Our Dirty Little Wars

And the history lesson continues…..

America is fighting dirty little wars all over the globe…..and it is nothing new!

Our history is choked full of dirty little wars….a long history…..

Americans in combat, from colo­nial times to the present day, have almost always faced unexpected enemies—foes from different cultures who fought in unfa­miliar ways. Those intercultural contests also very often produced asymmetric warfare, simply because the enemy brought to bear different modes of recruitment, equipment, engagement, notions of acceptable conduct, and crucially, different definitions of success or victory.

Such wars and such foes usually contradicted expectations and assumptions about combat, and generated a different medley of experiences, sometimes with traumatizing effects.

Duncan Cameron, a British soldier fighting at Monongahela in 1755, later recalled the extremity of that battle, deeming it “the most shocking I was ever in”— this from a man who had already served in the horrendous battles of Cartagena, Dettingen, Culloden and Fontenoy. Fontenoy, fought between the British and French armies, was one of the bloodiest until World War I. As many as 18,000 men out of 100,000 who fought on both sides were killed or wounded on that single day in 1745. Yet, for Cameron, Monongahela proved worse, not because of the sheer number of men killed or wounded but because of its unsettling nature.

War, Cameron learned, wasn’t just in front of you or waiting for you at the top of a hill marked by an enemy standard. It was everywhere and nowhere. It was the strange primeval forest of the New World, the enemies’ ululating war cries, the flickering of deadly shadows moving and firing among the trees, combined with the agonized pleas of the wounded and dying men, some scalped, whom the living abandoned on the battlefield or along the retreat route. A terrifying four-hour battle against invisible irregulars had rendered two-thirds of the British force casualties and mortally wounded its commander, Major General Edward Braddock.

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2021/05/16/dirty-little-wars-americas-long-history-of-fighting-asymmetrical-conflicts/

And yet with all that history of asymmetrical warfare….the US seems to always be caught off guard and the handling of these foes seems to be a lesson we have to re-learn with every conflict.

“When will we ever learn?”

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Who Was The First West Point Grad To Die In Combat?

First some sad news on this holiday……

Two people died and an estimated 20 to 25 people were injured in a shooting outside a banquet hall in South Florida, police said. The gunfire erupted early Sunday at the El Mula Banquet Hall in northwest Miami-Dade County, near Hialeah, police told news outlets. The banquet hall had been rented out for a concert. Three people got out of an SUV and opened fire on the crowd outside, police director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III said. Authorities believe the shooting was targeted, per the AP.

200 mass shootings so far for 2021……A situation that has become all too common in this country…..and yet few care.

It is Memorial Day…that time when we remember all those that gave their all in service of the country.

Best*}Memorial Day Pictures / Memorial Day Pics - Happy Mothers Day | Memorial  day quotes, Memorial day thank you, Memorial day pictures

For that reason I would like to present a warrior who was the first West Point grad to die in combat….

Cadet of the Military Academy, June 15, 1808, to Mar. 1, 1811, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to Ensign, 1st Infantry, Mar. 1, 1811.

Served: on the Northwestern Frontier, 1811-1812; and in the War of 1812-1815 with Great Britain, being engaged in Captain Heald’s desperate engagement near Ft. Chicago, Ill., Aug. 15, 1812, with a vastly superior force of savages, two of whom he slew in a hand-to-hand fight, but, while upon his knees as he had fallen faint from his bleeding wounds, still wielding his sword, he was himself killed in combat, Aug. 15, 1812: Aged 28.

George Ronan was the first West Point graduate to be killed in action. Because many of the American dead and wounded were civilians, the engagement is usually referred to, certainly in Chicago itself, as the Fort Dearborn Massacre, but it did not occur at the fort, rather some distance south of it; the fort had been evacuated and the Army was trying to lead the civilian inhabitants to safety in Indiana, when they were ambushed. The sites of both fort and massacre are within the present city limits of Chicago.

https://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp

Remember those that gave their all for the country….a moment of silence would be nice….

Memorial Day is a day to seek peace | The Seattle Times

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Those Humiliating Surrenders

The weekend and what better time to throw some history at you?

The one thing that every commander hopes he/she never has to perform….a total surrender to the enemy….there have been ten surrenders that were extremely embarrassing and humiliating…..

On April 13, 1861, the US Army installation known as Fort Sumter located at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, surrendered to the rebellious forces of the fledgling Confederate States of America after a bombardment. The next day, the fort was surrendered to the Confederates with no men killed on either side. While the armed forces of the United States have been overwhelmingly successful over the course of many wars and conflicts, there have been those inevitable times with failure has resulted in the humiliating surrender of American military personnel and/or installations or ships. Today we address some of the most humiliating such incidents. Feel free to nominate other such incidents that we could have included on our list. (There is no significance to the order in which the incidents are listed.)

