Friday, November 27, 2009


This article will no doubt set Dimitri's teeth on edge, combining as does his favorite general, George Brinton McClellan, and his least favorite author, Doris Kearns Goodwin (as well as Abraham Lincoln and the One):
On the Charlie Rose Show, presidential biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin said President Obama mustn't be rushed to make a decision. After all, she noted, Lincoln waited until the right time to make the Emancipation Proclamation. I'm curious how a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian who has written a fantastic book on Lincoln's political genius would make such a poor analogy -- not merely because of the incongruity of the conflicts, but because it's a tragic example of dithering that cost lives.

The Emancipation Proclamation did indeed require good timing, thus it followed on the heels of the victory of the Battle of Antietam. But Lincoln had already set his mind on freeing the slaves -- the wording and political support merely needed to be solidified. He already knew of his strategy. The person who was causing the delay was in fact General George B. McClellan, whose willingness to delay action and refusal to do so allowed enemy forces to prepare and react.

McClellan's, shall we call it, dithering, caused Antietam to become the bloodiest day of the Civil War, in fact, the single bloodiest day in American military history. General Lee had said of him, "He is an able general but a very cautious one. His army is in a very demoralized and chaotic condition, and will not be prepared for offensive operations—or he will not think it so—for three or four weeks."

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