Chamblee54

Destroy The Village To Save It

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 20, 2020


“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” This is one of the most familiar lines about the Vietnam War. It is often cited today, when discussing the response to COVID-19. Who said this?

It was “originally reported by Peter Arnett of the Associated Press, who quoted an unidentified American officer on why the village of Ben Tre was leveled during the Tet Offensive in early 1968. … A two-paragraph version of the AP dispatch was buried on page 14 of The New York Times, with no byline,” on Feb. 8, 1968. … “BENTRE, Feb. 7 (AP)― It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.”

“Almost instantly, however, the line was being misquoted everywhere. On Feb. 10, an Oregon newspaper rendered it “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” Two weeks later the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a group of protesters carrying a banner that read, “It Was Necessary to Destroy the Village in Order to Save It.” In whatever form, the words had become a mantra of the anti-war movement, a … summary of what was wrong with the entire Vietnam adventure.”

“The day before Arnett’s story ran, the Times’s James Reston had asked in his column, “How do we win by military force without destroying what we are trying to save?” … Associated Press itself had used a similar phrase almost exactly a year before Arnett’s dispatch. In late Jan. 1967, the AP distributed a wire photo of a different village with a caption that read in part: “The Americans meantime had started to destroy the village to deny it to the Viet Cong.” The photograph was published across the country. One wonders whether the officer Arnett was quoting had come across the caption the previous year.”

“But the actual father of the metaphor — the man who put it into roughly the form we know today — seems to have been Justice Edward White of the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 1908 decision known as the Employers’ Liability Cases, the justices were asked to give a narrow reading to a congressional enactment concerning common carriers in the District of Columbia. The court refused. The requested reading, according to White’s opinion for the majority, would in effect add a new clause to the statute. He then explained why doing so would be wrong: “To write into the act the qualifying words therefore would be but adding to its provisions in order to save it in one aspect, and thereby to destroy it in another — that is, to destroy in order to save, and to save in order to destroy.””

The fighting in Ben Tre took place during the Tet Offensive. This is widely seen as a turning point in America’s involvement in that conflict. “On January 30 1968 … the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong launched a massive military offensive that proved the battle raging in Southeast Asia was far from over, and that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration had grossly oversold American progress to the public. Although U.S. troops ultimately ended the offensive successfully, and the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong suffered brutal loses, these bloody weeks triggered a series of events that continue to undermine Americans’ confidence in their government.”

(CBS news anchor Walter) “Cronkite was so shocked at the devastation of the communists’ Tet offensive that he went over to see for himself what was really going on.” On February 27, 1968, “he concluded the war was a stalemate, probably unwinnable. … Lyndon Johnson was said to have watched the broadcast and exclaimed to his press secretary, George Christian, “If I have lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Ira Hayes

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, War by chamblee54 on May 15, 2020

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The post before this is about Arizona SB1070, a controversial measure dealing with illegal immigration. One of the men quoted is the Sheriff of Pima County, which lies on the border.

Pima County is named for the Pima Tribe, whose land was in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Their name for the “river people” is Akimel O’odham. According to Wikipedia,
“The short name, “Pima” is believed to have come from the phrase pi ‘añi mac or pi mac, meaning “I don’t know,” used repeatedly in their initial meeting with Europeans.”
Many of the Mexicans crossing the border are Native Americans. They did not agree to the Gadsden Purchase, or the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In other words, they were here first, and the white man (and black associates) are the uninvited guests.

The second part of this feature is a repost. One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.

One of the enduring images of World War II was raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Three of the six men raising the flag died on the island. A fourth, Ira Hayes, became a casualty after the war.

The story of Ira Hayes is well known, but needs to be told again. A member of the Akimel O’odham (Pima) nation, his people had not been treated well by the conquerors. Nonetheless, when the War against Japan started, men were needed for the struggle, and Ira Hayes joined the Marines.