1. Fort Sumter, 1861.

Fort Sumter was built in response to the War of 1812 as part of the effort to protect the American coast against foreign invaders.  It was not really completed when South Carolina became the first state to secede in 1860, although the fort was fairly imposing at it was.  The garrison of 85 Union soldiers were faced by about 600 Confederates, and the prospect of constant bombardment with no way of reinforcing the fort or replying in a meaningful way.  The supplies of food were also dwindling.  An attempt to resupply the fort by an unarmed merchant ship was stopped by Confederate shore batteries.  After a day of bombardment, Major Robert Anderson saw no reason to get his men killed with no hope of victory and surrendered his fort.  The Battle of Fort Sumter is usually regarded as the first battle of the American Civil War, an inauspicious beginning for the Union.

10 Most Humiliating American Surrenders

Any thoughts?

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Diplomacy Is A Must!

Since 1904 a major tool of the US foreign policy has been what has become to be known as ‘gunboat diplomacy’…..

Good old TR gave us this idea……

Gunboat diplomacy is an aggressive foreign policy applied with the use of highly-visible displays of military—usually naval—power to imply a threat of warfare as a means of forcing cooperation. The term is typically equated with the “Big Stick” ideology of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the globetrotting voyage of his “Great White Fleet” in 1909.

The concept of gunboat diplomacy emerged during the late nineteenth-century period of imperialism, when the Western powers—the United States and Europe—competed to establish colonial trading empires in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Whenever conventional diplomacy failed, fleets of the larger nations’ warships would suddenly appear maneuvering off the coasts of the smaller, uncooperative countries. In many cases, the veiled threat of these “peaceful” shows of military force was enough to bring about capitulation without bloodshed.

The fleet of “Black Ships” commanded by U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry is a classic example of this early period of gunboat diplomacy. In July 1853, Perry sailed his fleet of four solid black warships into Japan’s Tokyo Bay. Without a navy of its own, Japan quickly agreed to open its ports to trade with the West for the first time in over 200 years.

https://www.thoughtco.com/gunboat-diplomacy-4774988

The US has been in one war after another….both big and little…..since those days.

War sucks needed funds out of the treasury and for what?

What we need now is diplomacy not war.

Diplomacy?

Diplomacy has probably existed for as long as civilisation has. The easiest way to understand it is to start by seeing it as a system of structured communication between two or more parties. Records of regular contact via envoys travelling between neighbouring civilisations date back at least 2500 years. They lacked many of the characteristics and commonalities of modern diplomacy such as embassies, international law and professional diplomatic services. Yet, it should be underlined that political communities, however they may have been organised, have usually found ways to communicate during peacetime, and have established a wide range of practices for doing so. The benefits are clear when you consider that diplomacy can promote exchanges that enhance trade, culture, wealth and knowledge.

For those looking for a quick definition, diplomacy can be defined as a process between actors (diplomats, usually representing a state) who exist within a system (international relations) and engage in private and public dialogue (diplomacy) to pursue their objectives in a peaceful manner.

Diplomacy is not foreign policy and must be distinguished from it. It may be helpful to perceive diplomacy as part of foreign policy. When a nation-state makes foreign policy it does so for its own national interests. And, these interests are shaped by a wide range of factors. In basic terms, a state’s foreign policy has two key ingredients; its actions and its strategies for achieving its goals. The interaction one state has with another is considered the act of its foreign policy. This act typically takes place via interactions between government personnel through diplomacy. To interact without diplomacy would typically limit a state’s foreign policy actions to conflict (usually war, but also via economic sanctions) or espionage. In that sense, diplomacy is an essential tool required to operate successfully in today’s international system.

“Clearly what is needed is diplomacy and negotiations on contested matters,” linguist and historian Noam Chomsky tells Truthout, “and real cooperation on such crucial issues as global warming, arms control, future pandemics — all very severe crises that know no borders. Whether Biden’s hawkish foreign policy team will have the wisdom to move in these directions is, for now, at best unclear — at worst, frightening. Absent significant popular pressures, prospects do not look good.”

I have been watching Biden’s turn in foreign policy and so far I have seen NOTHING that would lead to a more peaceful existence for the people of this planet.

The time is now….but DC turns its back on the possibility for a peaceful world…..and the reason is cash.

It is more about filling re-election coffers with money more than the benefits to humanity.

All I am saying is give peace a chance (thanx to John Lennon)….

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Lies….Lies….Lies

That time again….a history lesson….(eyes rolling and heavy sighs)

There is so much misinformation and outright lies in this country……and thanx to social media like Facebook it just keeps getting worse and worse.

