Happy “Mission Accomplished” Anniversary

Today (May 1) is the fourth anniversary of one of the most dishonest propaganda speeches in modern American history.

President Bush did his flight suit strut on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.”

Bush proclaimed, “With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians.”  Tell that to Haditha – tell that to all the Iraqi families who have had kinfolk killed at US checkpoints – tell that to the people of Fallujah.

Bush assured Americans and the world: “We’ve begun  the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.” With each passing month, we are learning more about how the administration was warned before attacking Iraq that Saddam had long since abandoned the production of chemical and biological weapons.  But Bush could still successfully use that hobgoblin in the weeks after Baghdad was battered into submission.  

Bush declared, “The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding.”  This is ironic in hindsight, since the Bush administration is now using Al Qaeda’s presence in the postwar rubble to justify perpetuating American military occupation.  

Bush closed his speech with the following Biblical contortion: “All of you, all in this generation of our military, have taken up the highest calling of history: You were defending your country and protecting the innocent from harm.

And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope, a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “To the captives, come out; and to those in darkness, be free.”

I guess the Abu Ghraib exemption to captives coming out did not make the final cut of Bush’s speech.

As things deteriorated in Iraq in the summer and early Fall of 2003, the Bush team sought to rewrite the history of that speech. At an October 28, 2003, press conference, Bush was asked about the giant banner hung on the aircraft carrier,  Bush replied: “The ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff—they weren’t that ingenious, by the way.”

The design of the banner had the same design, typeface, and background as a large “Jobs and Growth” banner hung at a Bush speaking event in Ohio a week earlier. A few days after Bush’s Abraham Lincoln speech, the Washington Post noted that Bush’s “aides say the slogan was chosen in part to mark a presidential turn toward domestic affairs as his campaign for reelection approaches.” After Bush’s October 28 comment on the banner, White House spokesman Dan Bartlett asserted that the slogan was thought up by sailors who then asked the White House to create the banner. The White House
arranged for the banner to be created and delivered to the aircraft carrier. But Bush was correct that the banner was not hung up on the carrier by his press secretary, Ari Fleischer.

A few weeks after the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln speech, I wrote in the “Iraq & the War on Terrorism” chapter of Terrorism & Tyranny (which hit the streets in late August 2003): “The fact that Bush went to war against Iraq based on a deceptive strategy is core to knowing what to expect from the remainder of the Bush presidency. There is no reason to presume that Bush was more deceptive and manipulative about the war on Iraq than he is about the war on terrorism or other subjects. The main difference is that the evidence of false claims on Iraq became much clearer, especially after the U.S. invasion. As long as terrorist groups do not succeed in launching high-profile attacks on America or Americans, Bush can represent the war on terrorism however he pleases.”

Nothing has happened since May 1, 2003 to make George Bush a smidgin more honest.

The only difference is that the carnage in Iraq is so obvious that even many of his loyal supporters are no longer willing to believe and cheer Bush’s lies.


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33 Responses to Happy “Mission Accomplished” Anniversary

  1. Mace Price April 30, 2007 at 9:41 pm #

    Yeah, that spectacle was damn near as good as his prescient remark about the rising level of Insurgency in Iraq…”Bring ’em on.” To my mind that’s been his only success.

  2. Jim April 30, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    Actually, Bush has also succeeded in driving me to drink on a number of occasions.

  3. Mace Price April 30, 2007 at 10:02 pm #

    Me too Jim, in fact right now’s one of ’em talk to ye tomorrow…

  4. Orville H. Larson May 1, 2007 at 12:35 am #

    That was a self-serving photo op to end all self-serving photo ops, wasn’t it?

    There was our boy Bush making his deck landing, and swaggering around in his best faux “Top Gun” style afterwards. What a man!

    Four years ago, we won the war. Too bad the Iraqis–the people whose country we invaded–didn’t get the word.

    It’s in the news that H.R.H. Prince Harry is heading to Iraq to serve as a tank officer. Quite a contrast with what we have here.

    In March, Kitty Kelley wrote the op-ed piece “Why aren’t the Bush daughters in Iraq?” for the Los Angeles Times. Kelley says that neither Bush’s daughters nor his nieces and nephews are in the military, much less in Iraq.

    She mentions that in WW2, FDR’s sons were in the military, as were many celebrities. There was also a young naval aviator by the name of George H. W. Bush, who flew an Avenger torpedo bomber in the Pacific.

