Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Reminder on 11/11/14

Posted: November 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daniel Franke:

Ok, I can’t help but repost this. Brooks D. Simpson, known to many for his wonderful biography of Ulysses S. Grant, hits on one controversial use of Veterans Day in this post. I agree with him completely, and will return to this theme in greater depth later in the week.

Originally posted on Crossroads:

UPDATE: Just in case cackin’ Connie Chastain claims I’ve distorted the message of this group. here’s what they say:

Twitter Four

Told ya–these folks don’t want you to honor United States veterans even as they want to honor Confederate veterans.

Watch Connie squirm. Watch Susan disappear.

—-original post—-

Today’s Veterans Day. We thank those who have served. We note members of our family who have served in actions stretching back to the birth of the republic.

Well, not all of us. You might want to take a look at the Twitter account of a group that claims it is linked to the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Twitter One

Well, as they asked no quarter, they won’t get any from me.

Twitter Two

So it’s all about honoring service and veterans, eh? Apparently not. We’ll hear that Confederate veterans are American veterans worth honoring, but not United States veterans.

And guess who…

View original 82 more words

Some of the top stories that caught my eye this week which you might have missed (outside of the military operations against Ebola, which you probably didn’t miss):

From Forbes, “Five Reasons America’s Army Wont’ Be Ready for the Next War,”

From The New York Times, this has been the biggest story this week: “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons.”

And a pingback on that story from Mother Jones, “No, There’s Still No Evidence There Was an Active WMD Program in Iraq.

On Business Insider: “America’s Elite Soldiers May Be Burning Out On The War On Terror.”

From Foreign Policy, “The Varnish of Vietnam,” which has links to the growing public debate over the commemoration (if that’s the right word) of the Vietnam War.

And last, but certainly not least, from Small Wars Journal, “Consequences be Damned: Solving 20th Century Problems with 19th Century Disregard,” by my friend and colleague David Musick.

October 16 was the fifty-second anniversary of the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world has come to a nuclear war. While I’m not sure that “celebrate” is the right word for the occasion, here are some links to more information on the topic.

A very detailed timeline of the crisis can be found at Nuclearfiles.org.

The George Washington University’s The National Security Archive is really the starting place for personal or classroom study. Its online collection “The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: the 40th Anniversary” has a great collection of materials.

The audio clip of Curtis Lemay telling Kennedy that he’s “in a pretty bad fix,” memorable to those who’ve seen the film Thirteen Days, can be located most precisely at the Miller Center’s online archive.

The big, interactive web project of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” also includes a nifty app for iPad (I haven’t tried this yet).

Among the most interesting pieces I’ve read is a story from last year in The Atlantic that draws on Sheldon M. Stern’s recent book The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory, which approaches the topic in a layered, textual, memory-studies way (as a medievalist, I appreciate these things…).  I think this is really a must-read piece, if you want to get a sense of some of the most recent trends in the scholarship are heading. The core reality of the situation, that the missiles really represented little by way of a strategic imbalance and that Khrushchev saw them as a response the U.S. stationing missiles in Turkey, seems to be well established by Stern, who was the first person to extensively study the Ex-Comm tapes, the conversations of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council. And the reality was that the removal of the missiles from Cuba was really a swap, the U.S. removing its Jupiter missiles from Turkey some months later. Kind of puts a different spin on things. Schwarz’s analysis, in The Atlantic, of the consequences of the Kennedy administration’s actions in terms of strategy and foreign policy, are substantial fare.

There was one comment after the article, however, which made me look up a few things. The commenter was claiming that it was actually the Eisenhower administration which deployed the Jupiter missiles to Turkey, and therefore that blaming Kennedy for creating his own mess is unfair. Without having read all the voluminous studies of the issue, this is true. The Jupiter missile was pushed by the Eisenhower administration, and negotiations for deployment overseas began in 1958.  The agreement with Turkey was concluded in October 1959, more than a year before Kennedy took office, although it was 1962 before the missiles were actually operational. So the idea for deployment originated with the Eisenhower administration, and I suppose just naturally carried over into the Kennedy administration. So, why not just can the idea, especially since the system was cumbersome and obsolete anyway? The answer would seem to be in Turkey’s role in the Cold War, which made the Turkish government very unenthusiastic about any action that suggested that they were less than a full member of NATO.

It’s always more complicated.