Starts as an excellent lecture on McClellan and Lee by Dr. Rafuse & quickly veers into “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

A really excellent talk on by Ethan S. Rafuse on McClellan and Lee, and the gentlemanly/outdated West Point notions they brought to the Civil War. (Which, by the way, didn’t hamper Robert E. Lee from fighting in the way it did McClellan.)

As a University of Missouri alumnus – where I was born – as well as serving as Park Ranger at the Harry S. Truman National Memorial Site, I like his nod to technology at the beginning of his talk. My father would most definitely approve.

“The Civil War –“

(“Looks like we got an issue with the Clicker, here.”)


“Either Duct tape it or slam it into something. One of those two will make it work.”

This sets up perfectly a lecture titled: “We always understood each other so well.”

[GEHH aside]

And also makes me take a little curve into the virtuoso performance of James Whitmore in Samuel Gallo’s

“Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

which, of course, my Dad filmed just in time for the 1976 elections and then unveiled in “Whistle Stop Campaign” fashion. While not an exacting historical record, it gets wholly deserved recognition for bringing focus back onto Truman’s legacy.


“…’Well, Congressman, while I am most grateful of your concern for me and your possible influence with the Almighty, from what I know of the man, He’s got a helluva lot more important things to do –”

“And sign that, ‘God’s humble servant, Harry S. Truman.’


give em hell harry - .. --and sign that-----

” …and sign that God’s Humble Servant –“



“You wanna cut ‘helluva lot?’

“Fine, Rose, cut it out — 


give em hell harry ..--.. fine rose cut it out

” –doesn’t matter, cut it out, if it makes it easier for you –“


“Doesn’t matter. If it makes it easier, cut it out.”

“Alright. Now the next one is going to Senator Bishop of Colorado —

give em hell harry -_...and sign that ..god.s humble servant harry s truman...__


‘Dear Senator,

not only would I not appoint John L. Lewis, Ambassador to the Soviet Union — 



give em hell harry - .. --and sign that-----

“I wouldn’t appoint the old bastard dogcatcher.”


“Don’t you want to cut ‘old bastard,’ Rose?”

“Oh, you don’t?”

[end GEHH aside]










The South – Grant – and what about the cotton strategy?

So, this fact is obviously not news to Ethan S. Rafuse – military historian – but since you mention cotton,

what about the South deciding to use that great stick they certainly did have – COTTON – by choosing to starve the system instead of flooding it?

Look, I’m sure this is probably the stuff of tons of scholarly debate that simply doesn’t rise to my level of experience, but point me to it, because I would very much like to add to it.

I could, in but a few hours, add thousands of words and hundreds of footnotes on why this was

the stupidest decision ever in the history of warfare.

And that statement contains only the thinnest shred of hyperbole, despite my reputation.

The South should not have risked the chance that the world could survive without their cotton.

Even in the realm of the tightest Secondary Order Effect [SOE] it has little payoff for what should have been seen as an unacceptable risk.

Because it was an unacceptable risk.

No serious scholar argues this.

In trying and starve the globe of cotton in the hopes that it would come begging, the South also bankrupted itself.

But of course, the worst and most foreseeable risk was that the world might discover that it could survive just fine without slave-picked cotton.

As it did.

Meanwhile, you’ve bankrupted yourself for the promise of a payday that will never materialize.

Now what?




Vicksburg – well, first, Grant more broadly – (and an amusing time-traveling sidetrack to Gettysburg)

unconditional surrender grant clipped

Grant at Ft. Donelson

So I really want to concentrate on Vicksburg but because Vicksburg was really about long, difficult, and seemingly endless preparation and because in that situation the purely personal relationships are key – and because Steve Knott’s Army War College lecture is so good – I’m going to put it up first so that at least I will have it close by to liven up my swamp digging siege stuff.

Let Steve Knot tell you why Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart ended up in Carlisle while the rest of the Confederates were converging on Gettysburg. Then we’ll head back to the long slog at Vicksburg.

Actually, you know what, before the terrain heavy, tactical, and brilliant siege Grant laid to Vicksburg, I think, because this is my own damn blog and I can put up any damn thing I want, it is my pleasure to just roll around in the amazingness of Grant in general and this, in my humble opinion, is one of the best takes on him that exists.