Iwo Jima was a steppingstone to the main island of Japan. After Iwo Jima and Okinawa were in Yankee hands, preparations could be made for the invasion of the main island. However, the stepping stone islands proved to be incredibly tough to secure. There were more American casualties on Iwo Jima than on D Day.

On the fourth day of the battle, a picture was made of six marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi. A month of sticky, treacherous fighting was ahead for the fighting men. Of 21,000 Japanese soldiers, 20,000 died.

The flag was raised on February 23, 1945. Germany was all but defeated. The “explosive lens” for the atom bomb had been successfully tested. It seemed inevitable that the costly island hopping needed to continue, to be followed by an invasion of the Japanese mainland.

Two of the twelve hands holding the flagpole belonged to Ira Hayes. Ira Hayes did not adjust to peacetime well. He became a drunkard. On January 24, 1955, he passed away.

Ira Hayes was a native American. Thousands of African Americans have returned from foreign wars, to be treated poorly. Until a few months ago, if a man, or woman, is accused of being gay, the service is forgotten. On Memorial Day, we should struggle to ensure that all future veterans are treated with respect, all year long. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress and “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Some of the pictures shown today were taken at a War Bond Drive show, Loew’s Grand Theater, July 10, 1944.

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Why The War Between The States Was Fought

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on May 14, 2020


Recently, Mr. Trump said something stupid about the War Between the States. After his comments began to filter into the marketplace of ideas, people began to react. There was a good bit of self righteous talk about how bad the Confederacy was. Maybe it is time for another point of view. This feature will have minimal research. Mostly, PG is typing things he has heard and thought. It is possible that some items will be incorrect. The reader is encouraged to do their own research. Comments are welcome.

When the colonies declared independence in 1776, nobody knew how things would turn out. First, Great Britain needed to be defeated. After that, the Articles of Confederation went into effect. “Under these articles, the states remained sovereign and independent, with Congress serving as the last resort on appeal of disputes. Congress was also given the authority to make treaties and alliances, maintain armed forces and coin money. However, the central government lacked the ability to levy taxes and regulate commerce…”

This arrangement was not working, and the Constitutional Convention was called. Originally, the CC was going to revise the Articles of Confederation, but wound up throwing the whole thing out, and creating the Constitution. This document called for greater federal authority. The issue of what powers to give to the states, and what powers to give to the central government, was contentious. It remains controversial to this day.

Had any group of antonymous states formed a federal union before? Usually, such a union is the result of a conquest, with one of the states ruling the others. It is unclear whether such a union had been attempted before, or how successful it was. When the “founding fathers” created the constitution, they probably did not foresee how it would play out. The current system, with a massive central government cat-herding the 50 states, would have been laughed off as a dangerous fantasy.

So the states start to have disagreements. One of the things they disagreed over was slavery. Yes, this was an important factor in the unpleasantness to come. Slavery also influenced a lot of the economic conflicts. The North wanted high tariffs to protect industry. The South wanted low tariffs, so they could sell cotton to Europe. There were many other ways for the states to not get along.

Finally, in 1861, the disagreements became too big to ignore. The south seceded, and the War Between The States began. The Confederate States of America was a looser union than the United States. The thought was that the states were more important than the federal union. Mr. Lincoln disagreed. (One popular name for the conflict was Mr. Lincoln’s war.) Many people say that Mr. Lincoln was not especially concerned about the slaves, but wanted to keep the union together.

How does slavery enter into this? Imagine the conflict over states rights vs federalism to be an open tank of gasoline. The lit match that was thrown into that tank was slavery. When the winners wrote the war history, it sounded better to say that the war was fought to free the slaves. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This was a repost.

