This We’ll Defend

In Somerville, MA today, they will celebrate the raising of a new flag – they really should do this on 1 January, but they seem to think standing on a hilltop around Boston on 1 January is a mite chilly. No idea why. So they’re going to celebrate today. Works for me, since last Saturday was Flag Day, and today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. This is, of course, the first national flag, and is the first one to receive a salute from a foreign power. Specifically the Dutch under Governor Johannes de Graaff, at St Eustatius in the Caribbean to the brig Andrea Doria commanded by Captain Robinson, on 16 November 1776. The flag was first saluted on a naval vessel when The USS Ranger entered Quiberon Bay (under Brest) on 14 February 1778, under the command of Captain John Paul Jones.

Thos guys in Charlestown staring at the British 242 years ago today, were rather unique. Since the 14th of June, they had been the Continental Army which would become the United States Army, although the United States would not exist until 4 July 1776. That was the date that the Continental Congress adopted the New England Army, committed $2 million to its upkeep, and called for raising 10 companies of Riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland for its support. From the US Army Center of Military History

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies.  They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders.  The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army.  Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.  Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City.  Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.

John R. Maass
Historian
US Army Center of Military History

So, a slightly belated Happy Birthday to the “This We’ll Defend” guys on the anniversary of their first battle, which they lost, rather gloriously.

 

The Legacy of George Washington

Emanuel Leutze's depiction of Washington's att...

Emanuel Leutze’s depiction of Washington’s attack on the Hessians at Trenton on December 25, 1776, was a great success in America and in Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There used to be two federal holidays in February (plus St. Valentines day!). They honored the two most iconic of Americans, Presidents Washington, and Lincoln. Some years ago they were combined into the insipid President’s day, so that instead of honoring the best presidents for their own individual achievements, we could lump them in with the rest, like Carter, and Buchanon. So now, our teachers (and parents) have still another excuse for not teaching about the great men we have produced.

Well, here we are conservative, if it ain’t broke, we don’t fix it. But this was broke intentionally, to give the lazy still another 3 day weekend, which now only the terminally lazy (government workers, mostly) get. In any case, on Sunday, I spoke of Lincoln’s achievement. Yesterday was out of sequence, but Justice Scalia was clearly cut from the same cloth.

But today, we’ll speak of the man who was, is, and always will be considered

first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,”

With a military career spanning forty years, including three armies (British Colonial Militia, Continental Army, and United States Army) Including victory in the first of America’s wars, as an independent country, and that against the greatest empire of the age. Great Satan’s Girlfriend reminds us

Washington designed the American strategy for victory. It enabled Continental forces to Maintain their strength for six years and capture two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Some historians have lauded Washington for the selection and supervision of his generals, preservation and command of the army, coordination with the Congress, with state governors and their militia, and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. On the day of battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals.
Washington was not a great battlefield tactician; he sometimes planned operations that were too complicated for his amateur officers to execute. However, his overall strategy proved to be successful: keep control of 90% of the population at all times (including suppression of the Loyalist civilian population); keep the army intact; avoid decisive battles; and look for an opportunity to capture an outnumbered enemy army. Washington was a military conservative: he preferred building a regular army on the European model and fighting a conventional war, and often complained about the undisciplined American militia

One of Washington’s most important contributions as commander-in-chief was to establish the precedent that civilian-elected officials, rather than military officers, possessed ultimate authority over the military. This was a key principle of Republicanism, but could easily have been violated by Washington. Throughout the war, he deferred to the authority of Congress and state officials, and he relinquished his considerable military power once the fighting was over.

via President Washington Day

That would seem to be enough for one man accomplishments. In fact, when King George, asked the American ambassador, John Adams, what General Washington would do at the end  of the war. Adams told him, “He will retire to his farm.” The King then said, “Then he will be the greatest man in the world.” He did, and I see no reason to argue with the King on this one.

But that only about half of Washington’s life, the civic side. He was also as we noted above, a farmer.

It is as an entrepreneur, however, that Washington serves best to inspire Americans in the twenty-first century.

Industry was integral to Washington’s character. Denied a formal schooling because of the early death of his father, he devoted his early years to practical home-based learning in subjects like accounting, geometry and mathematics. His mother taught him thrift, self-discipline and a horror of debt. In his first teenage job as a surveyor, Washington demonstrated a passion for knowledge and—crucially—a willingness to work hard to attain it. Within a few years he became a skilled tradesman with the makings of a steady and potentially lucrative career. For a lesser man, this would have sufficed.