The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant and the American Civil War


Dr. Richard J. Sommers

at the

U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

From the YouTube description:

Ulysses S. Grant was neither a magnetic leader of Soldiers (such as George McClellan or George Patton) nor a military genius (in the mold of Robert E. Lee or Douglas MacArthur). Yet his qualities of command mark him as the best general in the Federal Army and one of the most successful generals in all of American history. Most significantly, he understood how to convert advantages into achievements. Our February program analyzes the generalship of Ulysses S. Grant, identifies his many strengths as a military commander, and yet also acknowledges limitations in his leadership. The presentation proceeds to place his generalship in the overall context of the American Civil War.




“Well, you’re looking at the wrong guy” Bacevich on the Middle East


andrew bacevich

Dr. Bacevich: “Well, you’re looking at the wrong guy.”

Col./Prof. Andrew Bacevich is never one to shove sunshine up anyone’s ass when it’s raining. He’s always been beautifully no-nonsense, and everyone who knows him and knows the price he and his family have paid for our ongoing Middle East debacles, understands that he grasps the true costs.
In this short clip where the questioner says: “I need cheering up,” Col. Bacevich answers, I think, for many of us who spend so much mental energy and time in the weeds of the Middle East.
One cannot be a Middle East scholar and cheery at the same time.


Nazis Make a Lot of Sense – Military Theory Part II


We need brute force to keep our drones. We certainly cannot lose them to the enemy. For our drones we need Germany. 

We are not leaving Germany to chance.

Oh, say, you know who’s good at that?


Yesterday’s article written by Lili Bayer was featured on today’s Democracy Now! and Forward reporter Larry Cohler-Esses made a surprisingly devastating case that Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s “chief counter-terrorism consultant,” is a pledged member of the Hungary -based, Nazi Vitézi Rend group founded in World War II. (Gorka is a Hungarian national who only received US citizenship five years ago.)

And I’m saying it makes sense from the military perspective. In the cold, dead, Machiavelli mindset it makes perfect sense to pack Nazis into every government crack you can find. Through the lens of this murderous, greedy, necrophiliac Pentagon pestilence America has nourished for a century, it makes perfect sense.

In fact, from the perspective of the Pentagon’s Rumsfeld/Cheney “burrowed” warmongering staff,* not having Nazis would be the nonsensical choice.

These guys are playing the long game and we have been letting them by following their shiny Strawmen, of whom Trump is, in many ways, just the worst of the lot in a long line of anger-deflecting, useful idiots in our puppet regime.

And the Masters of War know how weak he is; they wanted him weak. And they know that he won’t last, and they don’t want him to. They’re almost done, anyway. So while we’re watching 24-hour cable news with ads from Boeing because God knows Jake Tapper fans are huge Boeing customers another group of our official mouthpieces whose paychecks are paid by their advertisers, like Boeing and Walmart and MasterCard and KFC, whose interests lie in anything but an informed public and whose business plans are based on ratings, where the only thing that tops controversy is war, they are busy putting the final touches on their final scene.

They are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on the There’s No Going Back Now plan.

We are already at war. We have been at war.  For a long damn time, now.

News is almost extinct, civil rights are nonexistent, censorship is being battened down with furious rapidity and almost no mention, and after that, it’s

So from their point of view, Trump’s complete idiocy is an asset.

Nobody is minding the store. Not that a president has had much power to “mind the store” in a long while, but still, politicians are a pesky bunch and as the future, in their minds, is a fait accompli – because it doesn’t take a West Point grad to see that bombing the same motherfuckers you’re arming is


not a good idea, and that sooner or later the term “nuclear option” takes on a more literal meaning.

And since arming the people we’re bombing has been official military policy for so long we don’t even notice it, what’s the play?

(There is one. A simple one. But we’re in these assholes’ addled brains at the moment, and yes, those probably are worms you’re feeling crawling all over you, so we won’t stay long.)

Now, based on everything these assholes have done and are doing, based on only the facts that no one argues over, and from their perspective:

what is their play?

Any eighteen year old Army Private is well versed in “first-order effects” and “second-order effects.” This is not rocket science.

So Trump and his band of loyal Nazis is their answer.

And our chance.

Just as the solution is always inside the problem; just as every equation is always simultaneously its own inverse; and since the question is the answer and the answer is the question, it just might be that this useful idiot is quite useful to us as well.

Trump has given us a target and aroused passion. And Lord God Almiiiiitey, did we ever need that!