Anglo Persian Oil Company

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on May 12, 2020

This is a repost from 2010. People are saying more and more about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. TomDispatch has a fascinating paragraph about one of the key players, British Petroleum (BP): “Originally known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, still later British Petroleum), BP got its start in southwestern Iran, where it once enjoyed a monopoly on the production of crude petroleum. In 1951, its Iranian holdings were nationalized by the government of Mohammed Mossadeq. The company returned to Iran in 1953, following a coup that put the Shah in power. It was finally expelled again in 1979, following the Islamic Revolution.”
If you look at the problems of the world in the last forty years, so many are affected by Iran. The 1953 revolution left great resentment, which became manifest in the 1979 revolution. Soon Iraq…whose border with Iran was clumsily drawn by the British…decides to attack Iran. A gruesome eight year war is the result, with the USA supporting both sides (as well as possibly encouraging Iraq to attack Iran). The idea was, if they are fighting each other, they will leave Israel alone.

After this war is over, Iraq has a problem with Kuwait over it’s war debt. Another war is the result, with the USA involved. Iraq is vanquished, but some in the USA are not satisfied, and after a few years the USA invades Iraq again. That war is still raging.

The biggest winner of the US-Iraq war (aka World War W) is Iran. This new influence in Persia is very troubling to Israel, which is loudly rattling it’s nuclear saber. While Israel is making noise about Iran, it takes attention away from the Palestinian tragedy.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. TomDispatch is still open. The feature today, Beating the War Drums… Again, is about Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Confederate Memorial Day

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on April 27, 2020

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Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. It is an ancient question…how to honor the soldiers from the side that lost. They were just as valiant as the Union Soldiers. Considering the shortages of the Confederate Armies, the Rebels may have been just a bit braver.

The issue of Federalism is a defining conflict of the American experience. What powers do we give the Federal Government, and what powers do we cede to the States? The Confederacy was the product of this conflict. The Confederate States were a collection of individual states, with separate armies. This is one reason why the war turned out the way it did.

This is not a defense for slavery. The “Peculiar institution” was a moral horror. The after effects of slavery affect us today. Any remembrance of the Confederacy should know that. This does not make the men who fought any less brave.

It is tough to see the War Between the States through the modern eye. It was a different time, before many of the modern conveniences that are now considered necessities. Many say that the United States were divided from the start, and the fact the union lasted as long as it did was remarkable. When a conflict becomes us against them, the “causes” become unimportant.

The War was a horror, with no pain medicine, and little that could be done for the wounded. It took the south many, many years to recover. The healing continues in many ways today. Remembering the sacrifices made by our ancestors helps.
This is a repost from CMD 2010. Pictures are from the The Library of Congress.

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Shock And Awe Day

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, War by chamblee54 on March 18, 2020

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Seventeen years ago, Iraq teetered on the edge of regime change. It was obvious what was going to happen, at least at first. America was going to storm in, kill a bunch of people, and take over.

In post 911 America, the military industrial complex saw an opportunity for plunder, unrivaled since the fall of the Soviet Union. The stories of WMD would infect the body politic with fear of a mesopotamian madman. Saddam Hussein wanted Iran to think he has wonder weapons, and did not think America was serious about regime change. We all make mistakes.

In the seventeen years since the time of shock and awe, trillions of dollars have gone down the drain, dragging the mighty American economy along into the sewers of bankruptcy. One of the oldest civilizations of mankind was reduced to hiding, from neighbors, behind concrete barricades. They fought the conquerors with bombs triggered by garage door openers. Thousands of women and children have been murdered. The WMD were never found. This is a repost.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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John S. McCain And Bernie Sanders

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on February 13, 2020

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The latest podcast addiction is a Slate production called Whistlestop. WS (whistlestop, not water sports) is about presidential elections. On top of the home page is a header ad. At first it had a picture of Hillary, with the message “I’m with her.” Now, it is a prescription medication, side effects scrolling slowly on the right. The side effects of Hillary are more obvious. (This repost was first published 02-13-2016) The side effect of the Hillary Clinton candidacy is the Donald Trump presidency.)

Episode 24 is When the Straight Talk Express Rolled Through New Hampshire. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush was the anointed candidate for the Republicans. Challenging him in New Hampshire was John S. McCain. The winner in New Hampshire was Senator McCain. The winner of the nomination, and ultimately the Presidency, was George W. Bush.

