military in the past has been successful in "keeping the peace" is by using the idea of Pax Roma...in effect, letting it be known that if you step out of line, you are dead, dead, dead, and by the cruelest means that we can devise. And not only you, but your family, friends, aquaintances, and quite possibly anyone who has ever spoken to you. And we really don't care if we're right about their guilt by association or not, as long as it convinces others not to do what we don't want them to do. If innocent people are hurt/killed in the process, we really don't care,so long as you learn to behave like we want you to. Period.

Obviously, the USA does not work this way, and so we can not hope to see the immediate results we all wish would have happened. Neither this country, nor Western civilization in general, has the stomach to "ensure" immediate peace in the Middle East.

Western Europe couldn't even learn the lessons of WW2, and followed the "Chamberlain formula" again with Serbia, with the same, predictable results. The fools never learn, and so are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again out of wishful thinking and lack of fortitude.

The lessons of history are there to be learned. They only require the collective wisdom and fortitude to be enacted. But we won't, because we are too nice to do it, and we care about what others, and ourselves, think of us. We insist on playing by the rules in a game our enemy insists has no rules. That makes it tough to win the "peace".

One of the greatest strenghts of this country of ours is that, when we have done what needs to be done, using as much force as it takes to do it swiftly and decisively, we return to being the nice guy, even to our former enemies. No other nation in history has done that the way we do.

But we must also be aware that unitl the fighting is over, we must sometimes do things we'd rather not have had to do. Sometimes it's the only way to ensure that we don't have to do it again any time soon.

So much for my $0.02 worth.

04-27-2006, 08:34 AM
The comments were for Jonnyyank, not you.

I've been given my warning orders so my number came up. ARPERCEN (PERSCOM) lives.

I'm really tired of people who slam the present USA. It's good that you did your time. I'm just tired of the falsees in the hobby. And since you wore the real uniform you're not a falsee.

Regarding the war with Islam we're far from being mean enough. Like I wrote earlier, we should play the Waffen SS game. Anyway, Islam is a threat to all Western Civilization. The Civil War soldiers were extremely Christian and they never would have tolerated the garbage we tolerate from Islam now. I said years past the West has a fifty-fifty chance against Islam. I don't think any Washington politician has a good way for fighting the war.

Yep, like a person said, Civil War reenacting is pretend. I'm sure that $3 per gallon gas will help attendence at events.

05-06-2006, 08:04 PM
ca4penn: have you read the book?........what's all the bull about war? I didn't say it the author did......and what's all the crap about wmd's etc???....all I said is what the president said about HISTORY......why do you react???? hope it relates to giving a good decent historical perspective as how it was in 1862......to say as he did "who cares we'll all be dead"basically means we're all idiots for reenacting................as for the war stuff, did you serve???

05-06-2006, 08:56 PM

It has been said that any event, however insignificant, may be made to seem inevitable and history-defining by a competant historian.

I may read the book in question, but probably not. Like "Attack & Die", and Paddy Griffith's tome on Civil War Combat, this book seems more to be a volume of facts garnered to support a conclusion already reached by the author, rather than an objective review of historical events and attitudes.

In other words, the author believes in a certain point of view, and will write his book to reflect that attitude, ignoring or lessening those facts and opinions which digress from the stated objective. Much of today's literature is of the same vein. In fact, I suspect that this volume may well have begun life as a Doctoral Dissertation. It would be interesting to research the author and see if that's the case.....

I pretty much detest moralistic authors. Virtually all of them refuse to allow facts to get in the way of their story.


05-06-2006, 09:19 PM
I saw a very real statement on the side of a hum-vee heading South after the flood in New Orleans, Freedom is not free. The people who voice the loudest concern are usally the ones who have done less and in some cases nothing. Its nice to live in a country where even if you don't like each other you have they right to speak your mind. WE have for a number of years 200 plus to enjoy the labor and the thoughts of others now you may not agree with the present but we are truily at war. We as a country lost more people 911 than we did at Pearl Harbor, Ask Japan what happen to them, liberal elites have a place in this country just the same as a conservative republician here in the great state of Kentucky. I view them as the conscience of the conservative right. They do make you think about the other opinion which is what made this country great, because we all have a opinion plus the right to vote. Think about what we have to complain about 3 dollar gas, health care, the list goes on, What I'm concerned about is the fact that we as a nation we have lost our manners. In some cases the response to opinion, borders on rude. Manners never went out of style.

Lyons Battery

05-07-2006, 07:01 PM
"was the CW just"?

both sides thought so


21 Southern cadets at west point stayed for Union...all at Princeton went home

for a real critical review go to www.ehistory.osu.edu/reviews.....this site has over 120,000 pages of letters,diaries etc from the Civil war

in the end the author doesn't say how the war should have been fought....."oughts&actualities"

cpenn: how can you judge me?try reading.

05-08-2006, 08:26 AM
Waffen SS: try Waffle House SS

05-14-2006, 05:33 PM
Thanks to johnnyyank for the link. With their search engine I was able to quickly locate a couple reports describing actions where an ancestor participated. The site has many features I can add to my classroom resources, as well.