Beset by restless visions of a prosperous future for himself and his countrymen, however, Washington cast aside his nascent career as a surveyor and invested in America’s greatest natural resource: land. Military service during the French and Indian War had awakened him to the dimensions of America’s bounty, from the richness of its soil to the potential of its waterways as highways of commerce. By the time he was twenty-seven—thanks in part to his marriage in 1759 to the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis—Washington had acquired a vast estate that spread across much of Virginia and pressed to the gateways of Appalachia.

A passion for improvement drove Washington to experiment with crops and new technologies to increase productivity. Almost immediately he recognized the evils of British colonial rule that forced Americans to work within a credit system that fostered wastefulness and debt. Craving self-sufficiency, he abandoned the tobacco economy that had nurtured generations of his ancestors and converted his farms to wheat. This allowed him to evade British oversight and buy and sell for cash on his own account. Being less labor-intensive than tobacco, wheat also allowed Washington to devote resources to industries like milling, spinning and weaving, ironwork, cobbling, and even large-scale fishing.

Morality and industry were for Washington two sides of the same coin. A moral man was industrious, and vice versa. British colonial rule thus appeared inherently immoral, for it denied Americans the right to pursue their own improvement in a free market.

via History News Network | The Unexpected Legacy of George Washington.

As America, and her Army, grew, other men were appointed Lieutenant General, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Pershing. But Pershing was promoted far beyond that to General of the Armies (presumably 6 star). And the bevy of Generals of the Army (5 star) in World War Two. And so,

With effect from 4 July 1976, Washington was posthumously promoted to the same rank by authority of a congressional joint resolution. The resolution stated that Washington’s seniority had rank and precedence over all other grades of the Armed Forces, past or present, effectively making Washington the highest ranked U.S. officer of all time.

Which is as it should be, on George Washington Day!

Video Tuesday

Go Air Force

And Ben Franklin

Conservatism in real life. From The Federalist

Eliminate the politics and nearly everyone of any partisan stripe idealizes conservative principles without realizing it.

How? Consider the world of sport and fitness. It’s nearly always a fantastic encouragement of individual expression and ability while also promoting a positive community at large. Those hard working, disciplined, don’t-give-up mantras have become more prominent in the last few years as America’s athletic personality has swelled with amateurs.

Mentally tough and intuitively conservative-minded concepts of hard work and personal responsibility accompany these ventures.

Continue reading What Fitness Tells Us About Conservatism’s Appeal

A civilized society, not

This one is serious, because we do seem to be going there. If you work in law enforcement, you must (actually you should have always) think about this, because she is exactly right.

Because remember, you took an oath, not to obey the President, the Governor, the Mayor or any other man, but to defend the Constitution, from all enemies. We count on you to do the right thing. Just before crossing the Delaware 237 years ago this month, General Washington said this to the Continental Army

The time is now near at hand which will probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether they are to have any property they can call their own, or whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed and they consigned to a state of wretchedness from which they cannot be delivered. Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance or the most abject submission.

We are not yet at that point, and God willing we will never be. But that is sometimes what liberty demands. Do not let us down.

And Bill Whittle

Or the rest of us, for that matter.

 

America’s Army

English: United States Military Academy Coat O...

English: United States Military Academy Coat Of Arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Something you may not know is that Jess gets precious little guidance here, if she wants to write about the London fashion scene for 14-year-old girls, nobody is going to stop her, although I’d probably raise an eyebrow. I mention that because I specifically asked her to write Thin Red Line of Heroes. Because we forget, how strained the relationship often is between military and civilian.

 

Something else to note here is that the United Colonies during and after the Revolution absolutely hated the idea of a standing army, the British experience had taught them that soldiers were always a severe threat to liberty, not to mention good order.

 

To me, that sounds extremely quaint in a country that has come to see it’s military as the most trustworthy of servants, far better than any elective or appointed officer of government.

 

Part of the reason that Kipling’s Tommy rings false in American ears (although not always) is that America has pretty much always been a citizen army, granting that lots of Irishmen and Germans learned about America in her army. It reconstructed a lot of Southerners too. But you know, it wasn’t accidental.

