For the sake of accuracy, tradition (conservatives like that), and the delicacy you expressed as regards the use of the "s" word in an earlier blog - might I suggest "gynodisestablishmentarian" in place of your opening word?
By the way, as I am always up at 6 am PDT, I have in fact caught several of your shows and think you're doing a bang up job. Watch out because I may call in some time. I still disagree with enough of your positions to make it interesting. (insert smiley here)Comment Posted By JK Moran On 18.07.2006 @ 23:16
Fine piece, Rick, which I remember well from last year and was going to comment on at the time. Interestingly, today - the 130th anniversary of the battle - is also a Sunday, as the day of the original battle was.
I may in fact blog on this later today because of some of the political parallels to today, but here I would offer briefly a couple of comments that I intended to make last year.
The story of "Curley" (Shuh-Shee-Ansh), the Crow scout who told people later that he "changed his hair" to appear to be a Lakota and wrapped himself in a blanket to escape from the final killing on Last Stand Hill was even before his death exposed as spurious. Having seen (with the other Crow and the Arikara or "Ree" scouts) the enormous size of the Shyela/Lakota/Arapaho pony herd from the Crow's Nest (because as you note accurately they could not see the full dimensions of the village), Curley politely excused himself from the impending conflict with the permission and blessing of Custer and Reno, who understood (and in fact were counting on) the Indians' dislike of open, pitched, frontal combat. The Crows and Rees had agreed to lead Custer to the Lakota; having done so, they were excused.
The Crow scouts by all accounts warned Custer against riding into the valley, telling him (as they adduced from the number of ponies visible to their naked eyes but not to Custer even with a spyglass)that there were more Sioux in the valley than there were stars in the skies. Curley was among these; he likely trailed along for a while and in all probability saw the last stand conflict but was more than two miles distant.
The Rees glumly painted themselves and sang death songs before riding into the valley and meeting their ends - motivated by their personal code of honor, which included loyalty to their chief, in this case Custer, with whom they had an intense and personal bond, especially Bloody Knife. [Funny how this point never gets mentioned any more in discussions about GAC, the battle, the politics involved, and so on.]
Often overlooked - except in modern times by Connell and Wert, as you mention - was the fact that Custer's basic battle plan, though based on incomplete and flawed intelligence (this being the point where the charge of arrogance has the most traction) was good and had worked before at Washita and elsewhere because of the differing styles and manners of warfare practiced by the two groups. Custer had in excess of 700 fully armed and supplied troops. He believed he was facing an enemy of perhaps 1500 in strength. Now the actual number of warriors was at least twice that and more likely triple - but Indians fought as indivdiduals demonstrating bravery, not as disciplined combat units. Hence, there were REPEATED encounters in the old West in which small but disciplined groups of whites defeated or at least survivied encounters with overwhelmingly superior Indian forces. Beecher Island is the most notable example, where fewer than 50 cavalry troops and scouts held out for two days against over 2,000 Cheyenne warriors - or similar numbers in the Wagon Box Fight.
Custer was an intuitive cavalry officer - his "luck" was actually a seldom-erring judgment about when and how to engage. The "reckless" description that Chris alludes to above was actually what earned him and Wesley Merritt the promotion from captain to brigadier general in early 1863 - the fearless willingness to commit cavalry to a frontal charge which, by the way, the brigadier was expected to lead and which Custer - red-kerchiefed, white-hatted, and blond-curled - invariably did, having had eight horses shot from under him in the Civil War. Cavalry troopers lives were absolutely expendable - they were shock troops, after all - and Custer expended them to greater effect than any other Civil War cavalry leader, including Jeb Stuart (whom Custer defeated and killed at yellow Tavern in 1864). By contrast, Grant's dogged, frontal infantry chrage, siege, trench, and attack strategy was much more controversial at the time, and Grant was liable to far more criticism for "wasting" troops than Custer ever was.
