Tag Archives: abraham lincoln

How many generals would Lincoln have fired to win in Iraq & Afghanistan?

Summary: After eleven years our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced no gains for America, despite the expenditure of money plus our troop’s work and sacrifice. Generals rotated in and out of senior command to punch their tickets, but unrelated to their actual performance. What would Lincoln have done?  This is #9 in a series about the rot at the top of our military; at the end are links to the other chapters.

“As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”
— “A failure in generalship“, Paul Yingling (Lt Colonel, US Army), Armed Forces Journal, May 2007

In the field Grant wore a private’s uniform and coat.

An essential step to winning the Civil War:
…..firing generals for poor performance

John C. Fremont was relieved by Lincoln on 2 November 1861 for exceeding his authority by issuing an emancipation order (this might have pushed slave states in the Union to join the Confederacy). He was later given new commands. He resigned his command on 26 June 1862, declining to serve under General Pope. He remained on the bench for the rest of the war.

John Pope was relieved of command on 12 September 1862 due to his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Don Carlos Buell was relieved on 24 October 1862 by General in Chief Henry W. Halleck, who said “Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactivity of some of our armies and generals.”

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A thought for and about Memorial Day

Summary:  Memorial Day should not be a time for self-congratulation or celebration. What is it about?

 

Not all the deeds done by our troops have been glorious, nor have all their missions been just or even good.  But that is our responsibility, as the citizens of the United States.  Our men and women in uniform served this nation.  Most contributed their time and energy.  Many contributed much more.  Some contributed all they had to give.

That’s what we should remember on this day.

 

Speech by President Lincoln

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
19 November 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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American faux history: could we have avoided the Civil War?

Summary:  The campaign of Ron Paul reminds us of two of the three great lies that comprise such a large fraction of American history: slavery, stealing land from the Indians, and the role of government in US economic development.  These not only exacerbate divisions in our society but provide a weak foundation for us — preventing us from clearly understanding our past and charting a course for the future.  Here we take a brief look at slavery, part one.  Tomorrow see Why did the South leave the Union?

Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, {Lincoln} should not have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the Republic. It was that iron fist … Slavery has phased out in every other country of the world. The way I’m advising it should have been done is like the British Empire did, buy the slaves and release them. How much would that have cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean the hatred and all that existed.
— Ron Paul on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, 23 December 2007 (transcript here; Paul forgets that slavery was not phased out in Haiti}

The American civil war is one of the most intensily studied events in US history, so that a layperson can only touch a small part of it.  But some aspects of its history are so clear we need not read the whole to find the answer.  Such as a reliable guess as to whether we could have avoided the Civil War.

The easy answer is yes.  With perfect foresight anything becomes possible.  Would Russians have supported Lenin in 1918 if they knew what the future held for them?  Would foreknowledge of 1945 have changed the way Germans voted in 1932, when they gave the NAZIs a plurality?  Much of American revisionist history — mythology to support politics — assumes that people can in effect know the future.  With such perfect knowledge we could have avoided the civil war and won in Vietnam.  They believe counter-factuals should guide our actions, not actual history.

Unfortunately history operates differently, so the opeational answer is no.  The civil war had deep historical roots, so only massive tinkering with time could have prevented it.  Here we examine some of those factors.

Contents

  1. Two reasons why the Civil War was the only path for America
  2. Paying to buy the slaves
  3. Would slavery have died out soon without the war?
  4. What about the British colonies in the Caribbean?
  5. For More Information

(1)  One reason why the Civil War was the only path for America

To see two reasons why the civil war as unavoidable, see “The Economics of Emancipation” by Claudia Dale Goldin (Prof Economics, Harvard), published in The Journal of Economic History, March 1973.  She looks at US the economics of slavery and emancipation in the US and other western hemisphere nations.  It’s a comprehensive rebuttal to the faux history so eagerly believed by American conservatives, such as Ron Paul.

Here we look at two aspects of Goldin’s paper, slaves as a capital asset and the determination of southern whites to avoid a multi-racial society.  This is only an excerpt from her well-researched article.

This paper illuminates one particular aspect of the theme of this session, property rights in man. It will deal with various emancipation plans: those actually enacted in various slave societies; those discussed by legislators who debated slave and antislave proposals; and those which, being purely fictional, have become part of counterfactual history.

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