 

As with so much in America, it goes back to George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. And yes we are going to speak of West Point. The Continental army occupied it in 1778 and it has been a US Military post ever since. It is the oldest continuously occupied post, in fact.

 

But in 1802 Congress chartered (and funded) it as the United States Military Academy, and so it has been since. It’s first few years were pretty chaotic and the results in the War of 1812 reflected this. But after that war, in  1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer was appointed Superintendent. He established the curriculum still used today. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct.

 

By contrast for many years, until well past our Civil War, the British Army was a dumping ground for the younger sons of the nobility, buy them a commission, occasionally and forget about them. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s how Winston Churchill got his start. He did do better than most, however!

 

But Colonel Thayer figured out something else. He figured out how to train officers for a democratic army. The regulars in America epitomized what Jess said earlier even more than the British Army

 

Although the analogy with Monks might raise an eyebrow or two, there is a parallel (no, not that one).  Soldiers live a life apart. They are trained to do things which ordinary people don’t do, and probably don’t want to do.There has to be a high level of commitment, and at times the dedication to duty means that a soldier puts everything else to one side.

 

But the American regular army has always been a combination constabulary for the territories and a cadre for vast expansions of the army if we got into a war. We managed to do that in the Mexican war, and in every subsequent war. And the thing is, the officers trained at West Point have always known how to make American civilians into effective soldiers. Often they wouldn’t have impressed anybody on the march, whether in Mexico, Georgia, Pennsylvania, France or finally Germany but , they always manged to get into the battle and fight effectively. But like Billy Yank before him, GI Joe wasn’t particularly interested in the niceties of showing officers respect.

 

And so America’s Army has always reflected America, loose-jointed, casual, intelligently lazy, goal oriented and not deterred by much of anything.

 

But Jess speaks of the British authorities recommending the troops wear civilian clothing off post. I can remember a time when the American army ordered it, and further when junior officers sometimes went armed to the barracks. In the early 70s the American forces were broken, especially the army, ill-disciplined, ragged, riddled with drugs, and anything but combat ready. But the officer corps, men like Schwarzkopf, Powell, Starry, and thousands of others didn’t despair, got down to work, raised the standards, worked, [wash, rinse, repeat]. What emerged is the superlative force we have today

 

But, it seems to me, the other thing we learned from Vietnam is this; We no longer fight with our professional, regular army. The way we’ve structured it now, the army can’t fight without the reserve forces and almost always with the National Guard as well. This has put the local back into American war making, not many out here missed it when a truck convoy of the Nebraska Guard was rescued from an ambush in Iraq by the cavalry from the Kentucky Guard. These “Weekend Warriors” as we call them are normally amongst us as civilians except for about 2 weeks a year and a weekend a month. They more than any soldiers in history are direct representatives of our communities for good and bad.

 

And this, I think, is one of the secrets of how to keep your army dear to the hearts of your population, it has to represent your population. Jess knows more about how we do this than she lets on, because she reads so many of us, and she has mentioned occasionally what seems to her as incredible support for the troops. But, of course, British troops wouldn’t respond to that, or would they?

 

 

Those Anglians look pretty happy to me 🙂

 

Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

 

Somehow this seems like a good place for the infantry motto

 

Follow Me

 

 

Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

ACTION ITEM! Obama Admin may court-martial those who share Christian Faith… including chaplains! | Fr. Z's Blog (olim: What Does The Prayer Really Say?)I’m going to start this morning with a couple of paragraphs from Jessica’s last two posts because they are exactly on point to where we are going today. This was not what I was going to write here, maybe later, I have elected to supersede that article because of events and knowledge we have gained lately. Here’s Jess from yesterday:

If you hadn’t noticed, I am an Americanophile.  I was brought up not to forget one thing – that the freedom that I enjoyed had been won by the blood of others; and that key to that blood not being spilled in vain was the courage, the sacrifice and the money of the United States of America. It also dawned on me as soon as I started studying history that those things had continued to be gifted to us after the Second World War; Communism had no enemy fiercer than the United States. I lived in Missouri for a year when I was a child, and I learned then how much Americans loved their country; that seemed, and seems, admirable to me.