The fires of 1984 and 1989 that Joe Deaen refers to brought to light a number of fascinating artifacts. For me, the positve indentification of the skull and bone fragments of chief of scouts Mitch Bouyer and the remains of Lonesome Cherley Reynolds were the most interesting. The historical fact of most significance, though, was that the Indians were much, much better armed than previously supposed - modern ballistics enabling archeologists to trace the movement of dozens of indian weapons across the huge battlefied by following expended shell casings.
And as much of a student of the battle as I have been for forty-five years - as you again note, it wasn't until I actually visited and walked the battlefield in 1985 that I fully comprehended what had happened and why the survivors of Reno's battalion, most especially Lt. (later general) Edward Godfrey, never quite understood why Custer's battalion was annihilated.
Now, I am not a fan of the PC and "history-lite" PBS series "History Detectives," which relies again and again on conjecture and politically shaded judgments passed off as facts - and man, did they get this one wrong. There certainly WAS a last stand. Custer had dropped off the "Wild I" company under Keogh a mile and a half from Last Stand Hill - 30 or so troopers under his best battlefield commander. Calhoun's C Company remained on Calhoun Hill about halfway between Keogh and Custer. The rout occurred when Custer apparently detatched E company and sent them into the Deep Ravine which even today is nearly impossible to be seen from Last Stand Hill.
The Cheyenne decimated E; I was killed to the man in disciplined ranks surrounded by volleyed shell casings; remnants of C and E made their way to Last Stand Hill, overwhelmed from the rear by at least 900 of Crazy Horses's Oglalla warriors while engaged from the front by Gall's Hunkpapa.
The interesting parallel I would draw today might be between Custer's Rumsfeldian sense that a small but disciplned quick strike force could subdue an enemy in his own country as opposed to General Terry's Colin-Powellian plan to mass "overwhelming force" to destroy an enemy force and forcibly occupy his land.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 25.06.2006 @ 12:58
And I truly recognize your frustration with just such a generalization as I made. Certainly your sensitivity to my broad brush stroke - and I am presuming your active engagement with politics that leads you to read and post here - belies the slacker canard casually tossed your way by some of my fellow boomers.
Some generalizations have roots in a partial or perceived reality, which is why I would never take offence at the self-absorption allegation levelled at boomers, even though I don't agree with it. My GenX indictment above was a flippant and frustrated comment that grew from a multitude of experiences with the slacker menrality (and I have been a high school and college teacher for more than 30 years).
Thanks to the entirely appropriate (in my view) umbrage that you took at being lumped into a generalization, I will most assuredly be more careful of the injustice of such statements here and elsewhere.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 22:40
sorry - the second half of my comments isn't getting posted - after quoting Andy I wrote:
You were welcome to make exactly this sort of generalization even without mine, and I'm sure you know that people have made just such a generalization.
While I of course would not agree with it, it is certainly a point of view worth serious discussion, as the implications of the bb generation aging into retirement are profound for Gen X and everyone else younger.
Rather than attempt a generational defence here and now (might be a good idea at some point for my own blog), I would simply point out on my brother's right wing website that much of the success of the conservative revolution of the last 25 years has been due to these self-same Boomers, the ones who regarded the excesses of the New Left of the late 60s with enough disdain to work for decades to counteract what they regarded as the excesses of a fringe element of their own demographic cohort.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 19:25
>>you still make generational generalizations. I supposed I can therefore make some of my own about the Boomers, who are a bunch of self-centered spoiled bratsComment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 19:23
- is silly. No one I know on the Left "define themselves as a Centrist." A centrist is anyone named Clinton; only from the far far right could either of them be called a "liberal." It has nothing to do with preferring generally unshaded news anyway.
From a strictly rhetorical point of view, your last 2 sentences and concluding fragment vitiate whatever integrity the rest of your comments may have had initially.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 11:27
Good points brother Rick, especially about the presumed brand of newspapers being news. When newspapers drift in either direction from this, they lose credibility even when they gain readership.
