[lbo-talk] Wacko/Sherman (was Re: Brit general says . . . .)

andie nachgeborenen andie_nachgeborenen at yahoo.com
Sat May 5 08:44:13 PDT 2007

The people are this list are flipping out. Yoshie goes abject before a bunch of theocratic misogynists who'd have her stoned to death for supporting them in a New York minute. Carrol has decreed that the subject matter of this list -- political discussion -- is essentially off limits because any particular speech act will not produce instant revolution. And now Carl has announced that military officers are all moronic psychopaths.

What exactly is going on? Is it something in the water?

Just FYI, Carl, I know lots of officers, having grown up in the DC area. Most of them are just bureaucrats; 99.99% of them are more mentally stable than you, in fact, boringly so, decent guys and gals, not remarkably good or bad, and you could have predicted that career officers would be like that. In my experience most people who end up career military are working class people for whom it's a steady job with opportunities for advancement, same as cops. Also it tends to run the families.

FWIW my dad's best friend -- my dad was a nice Jewish guy, staunch New Deal Democrat, WWII vet but never saw combat, gentle as the day is long -- was/is (my dad's no longer with us but John still is) a Navy SEAL, right wing Christian fundamentalist, a super macho commando who was actually doing missions as recently as the first Gulf War; he's way too old now -- Also, like my dad, a Ph.D in Operations Research from a prestigious university, paid for by the Navy, and way smarter than you or me. And John is an absolutely wonderful human being. I am sure he has done things that don't bear thinking about. On the other hand, I was a big firm lawyer for years, so who am I to talk?

Sherman -- this was a long time ago -- was in fact both spectacularly brilliant (story to follow) and pretty unstable, as well as one of the great writers of American prose, but he was so far off the charts on so many dimensions that he's nor representative of anything. He'd probably be excluded from today's Army because he was too smart as well as wacko. Like a lot of people in his day (1840s) he went to the Point because it was free and quality higher education. He helped found San Francisco, worked as a banker and then a partner in a law firm in Kansas. This is the story.

It was before we had the rule that you had to be a lawyer to be a partner in a law firm. He was handling the business end. Sherman was not a lawyer. However, he felt he ought to be admitted to the bar if he was partner, so he he approached a local judge and asked what he ought to do to get himself admitted. "I'll admit you on general intelligence," the judge said. Easiest bar exam passage in history.

Sherman went on to be the first president of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, later LSU, so if you find some good ol' boys from Looseeyana, you can confound them with this bit of trivia. That was his last job before he went north for the war, during which he had a spectacular nervous breakdown after Shiloh, and was barely reinstated to devise with his friend, the tediously boring and level-headed General US Grant (also a genuinely great prose writer), the total war strategy to win the Civil War. He advocated shooting the entire Southern aristocracy, a prescient notion. He was extremely personally popular with African-Americans and freed slaves, and attempted to settle many freedmen on land expropriated from plantation owners. The Andrew Johnson administration barred this effort, however. After the war Grant made him head of the Army, where he conducted the Indian wars with the same savagery he'd shown in the South.

Sherman's brother John Sherman, Senator from Ohio, was the architect of the Sherman Antitrust Act, now codified as 15 USC 1ff.

--- Carl Remick <carlremick at hotmail.com> wrote:

> >From: Michael Smith <mjs at smithbowen.net>
> >
> >On Friday 04 May 2007 20:47, Carl Remick wrote:
> >
> > > Please. To paraphrase Dr. Johnson: ""Sir, a
> military man thinking's
> > > thinking is like a dog's walking on his hinder
> legs. It is not done
> >well;
> > > but you are surprised to find it done at all."
> I consider the
> >professional
> > > military the lowest form of humanity.
> >
> >Dr Johnson's original observation was about women,
> and I fear Carl's
> >comments
> >have an almost equal aroma of mere prejudice. This
> is not a rhetorical
> >question, Carl, nor is it intended as a taunt --
> it's really factual: do
> >you
> >know many military officers personally?
> No, I know none at all. I do not seek out
> association with people I view as
> demented. As for the prejudice bit, women are born
> female. No one is born
> to be a military officer. Becoming a military
> officer is a matter of choice
> -- a matter of poor choice.
> >Reading Sherman's or Grant's or Zhukov's memoirs is
> instructive. Sherman in
> >particular is as quirky as Melville, and
> unmistakably no fool.
> Yes, I read a bio of Sherman, and he struck me as a
> dangerous lunatic. I
> got the impression that as Commanding General of the
> U.S. Army after the
> Civil War, Sherman anticipated using the US Army to
> quell urban labor
> unrest. He also oversaw military action against
> Native Americans, including
> -- replicating his destruction of civilian food
> supplies during the Civil
> War -- slaughtering buffalos to deprive the Plains
> Indians of their primary
> food. Nifty guy.
> Carl
> Watch free concerts with Pink, Rod Stewart, Oasis
> and more.  Visit MSN In
> Concert today.
> > ___________________________________

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