The WS story is about how JSM got the 2000 New Hampshire voters on his side. The 2008 story will, no doubt, be a future episode of WS. JSM did the whole Straight Talk routine, and won the nomination. JSM chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Whether JSM had a chance, after eight years of W, is a good question. BHO won the 2008 election. John McCain died August 25, 2018.

In Georgia, the electoral votes are all but conceded to the Republicans. The only time we get to choose is the primary. In 2008, PG saw the two choices were John McCain and Barack Obama. Both had flaws, but both offered alternatives to the nonsense of Mike Huckabee and John Edwards. After thinking about it, PG remembered that John McCain dropped napalm on women and children. So PG voted for Barack Obama. Once elected, BHO would fire hellfire missiles at women and children.

In the 2016 Georgia primary, there were five candidates: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. PG did not like any of them. He decided to vote for the best looking candidate, Marco Rubio. On February 13, 2020, we still do not know who will be a viable candidate during the Georgia primary. PG will make up his mind while walking to the school, to cast his vote. PG will probably hold his nose while doing so.

‘The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub’ David Foster Wallace covered the McCain campaign for Rolling Stone. He was always good for a few thousand words, often in the first sentence. DFW had a few thoughts about why JSM was so popular.

“Because we’ve been lied to and lied to, and it hurts to be lied to. It’s ultimately just about that complicated: it hurts. We learn this at like age four—it’s grownups’ first explanation to us of why it’s bad to lie (“How would you like it if … ?”). And we keep learning for years, from hard experience, that getting lied to sucks—that it diminishes you, denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world. Especially if the lies are chronic, systemic, if experience seems to teach that everything you’re supposed to believe in’s really just a game based on lies. … It’s painful to believe that the would-be “public servants” you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously and with such a straight face that you know they’ve just got to believe you’re an idiot.”

In 2016, the outlaw candidate was Bernie Sanders, who has no middle name. He won a big victory in New Hampshire. BS is lying through his teeth. He says he will make college tuition free, and install single payer socialized medicine. Everyone knows these are lies (BS²) and yet the Bernoids play along. (Earlier this week, BS won a slim victory over Amy Jean Klobuchar, and Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, in the New Hampshire primary.)

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These men never voted in a presidential primary.

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War Letters

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics, War by chamblee54 on January 15, 2020

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In the winter of 2003, it was obvious that America was going to war. Congress had voted approval, the modern version of a declaration of war. The troops. and supplies, were on the borders of Iraq, waiting for the order to go in.

PG felt the need to make a statement. There was no illusion that it would affect the overall decision to invade Iraq. However, PG wanted to go on record as being opposed to the folly to come.

It was a low risk act. In America, we have freedom of expression. This does not mean that the powers that be listen to the people. The only expression that matters is by people who pay the authorities. The people can say anything, but nobody in charge listens.

There were three representatives in Congress to contact. The two Senators were Saxby Chambliss and Zell Miller. The 4th district was represented in the House of Representatives by Denise Majette. She was new to Congress, having defeated Cynthia McKinney in the 2002 election.

The area that PG lives in is gerrymandered into different districts every ten years by the Georgia legislature. Today, PG is in the 6th district, represented by Democrat Lucy McBath.

The letters are lost in hard drive crash fog. It started out with the phrase “you were elected to represent me.” Apparently, this left Zell Miller out. He has been appointed to finish the term of Paul Coverdell. Democrat Zell Miller was appointed by Democrat Governor Roy Barnes to complete the term of Republican Paul Coverdell. After this, Zell Miller gave the keynote address at the 2004 Republican Convention. This is what Georgia has come to expect from Zig Zag Zell.

The anti war letter was not great writing. It basically said that the invasion of Iraq was not a good idea. The letter did not address the tax cut. In a bizarre move, Congress approved a tax cut, with an economically ruinous war on the horizon.