    Bush has called his Iraq war a noble cause. Too bad that neither his own family members nor the sons and daughters of the chickenhawks, are over there sharing the burden.

  5. Edgar Montrose May 1, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    Our troops are getting maimed and killed when their supply convoy are attacked while delivering supplies to small contingents of troops from other countries. With some, their only mission is to stay out of harms way. In order for Bush to carry out this illusion of a “coalition” our troops are dying-this is an impeachable offense.

  6. Marc Swanson May 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    Great article Jim – I suspect that the news media and political pundits will spend far more time scrutinizing the intimate details of Pamela Martin and Associates scandal and “list” than they devoted to evaluating the phony evidence and justifications for invading Iraq.

  7. Jim May 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    Thanks, Marc. Yes, I think the media will obsess with Hookergate for quite awhile.

    I wonder if the escort business expanded after MonicaGate – when DC bigwigs became more nervous about relying on interns.

  8. Jim May 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm #

    Edgar Montrose – I expect the list of potentially impeachable offenses will grow as the subpoenas expose more and more abuses…

  9. Mike May 2, 2007 at 7:50 am #

    To add insult to injury–Bush yesterday declared that May 1st will now officially be “Loyalty Day”.

  10. M Whitman May 2, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    I could find no other fashion of correspondence, but I felt compelled to ask for some assistance, if at all possible. I’m not quite 25 years old, I hold a degree in Ethics and Social philosophy, and am considering a law degree. I finished to “Bush Betrayal” in less than a week and was overcome with disgust with each page turned. What, if anything, can be done to remedy the sad state of affairs we call the U.S.A.? What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to help pull my generation out of their gullibility and complacency? I’m not sure what to do with my life, but I certainly feel a calling to make a difference. I go over Thomas Jefferson’s writings constantly in order to understand what he hoped for the Constitution, and I know for a fact that Bush’s tactics are so wayward that he’s on a mission to destroy the American people and our rights. Never have I been more appalled with an administrator of justice and governing body and with the Bush administration. Please help me focus, if you’re willing. In the mean time I hope you continue to enlighten the rest of us.

  11. Lawhobbit May 2, 2007 at 6:56 pm #

    What can be done about the sad state of affairs? The Tree of Liberty’s lookin’ incredibly parched and in need of watering these days. Aw bugger – there goes any chance I might have had of getting off the no fly list.

  12. W Baker May 3, 2007 at 9:36 am #


    It has always been a conjecture of mine that with better, more efficient modes of communication, official narratives will have smaller and smaller half lives because they will meet more quickly
    with the facts on the ground. Pretty simplistic thinking. More rapidly known facts will preclude any spin from the powers that be.

    Thus, no more cozy little narratives about the great white man from the North going South to save enslaved blacks, nor will we get a
    heavy dose of WWII spin about saving European civilizations and ethnic groups from a German madman, nor fantasies about the resolute
    Japanese only understanding surrender in terms of nuclear physics! As the facts become known – now almost instantaneously – the official narrative withers on the vine.

    Such is the way my simple mind works…!

    But I think, as usual, Dubya, his handlers, and the powers that be in Washington have done an end run around my linear way of thinking, and they’ve done it in a sort of post-narrative, post-technological way.

    It used to be that the story was formed ex post facto. Roosevelt the great hero of WWII, savior of the Jews. Never mind him never mentioning the Third Reich’s racial dimension or his turning away ship loads of Jewish immigrants, etc. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in the third
    year of The War as opposed to his ubiquitous remarks about leaving the South and her institutions alone in the Douglas-Lincoln Debates, etc.

    It now seems that the narrative is formed before the event and the facts on the ground are spun, coerced, or just plain blown up to back up the story. The Jessica Lynch/Tillman stories seem pretty good examples of this…

    But back to Dubya…he don’s his cod piece suit (which he probably lost somewhere in Montgomery, Alabama between a tavern and a local good-ol’ gal’s bed during his vacation here in the Alabama Air National Guard) and declares that we have slowed down Al Qaida by defeating Saddam’s
    Iraq. (Of course, we all know how cozy bin Laden and Saddam were anti bellum, etc.) But here’s the point, and it really shows just how effective the new style of narrative can be: Al Qaida was said
    to be in Iraq, and lo and behold, now it is in Iraq (or at least some
    subset or allied group). Despite months prior to the ‘war’, where every thinking man worth his salt was pointing out the lack of connection between Al Qaida and Saddam, – to the uncritical American
    audience – Bush was and has been proven right about fighting Al Qaida in Iraq. The big problem now amongst average US news consumers is
    the effectiveness of our bellicosity. 70% of Americans are just frustrated about our lack of progress and the apparent futility of taking
    on Al Qaida. If we were ‘winning’ – i.e., successfully building client-states – his approval numbers would be through the roof like
    they were after his ‘Ground Zero’ harangue.

