Saturday, October 01, 2005

Longstreet at Gettysburg

I believe that a Civil War example could help a lot in getting across the Democrats view on the military, the Iraq war and protesting against it. On the third day at Gettysburg, while Lee was planning what would become known as Pickett's charge, he asked Longstreet for his opinion on the plan. Longstreet's response is a classic
I have been a soldier all my life. I have commanded companies, I have commanded regiments. I have commanded divisions. And I have commanded even more. But there are no fifteen thousand men in the world that can go across that ground.

-- Gen James Longstreet, arguing with Gen Robert E. Lee against what became known as Pickett's Charge, July 1863

Longstreet objected to the action not because he hated the military, or was a pacifist, or because he wanted to be friends with the Union forces, or just "talk it out", but because he believed that if the ultimate objective of the Army of Northern Virginia was to maintain the existence of the Confederate States of America then the action proposed by Lee (Pickett's charge) would make that outcome less likely. It is for exactly this same reason that we on the left protest against the Iraq war. If the objective of the President of the United States is to maintain the safety and security of this nation, then the operation in Iraq makes that goal profoundly less likely

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