The responses to the letter are attached here. Denise Majette gave a thoughtful reply. She did not say “I agree with you” in so many words, but it is clear she is not gung ho about killing Iraqis. Miss Majette said, and PG agrees, that once the war begins, the debate should cease.

Saxby Chambliss sent two replies. Both talked about how well the war was going, and how wonderful it was to be killing people in Iraq. It is a good question whether his staff read the original letter from PG, which opposed the war.

In the 2004 election, Denise Majette ran for the Senate. Zell Miller chose to retire, and his seat was up for grabs. Republican Johnny Isakson won the Senate seat. Cynthia McKinney made a comeback, and won the fourth district House seat.

Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in 2008, and retired in 2014. The conflict in Iraq continues to this day. It is a disaster. The withdrawal of American combat troops did not end the civil war. Currently, Iraq is the scene for combat operations from the Islamic State military force.

The financial burden of the war has been immense. The military depends on contractors for many basic services, at increased cost to the Asian war financiers. The National debt has been increasing by a trillion dollars a year. Revenge for nine eleven, directed at a marginally responsible country, has been horribly expensive. Pictures for today’s entertainment message are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

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I’ll Furnish The War

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on January 9, 2020


“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” – WR Hearst, January 25, 1898 It is part of the Hearst legend. “Frederic Sackrider Remington, the famous artist who brought to life American images of the west, was hired by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to illustrate the revolution erupting in Cuba. He wrote back to Hearst one day in January 1897: “Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return.” Hearst sent back a note: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Chamblee54 readers should know where this is going to go.

Mr. Remington was sent to Cuba, along with correspondent Richard Harding Davis, to cover the rebellion against the Spanish colonial government. At the time of this purported exchange, the conflict between Spain, and the Cuban rebels, was rather lively. This is at odds with the initial comment by Mr. Remington. One item which modern observers will find odd is the fact that Mr. Remington drew pictures. He was not a photographer. Apparently, in 1897 journalism, a hand drawing was acceptable evidence of a conflict.

Not likely sent: The Remington-Hearst “telegrams” is a thorough debunking of this legend. The source of the legend is “James Creelman, On the Great Highway: The Wanderings and Adventures of a Special Correspondent. (Boston: Lothrop Publishing, 1901), 177-178.” “Creelman does not … describe how or when he learned about the supposed Remington-Hearst exchange. In any case, it had to have been second-hand because Creelman was in Europe in early 1897, as the Journal’s “special commissioner” on the Continent.”

“It is improbable that such an exchange of telegrams would have been cleared by Spanish censors in Havana. So strict were the censors that dispatches from American correspondents reporting the war in Cuba often were taken by ship to Florida and transmitted from there.”

… correspondence of Richard Harding Davis — the war correspondent with whom Remington traveled on the assignment to Cuba — contains no reference to Remington’s wanting to leave because “there will be no war.” Rather, Davis in his letters gave several other reasons for Remington’s departure, including the artist’s reluctance to travel through Spanish lines to reach the Cuban insurgents. … Davis’ letters show that he had little regard for the rotund, slow-moving Remington, whom he called “a large blundering bear.”

The purported Remington-Hearst exchange, moreover, appears not to have been particularly important or newsworthy at the time … the anecdote seems to have provoked almost no discussion or controversy until a correspondent for the Times of London mentioned it in a dispatch from New York in 1907. He wrote: “Is the Press of the United States going insane? . . . A letter from William Randolph Hearst is in existence and was printed in a magazine not long ago. It was to an artist he had sent to Cuba, and who reported no likelihood of war. —You provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war.'”