    Talk about a self-justifying narrative! But is this purposeful? Can we assume that Dubya in his vast reading has cottoned onto some sort
    of a teleological method of war and foreign policy? Place the story, fulfill the story, but, for God’s sake, don’t let the telling of the story get ahead of the “facts”.

    Are the pundits/party affiliates in Washington upset over “failure” in Iraq or failure of the official minstrels?

    Or is all this mental stabbing in the dark just that? Perhaps I would be better served to just assume that through the mists of history and the chasms of cultural divides, two simple but thoroughly madmen and their fundamentalist courtiers have found each other. Ossama and Dubya!

  13. Jim May 3, 2007 at 12:14 pm #

    I shared many of the same hopes – that as the (transaction etc.) cost of getting good info plunged, people would become less gullible.

    As usual, my youthful idealism led me astray.

    I don’t know if GWBush has figured out how to work this – or if the citizenry and the media have become so gullible that almost any hogslop would satisfy them (until after the damage is done).

    I don’t know how upset most of the pundits actually are. I have not heard that there speaking fees have fallen, so I think they are probably more content than they admit.

  14. Dirk W. Sabin May 3, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    W., el Jefe de la Lexidisaster II was at it again the other day in front of some fawning contractors who thanked him for “protecting us”. I believe it was actually the anniversary of his Top Gun prance. He utilized the old al Qaeda and Iraq canard repeatedly and all concerned swallowed it whole by most accounts.

    Given the fact that this generation of Americans is afforded the highest average educational attainment in history while being provided with all manner of news from around the globe , and still they are xenophobic, prideful, culturally illiterate and woefully incurious as a result of being addicted to Entertainment Consumerism…given all this, it is safe to assume that this generation of Americans is also the absolute dumbest, in real terms…. of all humans in all history. Well, ok, maybe not compared to the 80’s when big hair, white bell bottoms and disco were popular. Then again, that other trusty Fox TV venue for our Imperial Malconjugator, American Idol may be dumber than Disco….I think it is.

    The reputed culture of the USA, the one everyone seems to pay attention to anyway, therefore lending it it’s undeserved legitimacy…the “Popular Culture” is the primary vehicle for the pre-packaged, short shelf-life, easily expendable and planned obsolesence culture that demands an army of service factotums which produces little of tangible worth but are good at yearning for something to buy with reliability. This is by no means a diatribe against capitalistic mercantilism, it is a diatribe against a self-defeating perversion of it.

    We have forsaken individualism and self-reliance for a manufactured group ethos that demands faelty to the vaunted “popular”. Joinerism has gone to seed. Even arena religion now promotes a kind of “get sumpthin fer nuthin” approach for it’s followers who are exhorted to donate and pray and then they too can get rich and have large cup sizes, straight teeth and live comfortably. Political Correctness and the rabid Fatwa against the artless lapse of Mr. Imus is another manifestation of it. Mountebanks and opportunist operators are rewarded in this atmosphere.

    It is all a mirage…a manufactured reality that is funneling our treasure to a centralizing and consolidating wealth class that no longer believes in the more arcane aspects of “good breeding” or noblesse oblige. It is a zero sum game. It’s political embodiment is “Big Government Conservativism”. It’s reality is just another Bloated Empire

    Simply put, it is the old dog decadence, returning to dig holes in the yard of the Republic. God or fate, it matters not but this depauperate age of America has been granted a symbolic gesture worthy of the Old Gods. Our government, particularly the Executive embodies all the worst aspects of this poorly bred wealth class wed to the kind of stubborn jingoism of the anti-intellectual peasants. It is a perfect storm of decadence and we are in it and let nobody miss the signs that it will end badly. I don’t say this with glee as the dismissive “patriots” might suggest, I say this with an awareness of history and with the “on the job training” against self-delusion of someone who once loved Laphroaig Scotch more than even baseball, buxom woman or a 1960 LeSabre Convertible. Druidic at heart, the smell of smoky peat makes me swoon. I digress, ….what a surprise.