To Squidgie - I believe you are reading my point only partially correctly. The bow is skewed indeed, but on the whole rather more to the right than left - in news and talk radio, in the majority of now corporate-owned newspapers, in advocacy outfits like Fox. The change has been in the shift away from family ownership as with the Sulzbergers, Grahams, and Chandlers in which the particular politics of the owners found expression in at least (and traditionally exclusively) in the editorial pages.Fox reflects Murdoch; this is hardly what one would call "straight."
And this -
>>I love the persistence with which Lefties declare that they want their news â€œstraightâ€, like they all define themselves as Centrist. Just saying it doesnâ€™t make it true but if it ainâ€™t true (and it ainâ€™t) then it alters your navigation but you are unable to correct. Here be serpents. And we call them Democrats.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 11:15
All right, Andy - allow me to re-phrase away from GenX et cetera to something along the line of "callow and ill-informed younger target audiences in the 18 to 39 year old demographic."
And there are no glass houses here as regards that.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 10:07
Post Script -
And I am hoping that you will reflect on (and perhaps engage with me concerning) your right wing activist law-making precedent-ignoring original-intent-blasting judges on the US Supreme Court continuing the gutting of the Fourth Amendment in "Hudson vs. Michigan."
- whose case name the LA Times, by the way, never mentioned in an entire article on the decision. Not what I call journalism.
And though the editorial page gets in a huff about this, I neglected to add above that this supposedly liberal paper endorsed all of Schwarzenegger's right-leaning but defeated propositions in the recent primary election.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 09:50
And from yet another brother -
As a dedicated reader of the LA Times for the entire thirty three years of my residence here, I have several times in the last ten years canceled my subscription over its descent into GenX-pandering mediocrity.
The only thing that has prevented me from so doing has been that experience we all had growing up of sharing and passing around parts of the paper at the breakfast table (after, of course, His Lordship [aka Daddy] had finished with it). Force of habit - I need an hour in the morning to read a newspaper, and not on a computer screen - and LA has no other practical choice.
[And for Rick's regular readers, sharing sections of the Chicago Tribune - USA today before there WAS a USA today - created some interesting conflicts that made subsequent political disputes seem mild by comparison, especially over the sports page].
That aforementioned descent began ten years or more ago with a pseudo-liberal PC coloring infecting its newswriting, most especially on the front page, that galled the hell out of me, even when the ultimate political point was one I had some sympsthy with.I like my news, like my coffee, straight.
But what conservatives need to understand is that you just can't play that old "liberal media" card any more, if you ever could. It just does not exist aside from maybe the New York Times and perhaps ABC or CNN. You've set up a straw man in order to reinforce the image of the embattled and righteous (conservative) warrior.
The LA Times is your poster child for this reality.
Media in this country is controlloed by a small number of very large CORPORATIONS. They are profit-making machines, responsible ultimately to their shareholders, and rarely if ever tempted by political philosophy (unless it's regulation-free, free market capitalism). They will sell whatever they think most people will buy, and their political consciences rarely extend much if at all beyond the bottom line.
The LA Times sensed it was losing readership at the same time - about 6 years ago - that Times-Mirror was sold to - the Chicago Tribune. The TRIBUNE, brothers - never a liberal or even moderate voice in American media.
And the LA Times abandoned its "liberalism" - a kind of noblesse obilge fostered by the recently-deceased Otis Chandler - for a "what we can sell a more conservative-readership - ism."
That included heavily weighting their op-ed page with CONSERVATIVE columnists, jettisoning Robert Scheer,their last true liberal pundit - and skewing the opinion writing to mewling and puking Gen X scums whose "political" bent is a kind of generic "yeah, man" conservatism. And you guys wouldn't want these writers, either - they do not represent even a conservative point of view with any vigor or intelligence.
In short, the LA Times has sold its soul and birthright for a mess of pottage. In attempting to appeal to what it perceives as its market, it has alienated much of its readership base - no longer liberal yet not quite conservative and in no way objective. It's a mess.Comment Posted By JK Moran On 16.06.2006 @ 09:32
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