[…]

It won’t do to pretend that the Roman Republic was a democracy, it wasn’t, but it was a place where to be a Roman citizen was the greatest honour possible, and service to the citizens in the Senate was a duty which a man took seriously. Few left office richer than they entered it, because service was costly; but it was considered the duty owed by a man to the Republic. Service in the army was onerous, but again, it was something a man did in the name of honour.

And from today

One of the Republican (as in Roman Republic) virtues which the US has exemplified is independence of spirit.  Men took responsibility for their actions; it was not unknown for senators to fall on their swords if they dishonoured their office. The ideal of the Roman world was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 BC – 430 BC) (and the answer to the question is yes, it was named after him). When his son was convicted of a crime and absconded, Cincinnatus had to pay a huge fine and retired to his small farm. But when the State was threatened by the Volsci, the Senate called upon him to lead the State. He laid down his plough and returned to high office, which he discharged with great distinction; after victory was assured, he returned to his farm. In later life he returned once more and did great service; once again, he retired into private life. He became the beau ideal of the Patrician Roman. A man to whom service to the Res Publica – the common weal – was all.

Your American history has many such men, from the great George Washington, through Jefferson and Lincoln and into more modern times, a man like Eisenhower or Truman. These were men of almost Cincinnatan virtue. They were men who gave to the State and asked for little and ended by being loved by the people.

If he had one at all, Cincinnatus was Washington’s role model, all he ever wanted to do was farm Mount Vernon and be with his beloved Martha. It showed too. When he retired after his two terms as President, George the III of England asked the American Minister to England what he would do, the Minister replied ” He will return to his farm”. King George replied of his former enemy “Then he shall be the greatest man in the world.” This is what the American Presidency once was. Add to that the association of former Officers of the Continental Army was The Society of the Cincinnati.

Cincinnatus has also left us a quote, or you could even call it a motto:

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Yes, I know, you thought it came from a much more recent figure, one whom the press has done an outstanding job of demonizing. You’re not wrong, exactly, Senator Goldwater did quote it in his acceptance speech at the 1964 convention. But it wasn’t original with him.

What are the three things that run through what Jess has written (much of what I write as well) and what Cincinnatus and Washington both lived?

Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

Both were plain men doing their best for their country when it called, yes Washington was well off, he was a good planter, and lived fairly well. But as he said at Newburgh  he grew gray and almost blind in our service.

Over the years guided by men like these we have become what has been called “The Indispensable Nation” because of our physical power, as we have become the leader of the free world, which in truth is exactly synonymous with Western Civilization because of our moral power, as well as because we are the last major power who is overtly Christian, the leader of what used to be called Christendom. It’s a very awesome status, which we have borne quite well and humbly as well, not least because of our history, and the men who founded and led what my British friends tend to refer to as The Great Republic, but as Jess asked us this morning,  “Has there been one such since Ike?  And if not, is that not a sign of something?” My answer is, “Yes, it is”. I believe we have lost our way, and we have devolved as the Romans before us did, into a group of grasping vain men and women struggling for power and wealth without thought for duty and honor. If they even know what the word mean.

This morning another British female published an article (I don’t know what’s in the water over there, that these women drink but, I think they need to share!), Melanie Phillips who I started the week by talking about. Here is a bit from her blog.

Fort Hood, Benghazi, the Boston bombings, Iran/Syria, Israel. The pattern is unmistakeable; the danger to America is exponentially increasing; the scandal is deepening into something nearer to a national crisis.

The Obama administration is playing down the Islamist threat to the US and the free world, empowering Islamists at home and abroad, endangering America and betraying its allies — and covering up its egregious failure to protect the homeland as a result of all the above, while instead blaming America for its own victimisation.

What is coming out in the Benghazi hearings would be jaw-dropping if it had not been apparent from the get-go that the administration failed to protect its own people in the beseiged American mission where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in 2012, then lied about the fact that this was an Islamist attack, and then covered up both its failure and its lie. (Apparent, that is, to some — but not to the American media, most of which gave the Obama administration a free pass on the scandal in order to ensure the smooth re-election of The One).

But the administration has form on this — serious, continuing form. After the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, in which an Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’, not only was it revealed that his radicalisation and extremist links had been ignored but the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings merely as an act of ‘workplace violence’.