    This era exhibits all the pathologies of the addict. Self-destruction, compulsion, co-dependency, delusion…it’s all there. A victim in every pot. In addition to decadence, we have the trusty friend of decadence; Ressentiment at work, digging holes in the fabric of our lives. There is a widespread suspicion that things are a tad rotten and without causing a mass reform, the powers that be foster and fertilize a creeping resentment against all manner of things… xenophobia is but one of them, anti-intellectualism another and the cynicism grows …and is used masterfully by Rove, among others to marshall the troops. Ressentiment is reputed to take quite a long time to work it’s dark magic and so I am not confident that our current roll in the gutter will come to a climax soon.

    Irony……the old She-God , haughty, unforgiving, she cackles away and we are afforded many bon mots from her and this generation’s idiot President is just one of them. If you want another, try this on for size: America, the technological wonder is transporting her Space Shuttle rockets from Thiokol Corporation in the Great Basin of Utah for use in the next Space Shuttle launch from Cape Kennedy. Because they are large, the trains are used. Unfortunately, because we have idiotically let our rail system rot because we love our formerly cheaply-fueled cars so, the train has derailed twice enroute. As reported in the N.Y. Times today, quite a wreck was the most recent one. We can keep the swan song of our Space technological juggernaut going but we just can’t seem to get the rockets there in one piece.

    At some point, just as it did in Rome, in Holland, in Spain and Britain, the bill will come due and a culture habituated to painlessness, easy gains, comfort and incuriosity will not likely fare well. The sad thing here is that there is a formidable “other” culture in America that is intermarried with the depauperate one. It is a culture that is both suckered by and privy to the charade of this President. This is the culture of the individual American and it is one of beauty, love, skill, intelligence (native AND scholastic),authentic compassion, a kind of laissez-fairre live and let live ethos and a rudimentary understanding of what this nation once meant to a world that was weary of empire. This culture produces dignity, bravery, things of artful craft, music, scientific wonder,literature, painting,generosity, compassion, the old American soft-spot for the underdog…etc etc.. This is the culture that we must all work hard to bring forth once again. I don’t know how it will be done but can imagine that hardship may be what finally does it. Mr. Bush, apotheosis of the current dysfunction may be the final conductor of our declasse symphony of dissolution.

    They say “Time is Money” and with this Generation’s debt-fueled Fiat Money foray into idiocy, our time must now be as worthless as the money we covet.

    America is our popular culture but it is also something far more sophisticated, valuable and productive than the popular culture our current leadership manipulates to a fair-thee-well. We are finding it here in the internet because this internet is still authentic, un-packaged and anarchic. We must find a way to take it to a larger world. This Revolution is not one of throwing out the old order and tearing down, it is one of rebuilding an order we once had and can again possess.

    So Mr. Bovard , I am actually capable of being a melancholy old idealist when the spirit moves. Your writing, patience and willing hosting of this slightly-off carnival of maniacs is much appreciated.
    Respectfully, Mullah Dick

  15. Joe B. Carter May 3, 2007 at 2:42 pm #

    Lawhobbit, the Tree of Liberty IS looking plenty parched, and it’s definitely in need of a watering. What kind of watering do you have in mind, though? Didn’t a guy named Jefferson say that the Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants, or something like that?

    If Bush’s daughters or relatives joined the military, you can be sure that they would be assigned to some deskbound duty stateside.

    During the Civil War, Lincoln’s son Robert spent the whole war at Harvard. Finally, in early 1865, and after adverse comment, Lincoln arranged for his precious boy to join Grant’s staff as an aide-de-camp. Tough duty.

  16. W Baker May 3, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    Jim and Mullah Dick!,

    “So Mr. Bovard , I am actually capable of being a melancholy old idealist when the spirit moves. Your writing, patience and willing hosting of this slightly-off carnival of maniacs is much appreciated.”

    I’ll second that and offer a little early toast of whisky to you, Mullah! I don’t think I can do Laphroaig – too peaty and medicinal tasting for my liking. But I will pass along a little Oban. Not because of it’s greatness but because my paternal clan – the Stevensons – founded it – and then like all middling businessmen in my family, pissed it away!!


  17. Jim May 3, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    I’m shocked to hear this blog described as a “carnival.”

    I thought all along that it was actually more of a circus.

  18. Jim May 3, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    M Whitman – thanks for your comments – sorry I didn’t reply sooner.

    I don’t have any silver bullet recommendations on what people can do to make a difference. Certainly, getting more informed – spreading the word – and having the courage to stand up for your rights and liberties are vital first steps.

