Category Archives: Retrospective

Sherman at 150

by Victor Davis Hanson // Ricochet

Gen. William T. Sherman, ca. 1864-65. Mathew Brady Collection. (Army)

Gen. William T. Sherman, ca. 1864-65. Mathew Brady Collection. (Army)

One hundred and fifty years ago this September 2, William Tecumseh Sherman took Atlanta after a brilliant campaign through the woods of northern Georgia. While Grant slogged it out against Lee in northern Virginia all through the late spring and summer of 1864—the names of those battles still send chills up our collective spine: Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor — Lincoln’s reelection chances were declared doomed.  All summer, General George McClellan reminded Americans that he had once gotten closer to Richmond than had Grant and at far less cost — and promised that, under his presidency, the war would end with either the South free to create its own nation or to rejoin the Union with slavery intact … but that in either case the terrible internecine bloodletting would end. Then Sherman suddenly took Atlanta (“Atlanta is ours and fairly won.”); McClellan was doomed and the shrinking Confederacy was bisected once again.

What was to be next?  Southerners grew confident that the besieger Sherman would become the besieged in Atlanta after the election, as his long supply lines back to Tennessee would be cut and a number of Confederate forces might converge to keep him locked up behind Confederate lines.

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D-Day at 70 

Remembering the most brilliantly conducted invasion in military history

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

General Eisenhower speaks with paratroopers prior to the invasion. (Photo via Library of Congress)

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 B.C.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterful display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

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Lord Obama

US Dept. of Labor via Flickr

US Dept. of Labor via Flickr

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

If we were living in normal times, the following scandals and failures — without going into foreign policy — would have ruined a presidency to the point of reducing it to Nixon, Bush, or Truman poll ratings.

Think of the following: the Fast and Furious scandal, the VA mess, the tapping of the communications of the Associated Press reporters, the NSA monitoring, Benghazi in all of its manifestations, the serial lies about Obamacare, the failed stimuli, the chronic zero interest/print money policies, the serial high unemployment, the borrowing of $7 trillion to no stimulatory effect, the spiraling national debt, the customary violations of the Hatch Act by Obama cabinet officials, the alter ego/fake identity of EPA head Lisa Jackson, the sudden departure of Hilda Solis after receiving union freebies, the mendacity of Kathleen Sebelius, the strange atmospherics surrounding the Petraeus resignation, the customary presidential neglect of enforcing the laws from immigration statutes to his own health care rules, the presidential divisiveness (“punish our enemies,” “you didn’t build that,” Trayvon as the son that Obama never had, etc.), and on and on.

So why is there not much public reaction or media investigatory outrage?

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The Unforgiving Moment

Photo of Genuino Ferreira Madruga via JPP Photography

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Life is turned upside down in a nanosecond.

This weekend I missed my first posting at PJ Media since beginning in 2006.

Why? Let me briefly explain the lapse — if I can be forgiven for comparing a bike accident with what I have seen on the farm the last 50 years (sliced off fingers, crushed legs, herbicide poisonings, manifold burns, etc.).

I was going on a usual morning bike ride — safe stuff with like-minded older folks. I’m 60; so is my biking partner and fellow Hoover Institution associate Bruce Thornton. We are hardly reckless. (Not like sulfuring at midnight recklessly in one’s 20s in the old days without goggles or mask.)

We usually go deliberately during off-traffic hours when cars are rare, on little-traveled roads and bike paths. We always follow the same direction over the same 32-mile route. After nine years we have memorized every bump, cracked bit of pavement, bad stop light, etc. We bike slowly, about 14-15 mph, always in single file.  We are, after all, 60 and hear daily horrific stories of injured and dead bikers.

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Following the Trail Nixon Blazed

Obama shows the same Orwellian disregard for the Constitution.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

What would a president do if he were furious over criticism, or felt that his noble aims justified Nixon_while_in_US_Congressmost means of attaining them?

Answer that by comparing the behavior of Richard Nixon to that of an increasingly similar Barack Obama.

Nixon tried to use the Internal Revenue Service to go after his political enemies — although his IRS chiefs at least refused his orders to focus on liberals.

Nixon ignored settled law and picked and chose which statutes he would enforce — from denying funds for the Clean Water Act to ignoring congressional subpoenas.

Nixon attacked TV networks and got into personal arguments with journalists such as CBS’s Dan Rather.

Nixon wanted the Federal Communications Commission to hold up the licensing of some television stations on the basis of their political views.

Nixon went after “enemies.” He ordered surveillance to hound his suspected political opponents and was paranoid about leaks. Read more →

The Rural Way

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Hard physical work is still a requisite for a sound outlook on an ever more crazy world. I ride a bike; but such exercise is not quite the same, given that the achievement of

Richard Croft

Richard Croft

doing 35 miles is therapeutic for the body and mind, but does not lead to a sense of accomplishment in the material sense — a 30-foot dead tree cut up, a shed rebuilt, a barn repainted. I never quite understood why all these joggers in Silicon Valley have immigrants from Latin America doing their landscaping. Would not seven hours a week spent raking and pruning be as healthy as jogging in spandex — aside from the idea of autonomy that one receives by taking care of one’s own spread?

On the topic of keeping attuned with the physical world: if it does not rain (and the “rainy” season is about half over with nothing yet to show for it), the Bay Area and Los Angeles will see some strange things that even Apple, Google, and the new Read more →

Obama’s Credibility Gap

The former hope-and-change president no longer gets a pass.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

By 1968, President Lyndon Baines Johnson was finally done in by his “credibility gap” — the growing abyss between what he said about, and what was actually happening inside, Vietnam.

800px-Barack_Obama_in_the_Oval_Office,_April_2010“Modified limited hangout” and “inoperative” were infamous euphemisms that Nixon-administration officials used to mask lies about the Watergate scandal. After a while, few believed any of the initial Reagan-administration disavowals that it was not trading “arms for hostages” in the Iran–Contra scandal.

George H. W. Bush thundered during his campaign that voters should “read my lips: no new taxes,” only to agree later to raise them. Bill Clinton’s infamous assertion that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman” was followed by proof that he did just that with Monica Lewinsky.

The George W. Bush administration warned the nation about stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and never quite recovered its credibility after the WMD were not found. No one believed Bush when he told incompetent FEMA deputy director Michael Brown that in the midst of the Katrina mess he was doing a “heck of a job.” Read more →

Obama Is Just Obama

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

Suddenly, half the country is upset with Obama for the recent flurry of scandals. Even some in the media are perplexed Read more →

Nixon Is a Fair Comparison

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

There have been lots of comparisons, most hotly dismissed by the president’s defenders, between Nixon and Obama, but in some ways the latest scandals have the potential to match or even trump those of 1973–4. Read more →

A Tainted Campaign?

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

If it is proven that the IRS thwarted some groups from obtaining tax-exempt status in fear that their traditional or conservative messages might hurt the 2012 Obama campaign (especially if it did so under pressure from White House-affiliated operatives), Read more →

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