“Hearst, indignant about the report, replied in a letter to the Times. He described as “frankly false” and “ingeniously idiotic” the claim “that there was a letter in existence from Mr. W. R. Hearst in which Mr. Hearst said to a correspondent in Cuba: —You provide the pictures and I will provide the war,’ and the intimation that Mr. Hearst was chiefly responsible for the Spanish war. … “This kind of clotted nonsense could only be generally circulated and generally believed in England, where newspapers claiming to be conservative and reliable are the most utterly untrustworthy of any on earth. In apology for these newspapers it may be said that their untrustworthiness is not always to intention but more frequently to ignorance and prejudice.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

War Between The States

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 7, 2019





It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of the conflict. There was a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The name used most often is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. In PG’s humble opinion, WBTS is a better name.

In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar, utilized by the english teacher, Miss McKenzie. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The expression “Civil War” was not permitted. The proper name for this conflict was War Between the States.

In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.

Slavery was a very important factor. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution” intact, while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.

The phrase civil war is defined as “A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or the citizens of a single republic”. By the time the shooting started, the southern states had left the union. They formed a confederacy of independent states, rather than one monolithic union. It was, indeed, a war between the states.

This is a repost. Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress.





The recent destruction of #SilentSam, was defended by a quote from the 1913 dedication speech. Here is something else that Julian Carr said that day: “In the knowledge of subsequent developments, the progress, peace and prosperity of our united, common country, victor and vanquished now alike believe that in the Providence of God it was right and well that the issue was determined as it was. And the people of all sections of our great Republic, moved by the impulse of sincere and zealous loyalty, of fervent and exalted patriotism may say: “All is well that ends well.”

The demonization of the Confederacy has intensified lately. Yes, slavery was a wretched institution. However, much of the rhetoric today does not take into account many of the other causes of that war. And it forgets that *the war is over.* The early twentieth century was a time of reconciliation between the north and the south. Yes, there was Jim Crow, and white supremacy. People of color (both black and non black, both north and south) were treated horribly. Creating a more perfect union is a slow, and uneven, process.

Part two of today’s feature is a double repost. Part one is based on an interview with Shelby Foote, where he goes into some of the points made above. If you get a chance to listen to the link, you can hear Mr. Foote talk for an hour in a luxurious Mississippi accent. The second part of today’s feature goes into some of the financial causes of the War Between The States. It is an old truism that all wars are about money. The causes people are told about, both at the time of the conflict and historically, are not always the real reason for the war. Look at how WMD was used to justify “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” WMD was the excuse for the conflict, not the reason.

PG spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon editing pictures from The Library of Congress (which illustrate this post) and listening to a 1994 interview with Shelby Foote. There was a book to be sold, and Mr. Foote made the necessary appearances to sell the product. The gentleman has a handsome Mississippi accent, and is a delight to listen to. There is a transcript, aka the lazy bloggers friend.

A few of the things he said are timely. When this show was taped in 1994, Mr. Foote spoke of healing from the War Between the States. Today, we seem to be regressing. Trash talk about the Confederacy is back in fashion. It is a good time to revisit these comments. Shelby Foote died in 2005, and can no longer comment.

“Slavery is a huge stain on us. We all carry it. I carry it deep in my bones, the consequences of slavery. But emancipation comes pretty close to being as heavy a sin. They told — what is its million or 7 million people, “You’re now free. Hit the road,” and there was a Freedman’s Bureau, which was a sort of joke. There were people down here exploiting them. Three-quarters of them couldn’t read or write, had no job, no hope of a job, no way to learn a new job even, and they drifted back into this peon age system under sharecropping, which was about all they could do.

To this day, we are paying and they are paying for this kind of treatment. I don’t mean there should have been a gradual emancipation. I mean there should have been true preparation to get this people ready for living a kind of life. They were free and should have been free all along, but they were not prepared for living in the world. They’d been living under conditions of slavery, which kept them from living in the world…..”

“The Civil War, there’s a great compromise, as it’s called. It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it’s probably best that the Union wasn’t divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. That is a great compromise and we live with that and that works for us. We are now able to look at the war with some coolness, which we couldn’t do before now, and, incidentally, I very much doubt whether a history such as mine could have been written much before 100 years had elapsed. It took all that time for things to cool down….”

