Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Thought Upon Reading Two Generals

I recently finished "The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant," which were written at the end of his life while he was dying of throat cancer.  At the end, he wrote, "I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and the Confederate.  I cannot stay to be a living witness of the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so.  The universally kind feeling for me at atime when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to 'Let us have peace.'"  (He would die within a week.)

Before that I read Steven Ambrose's biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the great general who led the Allies to victory in Europe.  His greatest accomplishment as president, according to Ambrose, was that he kept the U.S. out of war with the Soviet Union when there were so many opportunities to go to war and so many people advising him to do just that.

At the Battle of Fredericksburg Robert E. Lee said to General James Longstreet, "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it."

I saw an interview with General Colin Powell in which he said that war is horrible, that every other means of resolution must be sought, and should only be a very last resort.

Is it just me or does it seem that those who are most eager to involve us in war are those who have never be in one?

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