But this lying is not a new thing because of social media…..no lying is as American as apple pie…..

American history is full of lies and misinformation….

A few weeks ago, someone going as “R. Tillman” spent a chunk of change to place a small add in The New York Times saying that “LYING IS UN-AMERICAN.”

I had to laugh. Mr. or Ms. Tillman was likely thinking of Donald Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen and perhaps of some other among many thousands of fibs told by the record-setting dissembler Trump.

I don’t like lies or (I am guessing) Trump any more than R. Tillman but who is he or she trying to kid?

Lying is as American as cherry pie.

Which reminds me, the story that young George Washington broke down and told his father he cut down a cherry tree “because I cannot tell a lie” is a lie. It was made up by the early Washington biographer Mason Lock Weems for the fifth edition of his popular volume The Life of Washington (1806).

Here’s another lie: “George Washington was a great man.” Not true. He was a vicious killer of Native Americans known to the Iroquois as Conoctocaurious, meaning “Town Taker,” “Burner of Towns,” and “Town Destroyer.” In 1779, during the American War for Independence, Washington ordered and organized the Sullivan Campaign, which carried out the genocidal destruction of 40 Iroquois villages in New York.

Lying is as American as Cherry Pie

I know this is not what your 8th grade teacher had to say……but that teacher was a revisionist that wanted to put lipstick on a pig.

You may breath now….the lesson is over.

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Notorious Pardons

I have written several times about the presidential pardons that Trump issued….most were close allies or people that would benefit him in some way or another.

But Trump is not alone…history is full of notorious pardons by our presidents.

It all began back in 1794 and the Whiskey Rebels……this article is from Time that list some historic pardons…..

In an event that would lead to the first pardon in U.S. history, Congress enacted a steep tax on spirits in 1791 to help pay down the national debt, and hard-hit small producers protested by taking to the streets in western Pennsylvania. They quickly formed a multi-state armed rebellion and President George Washington called in 13,000 troops to quell the opposition. Intent on emphasizing federalist power, the government charged the whiskey rebel leaders with treason against the U.S., although many were released due to a lack of evidence.

Virginia Governor Henry Lee, on Washington’s behalf, issued a general pardon for those who had participated “in the wicked and unhappy tumults and disturbances lately existing,” even though some of the rebels had not even been indicted. Only a few men had trials and two were convicted of treason (which meant death by hanging). Eventually, Washington pardoned those who had treason convictions and indictments. It was the first pardon in American history that overturned a criminal conviction, and the first time under the young U.S. Constitution that the federal government wielded military force to quell its own citizens.

(read on and learn)

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1862257_1862325_1862313,00.html

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“Tailgunner Joe” Get Physical

With all the years of division and media BS….all that brings my favorite bad guy from the 1950s….Sen Joe “Tailgunner” McCarthy……

How many know who “Tailgunner Joe” is?

Joseph McCarthy, in full Joseph Raymond McCarthy, (born November 14, 1908, near Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.—died May 2, 1957, Bethesda, Maryland), American politician who served in the U.S. Senate (1947–57), representing Wisconsin, and who lent his name to the term McCarthyism. He dominated the U.S. political climate in the early 1950s through his sensational but unproven charges of communist subversion in high government circles. In 1954, in a rare move, McCarthy’s Senate colleagues officially censured him for unbecoming conduct.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-McCarthy

It was a simpler time when according to some there were Commies in every closet in America (somethings do not change…after 70 years some lunatics still see them where none exist….kinda like those reptilian aliens that are here now)

At one point Tailgunner decided it would be prudent to attack a reporter….

It may seem unimaginable these days, but a U.S. Senator once assaulted a prominent newspaper columnist at an exclusive club in Washington, D.C.

The brief but violent confrontation between Joe McCarthy and columnist Drew Pearson took place December 12, 1950, at the end of a dinner at the Sulgrave Club, which occupies a Gilded Age Beaux Arts mansion on DuPont Circle.

I recount this episode in my book, Getting It Wrong— in a chapter puncturing the myth about CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and his half-hour television report on McCarthy in March 1954. The myth has it that Murrow confronted and single-handedly took down McCarthy, the Red-baiting Republican senator from Wisconsin.

I note in Getting It Wrong that “the evidence is overwhelming” that Murrow’s television report on McCarthy “had no such decisive effect, that Murrow in fact was very late in confronting McCarthy, that he did so only after other journalists had challenged the senator and his tactics for months, even years.”

Notable among those journalists was Pearson, a veteran, Washington-based syndicated columnist and radio commentator who, long before Murrow’s show, raised pointed and repeated challenges to McCarthy’s claims that communists had infiltrated high positions in the State Department, the Army, and other American institutions.