(Booknotes host Brian) LAMB: “Was the Civil War inevitable? FOOTE: I think that it was necessary. I do not believe that those differences could have been settled without bloodshed. The question is the horrendous amount of bloodshed. That was not necessary. That could have been stopped at some point. God knows. But there apparently were differences so profound between the abolitionists in New England and the fire-eaters of South Carolina that dragged the rest of the country into this conflict that I’m inclined to agree with Seward, who called it an irrepressible conflict….” (Chamblee54 recently published a post, Why Was The War Fought?. about the financial aspects of the War. Follow the money, and find the truth. The post is seen below.)

LAMB: “From what you know now and your own political philosophy, if you had a voice and you lived back there, which side would you have been on? FOOTE: There’s absolutely no doubt. I’m from Mississippi. I would have been on the Confederate side. Right or wrong, I would have fought with my people. LAMB: Why? FOOTE: Because they’re my people. It would have meant the end of my life as I had known it if I fought on the other side. It would have been a falsification of everything I’d lived by, even if I opposed it. No matter how much I was opposed to slavery, I still would have fought for the Confederacy — not for slavery, but for other things, such as freedom to secede from the Union.”


Last week, this slack blogger found a tweet. The tweet said that Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy fought the Federal Reserve, and both were killed. I did a little research, and found something that questions the conventional wisdom about the War Between the States.

Before getting to the quote, a disclaimer is in order. 100777.com is a sketchy website. What is says cannot be taken as literal truth. However, the statement about WBTS does raise some questions.

“One point should be made here: The Rothschild bank financed the North and the Paris branch of the same bank financed the South, which is the real reason the Civil War was ignited and allowed to follow its long, and bloody course.”

Maybe it was not the Rothschild Bank that financed WBTS. Somebody did. War is a profitable enterprise. People are going to egg on the combatants, knowing that there is money to be made. Someone encouraged the southern states to secede. Others encouraged the north to take a hard line on slavery, knowing that it would lead to a profitable war. Was slavery the reason for this war, or the excuse? Follow the money.

Rhett Butler was a central character in Gone With The Wind. He was a blockade runner, bringing in supplies to the south. He said this: “I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up. Remember my words.”

It should be noted that slavery was a big money operation. “But I think we think of it differently when we realize that the value of slave property, some $4 billion, enormous amount of money in 1861, represented actually more money than the value of all of the industry and all of the railroads in the entire United States combined. So for Southern planters to simply one day liberate all of that property would have been like asking people today to simply overnight give up their stock portfolios.”

When the thirteen colonies declared independence, they were not creating a union. The idea was to kick out the British. The concept of a federal union, made up of more-or-less independent states, was fairly new. States had conquered other states, and formed empires, for a long time. A federal union of states was a new, and controversial, idea. Many European states wanted to see this federal union fail. These states encouraged the south to secede. Some people say the War Between the States began the day the British left.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library “… a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Later, some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”

Seven Score And Sixteen Years Ago

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 19, 2019









A vicious battle had been fought near Gettysburg, PA. It is widely considered the turning point of “Mr. Lincoln”s War,” the moment when the Union took the upper hand. It came at a horrible price, and a cemetery was built to hold this price.

The ceremony to dedicate the cemetery was held November 19, 1863. The headline speaker was Senator Edward Everett. The President was an afterthought. After it was over, Mr. Everett reportedly told the President that he said more in two minutes than he did in two hours.

The speech by Mr. Lincoln is an American classic. Schoolchildren are forced to memorize it. There are a few legends, many of which are not true. According to The Lincoln Museum , the speech was written on White House stationary, not the back of an envelope. The train ride would have been too bumpy to write. There is also confusion about what happened to the original text that the President read from.

HT to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Measured in pixels, the picture of George Custer is 720×666. This is a repost.

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.







The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 14, 2019

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Around this time 155 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees, in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families. The other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta. Luckie Street, an extension of Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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