Tag Archives: War

Lincoln could teach Obama a lot about war…

Abraham Lincoln hated war as much as Barack Obama does. He saw so much more of it firsthand, lost friends in it and waged it on an immensely vaster scale than Obama has. And yet, almost exactly 150 years ago (Aug. 17, 1864, to be precise), he wrote this to the squat, stolid general besieging the town of Petersburg, south of Richmond: “I have seen your dispatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bull-dog gripe, and chew & choke, as much as possible.” And so Ulysses S. Grant persevered.

Therein lies the difference between Lincoln and Obama, which explains much of the wreckage that is U.S. foreign policy in Gaza and elsewhere today. Lincoln accepted war for what it is; Obama does not. The Gaza war is a humanitarian tragedy for Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. It is also a barbaric conflict, as leaders of Hamas hide their fighters behind children while baiting their enemy to kill innocents. But first and foremost, it is a war, a mortal contest of wills between two governments and two societies.

By 1864, Lincoln, Grant and Grant’s no-less-grim lieutenants William Tecumseh Sherman and Philip Sheridan had concluded that their conflict had shifted to what historians call “the hard war.” They knew not only that they would have to destroy the armies of the Confederacy but also that they would have to break the will of the people of the South to wage war. That is precisely what they did — in the siege of Petersburg, the devastation of the Shenandoah Valley, the march through Georgia and North Carolina, a close blockade and cavalry raids deep into the South.

Lincoln understood how to fight a war...And the gentle, humane and often grief-stricken president pushed them hard to do it. When, earlier in August, Grant ordered Sheridan to drive the Confederates from the Shenandoah — which he burned out thoroughly as he went — Lincoln commented, “I repeat to you it will neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day, and hour, and force it.”

 The Israelis, having left Gaza only to be showered by rockets and harried by border raiders, have concluded that they are waging that kind of war. In a rare spirit of unity, they seem determined to break Hamas in Gaza. A more sensible U.S. administration would understand that and stand with our tough little ally, rather than attempt to stop its destruction of this Islamist partner of Iran and enemy not only of Israel but of Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.

The problem is not the reported antipathy between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is that the Obama administration simply cannot accept that war is war. This explains, among other things, the debacle of our Libya policy, in which the administration studiously insisted that its bombing to help overthrow Moammar Gaddafi was not a war and left in its wake chaos that roils to the present day. It explains the administration’s declarations that drone strikes in Pakistan and the assassination of Osama bin Laden had brought al-Qaeda to the edge of strategic defeat — even as the ideology of the group and similar ones has metastasized and Islamist movements have extended their sway in the Middle East and Africa.

It explains our hand-wringing over the slaughter of some 200,000 people in Syria as if it were a massive Ebola outbreak, when what is going on is, in fact, a war pitting Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon against an increasingly Islamized foe. It explains the long, disgraceful appeasement of Vladimir Putin and the administration’s continuing reluctance to say, simply, that Russia is waging war against a sovereign neighbor.

The president famously said in 2011 that “the tide of war is receding” in Iraq and Afghanistan, when in fact all that was happening was that we were (temporarily, perhaps) withdrawing from our wars, which entered new and more violent phases among the people we were leaving behind.

The most curious thing about this president is that he was elected in the midst of three open wars — the struggle against al-Qaeda and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — and several more covert conflicts, including Iran’s long and bloody effort to drive the United States from the Middle East, and yet he could not conceive of himself as a war president. He cannot give the speeches that explain these wars, that call for sacrifice, that bring his domestic opponents along to confront a foreign foe, that rally foreign friends and strike fear in the hearts of common enemies. And he appears to have little capacity for empathy with an ally whose population must seek shelter when sirens wail.

War is war. We may wish that it could be waged like an 18th-century duel, with exquisite protocols and rules, and scrupulously circumscribed uses of violence, but it stubbornly remains what it became in the 19th and 20th centuries: a ferocious struggle among nations. That does not mean discarding the constraints of decency and civilization, but it is a dark truth to be faced. Lincoln understood it; our president today does not.

[by Eliot A. Cohen, writing for The Washington Post]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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USA was designed by geniuses, but….

Designed by geniuses, but...

The following list has been attributed to comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Snopes says Foxworthy is not the author. The original compiler is a man named Fritz Edmunds.

 

1. If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally, you live in a country run by idiots.

2. If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion, you live in a country run by idiots.

3. If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

4. If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

5. If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

6. If an 80-year-old woman can be strip- searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched, you live in a country run by idiots.

7. If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more, you live in a country run by idiots.
8. If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of grade school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable, you live in a country run by idiots.

9. If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you live in a country run by idiots.

 

10. If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working, with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work, you live in a country run by idiots.

11. If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

If you are offended by this article,  you probably voted for the idiots who are running our country into the ground.
[from an article published by GODFATHER POLITICS]
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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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