    Unfortunately, every generation of Americans seems gullible and complacent these days. I had thought that Bush would have “crossed the line” at several points and would spark a strong backlash. But the recoil has been quite anemic thus far.

    There is a tattered New York Times headline from the early 1990s I have taped to my office wall. It says, “For Chechens in the Mountains, Fighting is Winning.”

    For the near-term, simply fighting for one’s liberties is a type of victory in itself.

    Hopefully we will get the political rascals on the run sooner rather than later.

    There are a few principled politicians out there worth supporting. I am encouraged that Ron Paul is running for president – he is the only major party candidate for president that I can enthusiastically support in more than a quarter century.

  19. W Baker May 3, 2007 at 9:46 pm #


    I’ll be happy to pass along a copy of “Lee in the Mountains” by Mr. Davidson. Might be a little more apropos of your climes!!


  20. Jim May 3, 2007 at 10:24 pm #

    Well, I’m not in siege lines here, but I do wonder if things might be more fruitful back in the mountains…

    Thanks for posting the link to the poem – I had not seen that before.

    What is your take on some of the recent revisionist historians who concluded that the Confederacy could have won if it had dispersed its forces?

  21. W Baker May 4, 2007 at 9:36 am #


    I’m not sure of the Confederacy’s chances in the mountains, so to speak. Forrest certainly proved to be a winner using Fourth Generation warfare tactics, while Lee’s traditional campaign into Pennsylvania was disastrous.

    So I suppose there is a serious tactical argument for taking to the mountains, but it’s only academic. Sadly, the South has long ago been subsumed in every cultural dimension by the Leviathon. Tidewater Virginia is now no different than coastal Massachusetts nor coastal California – aside from smaller property taxes, perhaps.

    Our brightest and best men were killed in that needless war, and, most sadly of all, our gene pool has never recovered!! I used to place great hope in Richard Weaver’s notion of the South as a flywheel to American politics and mores, but after the past eight years of the South’s fervent support for the little simeon from Connecticut, I’m afraid that I would have to disagree with the old don.

    We may one day fall off the DC teat – to dredge up an old Andrew Lytle analogy, but it will not be of our choosing. Perhaps a forced weaning, however, will bring back a little sanity.

  22. Mace Price May 4, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    …Well now it’s 3,358 kids on the KIA list since I’ve sobered up. But the real outrage is that there’s only one thing that’ll will stop this Goddamn senseless, no win, disastrous War Policy, the havoc it continues to cause, and worse the future hatreds it is breeding…That being the continued American loss of life in Iraq. Each death only serves to demean, sicken and frustrate me further. That, and it’s bein’ the cause of my “takin’ to Likker;” is commencein’ to git hard on my liver.

  23. Mace Price May 4, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    …Make that 3,362 KIA

  24. Jim May 4, 2007 at 5:28 pm #


    I am always surprised when folks not raised in the Shenandoah Valley are mystified when I invoke his name.

    Forrest was an absolute master – it pangs me to read of all the crap he took from Richmond and his commanders.

    Amazing how many nitwits Richmond put in charge in the western theater….

  25. Mace Price May 4, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    …I reckon that 18th Century tactics with quasi 20th Century weapons on the killing fields at Sharpsburg–Better known to the Yankees as Anteitam–was the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

  26. Jim May 4, 2007 at 6:24 pm #

    I think the South could have won the war – or whipped the Northern armies to a stalemate – several times after Antietam.

    It was unfortunate that some of the southern generals were canonized after the war – the halos that were attached obscured some military failings.

  27. Mace Price May 4, 2007 at 7:59 pm #

    …Specially in the case of Braxton Bragg who N.B. Forrest wanted to beat hell out of, and the inept Leonidas Polk. But it was Grant and and that Goddamn Sherman who were able to face what Lincoln called “The cruel arithmatic” i.e., sacrificing 3to 4 Northern lives for every Southerner killed and still have ample reserves of troops left to overwhelm the South not to mention the blockade…Perfect example of the former were Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor. Provokes a thought. Has anyone ever wondered what makes Southern women so strong, intrepid, independent, resilient, tough the Steel Magnolia?…Very simple answer. They didn’t have much pick…An inordinate number of the men were dead. The South was full of hungry young women and widers.

  28. W Baker May 4, 2007 at 8:52 pm #

    Hah, hah, old Braxton Bragg!!! To this day you will never find a child born, “Braxton”, and the “Braggs” in the phone book are about as sparse as the ‘Zed’s’ I did, however, know a kid named Leonidas. His father was an Episcopalian vicar and probably never knew the hell the old boy went through every day in school!!

