Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

I haven’t done a “random news” post in a while, so here’s a round up some items that have caught my eye in the last few days.  Some are links originally posted by friends on Facebook, others are more random.

First–I grew up reading H. E. Marshall’s An Island Story and An Empire Story, and was pleasantly surprised to run across this version she did of Guy of Warwick (I gave a paper on aspects of the story over the weekend, so I have the tale very much on the brain).  Great fun, and worth reading.  See the TEAMS edition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick for more information on the tale itself and a good edition of the text by a leading scholar on the subject.

In more serious vein, apparently the chap responsible for concocting the story about WMDs in Iraq is coming out and “telling all.”  Or just did, the other night, on national British TV.  Sort-of boggles the mind, really, but on the other hand I guess this kind of…crap…has been going on for ages.  Not much else to say, really.

Random historical news: Renaissance painter Caravaggio was murdered by the Knights of St. John, according to a new study by Professor Vincenzo Pacelli of the University of Naples.  Not everyone is buying the theory, but it’s pretty intriguing, and rests on some suggestive evidence.  A couple weeks ago, Michael White posted a rumination the origins of Parliament in The Guardian.  Rather a nifty summary, and I appreciated especially the way he emphasized how easily English political institutions could have developed differently.  Oh, and did you know that Handel wrote an opera on Richard the Lionheart?  Performed in 1727; apparently it has to be seen to be believed, and it WAS seen–front and center in the London Handel Festival. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get the DVD any time soon…

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A short post for a busy day…

I should have known this before, I suppose, but I just saw yesterday that Robert Citino, the great scholar of the Wehrmacht, has a blog, to which I would earnestly direct your attention. He writes with the same energy that he has at conferences.  Two notices from Steve Muhlberger’s blog: one on a real “casting call” for “full metal jousting.” No joke.  And a second is a call for critiques of Historian on the Edge’s post “The Unbearable Weight of Being a Historian.”  Worth reading, and I might do a post on this myself in the near future.

Next, a link from Medievalists.net to an old article about medical practices in the crusader states.

And finally, two stories from the Small Wars Journal: one about recent Army worries regarding “toxic leadership” (read their definition of what a toxic leader is–not just confined to the Army, imho), and one by Mark Kukis on why a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be the best thing for all concerned.

Ok, back to work…

There have been lots of great posts on The New York Times‘ “Disunion” Civil War blog. Here are a few of them, as I’ve remembered to keep them open in my browser!  In “The Foot Comes Down,” Ted Widmer discusses Lincoln’s speeches in New Jersey (a clear reason for me to post it).  And Steven Hahn, a brilliant scholar and Rochester alum, discusses “What Lincoln meant to the slaves.” Most recently, Susan Schulten looks at the myths and realities of western expansion and Kansas in “How the West was Won.”

A couple of other related stories include an interesting article by Scott Casper called “Rebranding Mount Vernon,” on the estate’s former slaves and their role in memorializing Washington’s home.   Aaaaand, just to bring us up to the current world, a notice about the reenactment of Jefferson Davis’ swearing-in. For reals. I’ll hold my tongue for now. Ok, I won’t…sometimes I think that the problem lies in that while the federal government may not have had the “legal” power to end slavery, the South wasn’t about to get rid of it–which tends to be the argument I’ve heard advanced by Southern apologists as to why slavery wasn’t really important even on moral grounds, as left to itself the Old South was slowly deciding to do away with the institution. Hogwash. In fact, one of the few sweeping federal powers granted in the Southern constitution (if memory serves) was  the government’s right and duty to enforce slavery, which no state could legally abolish. Which gets us right back to where we started.

I apologize for all the articles being from the NYT, which someone said recently has had far more to say about the Middle East than Wisconsin, but hey, the articles here are quality.  One takes one’s news as one can.

On a brief Afghanistan-related note, Nathaniel Fick and John Nagl (the noted Counter-Insurgency public advocate) argued in a recent column that yes, in fact, see the “surge” in Afghanistan is working just like it did in Iraq (ok, they’re not that blunt, but that’s essentially the message). I have my doubts about the “Iraq Surge” narrative, fostered by military folks on the other side of the debate with whom I’m acquainted, but the article’s worth the read.

Ok, that will have to do for today…I’ve already been working on chapter 4 for a few hours, and have to head out for some errands and then work on campus later.  Have a good day!