Slavery reparations issue refuses to fade away… Conyers’ recent troubles should put an end to discussion
Trump’s bizarre call for a military parade… there have only been a handful in US history.
DNA shows darker skin in early Britons… tests indicate Cheddar Man to be different from previous theories
Charlottesville struggles to cover Lee&Jackson monuments… activists are removing the shrouds each week
Congress votes to remove Jefferson’s name from Gateway to West… bill sent to Trump would rename the park “Gateway Arch National Park”
Shrouding our History
The buck stops here, General.
Harry Truman’s delightfully salty answer to why he fired Douglas MacArthur… spoke volumes about the division between our civilian and military authorities:
“I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President…I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the laws for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”
The buck is in his pocket
Today it appears the proverbial shoe is on the other foot… the ignorant whelp with conjectural progeny is in the oval office. Generals are now trying to steer a rational course and save the republic from a man-child with a serious Napoleon complex. The lines between the civilian and military are dangerously blurred.
The rivalry between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay defined American… political history during the Age of the Common Man. But this competition was far from standard, civil political discourse. Clay and Jackson despised each other.
Merely a Military chieftain
Jackson infamously described Clay in the following vitriol:
“He’s the basest, meanest scoundrel that ever disgraced the image of his God….nothing too mean or low for him to condescend to…(Clay) is the Judas of the West.”
Just Sour Grapes?
Clay never believed Jackson to be fit for public office:
“He is ignorant, passionate, hypocritical, corrupt, and easily swayed by the basest men who surround him. I cannot believe that the killing of two thousand Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies a person for the various difficult and complicated duties of the presidency”
Clay feared an unpredictable and potentially dangerous man… was using his martial popularity to win the nation’s highest office:
“But the impulses of public gratitude should be controlled by reason and discretion… I was not prepared blindly to surrender myself to the hazardous indulgence of a feeling… I solemnly believe General Jackson’s competency for the office to be highly questionable.”
On May 8, 1945, millions of people around the globe took to the streets to celebrate the World War II surrender of Germany on what came to be known as Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day. At 2:41 a.m. local time the previous day, representatives from the victorious Allied nations met with German officials […]
At 7:40 a.m. Jan. 25, 1944, five B-24 Liberator heavy bombers from the 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Squadron, took off from their base at Kunming, China, on a routine supply run to India. Their route took them over the Hump, a treacherous eastern stretch of tall peaks in the Himalayan mountains. At 10:45 a.m., flying […]
The Battle of Tarawa was one of the more terrible American experiences in the Pacific theatre of World War Two. It was one that would shape the future of amphibious assaults. In late 1943, the United States launched attacks in the central Pacific. These were meant to speed up victory in the war by drawing […]
When Barack Obama fired General Stanley McChrystal… partisans were quick to compare the move to Truman’s relieving of MacArthur. As noted in an earlier post, the comparison was faulty from its inception. McChrystal was placed in the improper position of a celebrity and interviewed by a journalist who did not provide proper boundaries for what was on or off the record. All of his comments, even the off-color ones, were printed in Rolling Stone magazine. Obama didn’t like the opinions of his commander and fired him for personal reasons.
The buck stops here, General.
MacArthur disobeyed orders from Truman… disregarded mandates from the United Nations, and was insubordinate when he met with members of Congress behind Truman’s back. Truman understood that generals would disagree with him, may even do so publicly. But MacArthur’s actions went far beyond critical words and Truman had to take action, “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.” The official public notice made it clear, in America, civilian authorities make policy, not soldiers.
“With deep regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States Government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties. In view of the specific responsibilities imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States and the added responsibility which has been entrusted to me by the United Nations, I have decided that I must make a change of command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of his commands and have designated Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway his successor.
Full and vigorous debate on matters of national policy is a vital element in the constitutional system of our free democracy. It is fundamental, however, that military commanders must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and Constitution. In time of crisis, this consideration is particularly compelling.
General MacArthur’s place in history as one of our greatest commanders is fully established. The Nation owes him a debt of gratitude for the distinguished and exceptional service which he has rendered his country in posts of great responsibility. For that reason I repeat my regret at the necessity for the action I feel compelled to take in his case”
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