Bush joins Lincoln as detested war leader

Discussion in 'Politics' started by -Cp, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    T he president lied us into war. Much of the prewar intelligence was wrong. The defense chief was detested as "brusque, domineering and unbearably unpleasant to work with." Civil liberties were abridged. And many embittered Democrats, claiming the war had been a failure, demanded the troops be brought home.

    George Bush? Yes -- but also Abraham Lincoln. One is struck by the parallels in reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's masterful new book, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln."

    Lincoln repeatedly asserted that his aim was to prevent the spread of slavery, not eliminate it in the South. "I believe I have no lawful right to do so," Goodwin quotes him as saying.

    Thus when he issued his Emancipation Proclamation two years into the war, freeing the slaves in the Confederate states, his Northern critics claimed that he had misled the country. A bloody and unnecessary war was being fought in a Utopian effort to bring the blessings of democracy to a people who had little experience with it.

    Oh, where did this president get off claiming, as Lincoln did, that his implied powers as commander-in-chief allowed him to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, perhaps the most fundamental bulwark of liberty in the Anglo-Saxon tradition?

    Only much later did Lincoln seek congressional authorization for the suspension of habeas corpus, despite the Constitution's instruction that Congress must agree beforehand. And not until 1865 did the administration get around to pushing the 13th Amendment ending slavery.

    After the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., Secretary of State William Seward, Lincoln's closest adviser, predicted the war would be over in 60 days. Lincoln called on the states for only 75,000 troops -- who promptly got whipped at a place called Bull Run.

    As the casualties mounted -- 23,000 would die or be wounded on both sides in the Battle of Antietam -- the civilian chiefs, including Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, were fiercely criticized.

    The criticism came not from a few retired generals flogging their memoirs but from the active duty commander, Gen. George McClellan. McClellan, who regularly referred to Lincoln as "that ape" and once kept him waiting at his headquarters while he took a nap, had a familiar complaint: Washington wasn't giving him enough troops to do the job.

    With the support of the "Peace Democrats," McClellan ran for president in 1864. Lincoln won by 400,000 votes and a landslide in the Electoral College, but it could have gone the other way. Before Gen. William Sherman took Atlanta in early September, signaling that the war was winnable, Lincoln, an excellent political nose-counter, had predicted he would be re-elected -- but only by three electoral votes.

    No, Bush is no Lincoln. As Kearns Goodwin makes clear, Lincoln was a rare combination of visionary -- his rhetoric may be America's greatest poetry -- and "political genius." Most, if not all, historians agree that a bloody Civil War was probably inevitable. Iraq bids fair to be the quagmire critics say it is.

    But the parallels suggest a degree of modesty among those inclined to see Bush -- and his embattled defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld -- as unmitigated disasters. As with Lincoln, much will depend on the outcome.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060423/OPINION03/604230342/1267
     
  2. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Not to nitpick...well, yes, to nitpick, but they were defeated at a place called Manassas. Bull Run was the name of the nearest creek. Now, off on a huge tangent (don't worry, I'm going back on topic at the end of the post), anybody remember Encyclopedia Brown. One story really brought out my southern upbringing. In the case, a guy claimed to have a sword given to some officer by General Lee after "First Bull Run" as indicated on the inscription. The official solution was that Lee wouldn't have known to call it "First" Bull Run until the second one was fought. My solution was that a smart, southern gentleman like Lee would have known to call that battle Manassas.

    Anyway, back on topic. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The difference between being a blessing and a scourge is who criticizes you. Only the meek draw little criticism.
     
  3. BaronVonBigmeat
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    BaronVonBigmeat Senior Member

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    Yes, there are many striking parallels between Lincoln and Bush.

    That's not a compliment to Bush however.
     
  4. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    if i want your opinion i will give it to you. :funnyface
     

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