    But I live off Quintard Avenue – Polk’s buddy – so I can’t say much!

  29. Jim May 4, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

    At least you don’t live ON Quintard.

    At least the southerners with kids to name at least had more sense than the wizards in Richmond who kept giving Braxton Bragg armies to squander.

    On the other hand – it is difficult to turn left in downtown DC without running into some horsey statute of some second rate Yankee general.

  30. Mace Price May 5, 2007 at 12:19 am #

    …Yessir, Like Whiskey Joe Hooker and ‘at Goddamn goggle eyed George Meade, Pope, and the wurst’a all the sumbitches, Ambrose Burnside.

  31. Dirk W. Sabin May 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    To W. Baker: placing all the blame for His Chimpanzexcellency on Connecticut ignores the special relationship and final grooming the strutting martinette had with his beloved Texas. Nutmeggers may be provincial, cantankerous and seek commercial dominance but they aint normally Empire Building Firebrands in the manner of the Texans. Home rule is still a treasured concept in our smaller Town-Meeting villages.

    After all, El Mission Accomplishensis II and his Poppy received their most important lessons in Texas. As reported in Eisenhower’s autobiography of his first administration: It seems Ike used the example of Senator Bush (grandpappy)as one of the reasons he intended to veto or oppose an Oil Industry related Bill. They had gotten word that some Texas Oil Baron was complaining bitterly about all the money he donated to Senator Bushes (Prescott) campaigns and how the “ingrate” was now ammending a bill against their wishes. He told all present that Senator Bush aint gonna get no more of his black-gold funding and furthermore, his son (Poppy, GHW) “aint gonna get any business from my friends neither”…. or words to that effect. Some may say this illustrates the Senator being ethical despite his industry funding but I really think they got an early Texas lesson and never forgot it.

    As to Forrest, I once asked a former Army officer who went to West Point and his two compadres from the alma mater if they had discussed Forrest in Guerilla War strategy courses. None of them, and these were no dopes… had ever heard of or knew of Forrest!

    One of the saddest things of Memphis is Forrest Park, near the old Sun Studios. On a trip there a few years ago, I made a minor pilgrimage to the park to check the statue out after walking through Sun Studios . It was about 3 months or so after a major local windstorm. Well, there in the park, in a marginal neighborhood on a main road was the statue but it was surrounded by downed limbs from the storm, long grass, cracked sidewalks and general neglect. I asked somebody about it and they replied that Forrest is a bit “controversial” (unlike MLK I suppose)and that politically, nobody liked to talk much about the old Devil. Apparently Fort Pillow and early anti-carpetbagger…aka KKK action excluded NBF from polite conversation. Though a long-time Westerner-Yankee sympathizer, I personally took umbrage and am not at all surprised we are in the fix we are currently in militarily when West Point Graduated Officers don’t know who the hell Forrest is. As regards to slavery, I understand the old firebreather redeemed himself in his old age and anybody with even a modicum of historical literacy will understand the anti-carpet baggger foundations of the KKK and so temper any easy post-mortem assumptions they might make.

    Could the South have prevailed after a protracted mountain guerrilla war? I really doubt it but I think it is safe to say that the Republic likely missed having what could have been one of it’s best presidents in Lee. Artillary, money, time, expendable grunts and industrial capacity won the war for the North, certainly not the quality of the northern generalship. The lack of an instantanious media depiction of the carnage of the battlefield also no doubt helped. The major good thing regarding northern officers and the Civil War is that it demonstrated McClellans ineptness and dashed his long-held hopes for the Presidency.

    The current pampered citizenry would clamp their vents shut and vapor-lock if confronted by the level of destruction seen during the Civil War.

    The North won the civil war but set in motion a Federalization that would ultimately weaken the Republic and the same essential story exists today, we won the Cold War but set in motion attitudes and behavior that has severely exposed and weakened us.
    “Winning” does have it’s perjorative qualities.

  32. Fun With War Crimes April 27, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED … what a joke. We knew it when it was spoken but even more ironic now.
    -Fun With War Crimes

  33. Ann Le Messurier July 5, 2008 at 3:30 am #

    Jim I am interested in your comment on your family “The Oban Stevenson’s”.
    I am a great great grand daughter of John Stevenson, born 1800, please contact me when you have time I would love to talk about the family
    Ann Le Messurier