Weeks after the Boston marathon terrorist atrocity, there is still no explanation of why the FBI did not act against the Tsarnaev brothers, despite having had one of them on their books as a dangerous Islamic radical after a warning from Russian intelligence; and why, as the House Homeland Security Committee heard yesterday, the FBI didn’t pass on their suspicions about the brothers to the Boston police.

Even now, the US authorities are playing down or even dismissing  Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremist Islamic views. Whether or not the brothers had links to foreign extremists is still unclear. But what is bizarre is the authorities’ belief that if they did not have any such links, they cannot have had any religious motive.

 You need to go read the rest Obamastan | Melanie Phillips. I’ll wait for you.

Now, I don’t have an instant solution, you and I both know that someplace in this cesspool there is an impeachable (and maybe criminal as well) offense, and maybe the House could bring in a bill of impeachment, but what are the odds of the Senate convicting? And if they did, does anybody really think Joe Biden would be any better? We’re pretty much stuck trying to do the best we can for now.

But we had best get to work on finding some real American leaders by the next election. From Samuel Adams:

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards:

And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.

Regroup, Reload, and Resume the Advance

Depiction by John Trumbull of Washington resig...

Depiction by John Trumbull of Washington resigning his commission and position as commander-in-chief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, my last post  Recessional was our time to cry in our beer. I needed it, and I suspect many of you did as well.

But, what’s different today, not much, really, except that Obama got reelected. But think about this a little. He got reelected by the thinnest of margins. He did this by trying to demonize a good man with the help of all the trappings of the Presidency, and with the nearly undivided and vocal support of the so-called news media. We fought that juggernaut to a standstill.

My favorite comment this morning came from Rebecca Hamilton. A staunch and Godly Woman of Valor, a State Legislator and a Democrat. “Don’t be defeated. The fight has just begun.” She’s right. In times like this, I like to turn to Tom Paine, especially this.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. […]

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.

I think you know that there have been two great conservative revolutions in world history, one is the American Revolution, which has transformed the world, including Great Britain who fought against their own principles in it. The other, of course, was the Reformation, which transformed the church, including the Roman church, into the great spiritual engine it is today. Both were forced on the rebels.

Both owed their existence to something else, the American Revolution was the final flowering of the Enlightenment as we have said but, the enlightenment itself, like the Reformation owed its existence to the Renaissance, that great out break of learning that ended the Middle Ages and so opened many roads.

And that my friends, is what we have to do. We must educate the young. We have become complacent and let the government take over education and as a result we are graduating people with BA degrees that would not have graduated eighth grade a century ago. We must fix education to ensure our legacy. In addition we have much work to do as Christians, we are the last country of the west with a real Christian heritage, and that is what has formed the backbone of the United States, again we must restore the Christianity of our forbearers, the stern Christianity of the God of Justice.

We tried the quick fix, changing it back in two election cycles, it didn’t work. In truth it was unlikely to. It was certainly worth a try, and we managed a drawn battle. Stasis continues in Washington. We are awake and aware and we shall return. Stasis will also continue in the economy, which will improve only slightly with the policies of the government, and that mediocre at best economy will help us. It is certainly not what we wished, for we wish all people to have good jobs with living wages but facts are facts.

So the short-term outlook is bleak but, if we do the necessary things, longer term we will perhaps triumph, if we keep the faith, both in America, and in God. And if we don’t, like King Arthur and Camelot, we will become the subject of legend, sagamen (and women) for the ages, for the dream of freedom never dies.

We have allies that we must reach out to. My friend Sherry, last night posted a video of the Broke party, in Chicago, here  is the link. They are our friends, make sure they know it, help them. So are the Hispanics, although they have been propagandized. If you get to know hem, you will find that they (for the most part, legal, and illegal) came here for the same reason our ancestors did, to make a better life for their families. Again for the most part, they are both conservative and Catholic, as well as good hard-working people, sure they speak Spanish, so what, a hundred years ago my people spoke Norwegian. Reach out to them.

We have fought a drawn battle, we have not lost the war. General Greene said it best in the Revolution, “We fight, get beat, retreat, rise, and fight again.” And remember General Washington, himself, won very few battles, and the Continental Army paraded naked through Philadelphia on their way to Yorktown.

What are we willing to do for freedom?

 

Regroup, reload, and resume the advance, of civilization, itself

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