Remembering when Joe McCarthy beat up a columnist

It amazes me that this sort of thing does not happen more often…..the only one I can think of right now is that GOP representative that threatened to throw a reporter off an balcony a few years ago.

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Closing Thought–07Dec20

Most American know this day in our history…if not from school then from some programming on the History Channel……this is what became known as Pearl Harbor Day.

Most know that I do like history…..and most of what we know, or think we know, is basically propaganda….and the attack is no different.

Yes it was a dastardly attack…..but it should have been anticipated because of our actions toward Japan in the Pacific……and yet we were caught flat footed?

This is a look at the events that lead up to the attack on Sunday, 07 December 1941…..

One of the holiest days of the year is fast approaching. Are you ready? Remember the true meaning of Pearl Harbor Day!

The U.S. government planned, prepared for, and provoked a war with Japan for years, and was in many ways at war already, waiting for Japan to fire the first shot, when Japan attacked the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. What gets lost in the questions of exactly who knew what when in the days before those attacks, and what combination of incompetence and cynicism allowed them to happen, is the fact that major steps had indisputably been taken toward war but none had been taken toward peace.

The Asia pivot of the Obama-Trump era had a precedent in the years leading up to WWII, as the United States and Japan built up their military presence in the Pacific. The United States was aiding China in the war against Japan and blockading Japan to deprive it of critical resources prior to Japan’s attack on US troops and imperial territories. The militarism of the United States does not free Japan of responsibility for its own militarism, or vice versa, but the myth of the innocent bystander shockingly assaulted out of the blue is no more real than the myth of the war to save the Jews.

Have a Blessed Pearl Harbor Day

With that bit of history in the book….let me say…please take some time to remember our greatest generation and their hard knocks to win the war and to solidify America’s place in the world.

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Sore Losers

The analysis of the 2020 election is still going on…..and on…..

By now most everyone knows Biden won the election and by now we all know that Trump is being a dick by refusing to accept that he lost the election.

He may leave the White House but I doubt that he will ever admit that he lost the election because he was a terrible president.

First of all was the election of 2020 some sort of a mandate or just a ‘vote against Trump’?

My thought is that it was the later….there is NO Dem mandate….but others thoughts…..

Every election year is accompanied by countless analyses of why Americans voted the way they did. The 2020 election is no different. Liberal and Democratic Americans who were hoping for an overwhelming victory for Joe Biden were disappointed, although the Democratic candidate did defeat a sitting president by nearly 6 million votes. This is itself noteworthy considering how infrequently incumbent presidential candidates lose reelection in the post-World War II era.

The questions that arise now are simple enough: what caused Trump to lose the election, and to what extent did Americans vote for Biden, as opposed to voting against Trump? Answers to these questions emerge from a careful examination of pre-election polling and Edison’s national exit polling, the latter of which surveyed both in-person and mail-in/absentee voters to collect information on voters’ demographic backgrounds and their political and economic motivations. What we find is that mass anger at racial injustice, the disaster of Covid-19, and the depressed economy that accompanied it, were all chief difference makers in the election outcome.

Election 2020: a Democratic Mandate or a Vote Against Trump?

Now that I made that point…..the real reason for this post is to look back into history and see about the sore losers of the past…..

Trump isn’t the first sore loser in history. Many of them have whined their way into obscurity, but others have been able to do real damage. Driven by ego and resentment, some sore losers have engaged in the personal destruction of their opponents, their parties, or even their countries. A look back provides a sober counterpoint to the shrugs with which we might otherwise greet Trump’s tantrums.

https://arcdigital.media/what-if-he-never-concedes-5a47173806f0

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Contested Elections–A History

As long as you await the final results and the announcement of who will be president in 2021…..why not learn something…..like a little history.  (I can hear the eyes rolling in the background)…..

This election will not be the only election where there was some contention on who the winner was……but it may be the silliest in history.

As states continue to count their ballots in the 2020 election, it seems possible that Democrats and Republicans will end up in court over whether President Trump will win a second term in the White House.

President Trump has said he’s going to contest the election results – going so far as to say that he believes the election will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a team of lawyers lined up for a legal battle.

Unprecedented changes in voting procedures due to the coronavirus pandemic have created openings for candidates to cry foul. Republicans argued earlier this year that extending deadlines to receive and count ballots will lead to confusion and fraud, while Democrats believe Republicans are actively working to disenfranchise voters.

Should either Trump or Biden refuse to concede, it wouldn’t be the first time turmoil and claims of fraud dominated the days and weeks after the elections.

The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. In each case, the losing candidate and party dealt with the disputed results differently.

https://theconversation.com/a-history-of-contested-presidential-elections-from-samuel-tilden-to-al-gore-149414

Like I said it never hurts to learn while you are wringing your hands waiting for the results to be finalized.

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