Still, there are those of us who still must keep our eye on the War Machine ball speeding along at breakneck pace. Some who know that changing Trump for Pence or Clinton or whatever other Scarecrow they stick in front of us changes the font and leaves the equation intact.

This is not an insect bite. This is in the bloodstream. In the marrow. In the soil, the seeds, the water, the industry, the food, churches, schools, clothes, air, and the fucking small town fire departments, for god’s sake. So it’s pretty important that those who actually can grasp that, do.

On September 11th, 2001 three World Trade Towers fell

and so did any pretense of war.

The groundwork was laid. No more rehearsals.

Opening night had finally arrived.

And it does not take a wealth of world history to illustrate this.

Tic-Tac-Toe Level Knowledge is more than enough.

[Lights! Camera! ACTION!]

Two big dots on the horizon, please and thank you.


 Vietnam  → “War on Terror” 

  • Vietnam – a fucking mess

    • (Lesson: Volunteer Military, no damn draft.)
    • (Lesson: You don’t want actual news coming out.)

Both of these are symbiotic. And everything before and since, a million moving pieces only point one way. Detail folds in upon detail to form an HD mosaic. There is no puzzle once one looks. There are no deductions needed. But the world is vast and deep and we are flooded with input, so that even those who spend a lifetime studying cannot take it all in, let alone even know what information is needs to be taken in.

We see fragmented sections, and if that is not by design, it must entail one extraordinary flood of coincidences.

  • War on Terror: there is no “we” in “war”

    • (Lesson: Except where absolutely necessary never ever let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. In fact, chop off every hand you can and move as rapidly as possible to eliminate hands attached to humans altogether.)

Humanity is the death of war.

Can’t have that.

[[of aside of aside of aside]]
I am stating both those very evidence-packed conclusions as fact without putting forward even a hint of supporting testimony – something I am not given to doing – because I believe the prima facie facts involved are so strong as to be presumptively stipulated to.
  • My belief that there’s no chance in hell anyone will ever read this particular post may have factored in, as well.
But, on the off chance, like, the way, way off-chance that there is any man or machine in existence that will both read this and believe there is some opposing fact that calls the into question a presumptive stipulation,, even if improbably,  I will retract it as fact, add your thoughts and support for claim(s) questioned.
[[of aside of aside of aside]]

Well hell, I don’t know.

Maybe it is just that the military, not usually a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants type organization, has moved in such an exponentially aggressive compartmentalization that soldiers themselves are terrified by it, wholly by happy accident.

That’s probably it. Just chance.

And yes,

– stop any internal dialogue –

we are so at fucking war. Until recently no one has even mentioned the Navy, and even now the only focus is on fucking China.

Unless I’m forgetting some famous New York Times or WaPo reporters on the US Navy beat. And no, Trump’s little soiree on the Gerald Ford the other day does not count.

(Okay, not digressing into a 5th Fleet rant.)


(And here is, at last, the actual point, just about 2,500 words in.)


Nazis make sense, you know,


Team Kill Kill Kill


Germany is in serious play. Germany is not optional for the US militarily.

Germany is the keys to the kingdom.

The drones are certainly not all that Germany means. NATO is rather obvious, but for practical, Socratic reasoning let us remove the abstraction altogether for now.

We don’t need chess, here. This is Tic-Tac-Toe.


We need brute force to keep our drones. We certainly cannot lose them to the enemy. For our drones we need Germany.

We are not leaving Germany to chance.

Oh, say, you know who’s good at that?


*At the end of W’s administration there were tons of articles on the marked degree of staff-stuffing that was going on. The practice is known as burrowing.

The Strait You’ve Never Heard Of


“The Red Sea, with the Suez Canal in the north and the Bab el-Mandeb in the south, is one of the most vital sea lines of communication and a critical shipping link between our Pacific and European allies … Since a significant part of USCENTCOM’s forces would deploy by sea, ensuring these waterways remain open to free world shipping must be a key objective.”

-General Norman Schwarzkopf, Head of US Central Command; 1990 testimony to the U.S. Senate

Some more 5th Fleet action: NAVCENT

Found this one on Saudi-US Information website listed under the hashtags #nottrending #antiviral

Lucky you have me, I guess.

I was, perhaps, a bit defensive about one particular term chosen by Batmish for my otherwise ridiculously complementary bio page in his graphically extraordinaire Christmas “Art As Arson” publication; and that term was “arcane.”

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

He called me a “dabbler in the arcane.”

I’m beginning to see his point.