A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Is Dean the Democratic Party's U.S. Grant? Posted by Hello
Good morning to all and I hope everyone is doing well. PT'd hard this morning because I didn't get my run in yesterday (it was my break day, a day of rest that allows my body to recover). By the by, one shouldn't PT strenuously without giving oneself a day for rest and recuperation. That's how your body gets stronger and better!

First, I want to thank the Total Information Awareness blog, http://tianews.blogspot.com/, for quoting some of my comments concerning the "Mattis Affair". TIA also quoted The Armchair Generalist, an awesome blooger, in the same posting. The Armchair Generalist can be found at the following link: http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.com/my_weblog/. The link concerning Mattis's remarks is as follows: (http://tianews.blogspot.com/2005/02/mattis-matter.html). I am flattered and grateful; I am also thankful to David, a reader, for locking me on to the fact that my input had actually been used by a colleague. Thanks David.

Let me say this, I'm a Marine, a Democrat, a military historian and a Civil War buff (among other things). I, and others like me, are probably the Republican Party's worst nightmare...Democrats that are warriors too! They just can't square the fact that one can be a militay aficionado, a Marine, a patriot, a "hunter-striker" (so to speak) and (at the same time) be a liberal, a Democrat and a progressive. But, believe me, there are so many liberal Democrats out there that fit this profile. Today, I'm going to speak some "Civil War-ese" in that there will be references to Civil War history. First, I am no big fan of Howard Dean, in fact, I supported Wesley Clark during the primaries. My mission (at the time) was to stop the Dean juggernaut and his "Deaniacs" by any means necessary. Yet, even with that being the case, I thought Dean got a raw deal when he got slammed by the press for "going off" after the Iowa caucuses (we can't possibly suffer a politico with passion, right? what would the neighbors think?). I now understand and appreciate that Howard Dean and Joe Trippi, his campaign manager, are political geniuses and that Dean has alot more to offer than I first thought. Dean, like the phoenix rising, is now coming out of the ashes that was his failed presidential bid and making a political comeback,...a powerplay that will certainly rock the foundations of the American political system. With his elevation to the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee only days away, I began thinking of the similarities between Howard Dean (the future head of the DNC) and U.S. Grant and the similarities between Terry McCauliffe (the current head of the DNC) and George B. McClellan. In short, could Howard Dean be to the Democratic Party what U.S. Grant was to the Grand Armies of the Republic, i.e., the Armies of the James, the Potomac, the Ohio, etc.? Remember, before Grant came on the scene, the Union Army was languishing in despair and desperation, dealing with defeat after defeat. Grant, at the time the war began, had been considered a failure by many of his contemporaries (a drunk for all intents and purposes, a West Point graduate that prematurely bailed out of the Army in 1854 for personal reasons, a failure at most business ventures, and because of all of this he had to move back home and work in the family store as a clerk to the chagrin of his father, Jesse). But, Grant did a 180 degree turn and went about "showing something" when the opportunity presented itself and the opportunity did in fact present itself in the form of the Civil War. McClellan, on the other hand, was very polished; he was used to personal success (graduated second in his class at West Point), he was a great logisitician and a brilliant "resource-acquirer", i.e., organizing, getting capital and putting the capital to good use, etc. (sound familiar?). But he didn't possess the talent (or the nerve perhaps) to utilize his forces in such a way that stuck it to the enemy with any great effectiveness. Overly cautious, Lincoln said McClellan suffered from a terminal case of "the slows". Thus, McClellan didn't produce results. But, Grant did. To be fair, without McClellan's brillant organization and adminstrative skills, Grant would not have possessed the finely-honed weapon he wielded so effectively, the Grand Armies of the Republic. The big question is this: does Dean have Grant's capacity to learn from his mistakes? I think the answer is yes. However, one thing is for certain, Dean (like Grant) knows how to stick it to the enemy! Like Lincoln answered over 140 years ago, when petitioned by others to choose someone other than Grant to lead the Union armies: "I cannot spare this man....he fights!". I'm starting to see that the same can be said of Howard Dean...he fights! Semper Fidelis

3 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

First of all, I really did appreciate your perspective, and found your post to be insightful. Regarding your follow up to the Mattis post, with the reading of the Washington Times Op-Ed (the Armchair Generalist recommended the same to me, and I read it), I would say that I share your distaste for the Washington Times, Tony Blakely, and the Reverend Moon. And Scales probably went too far.

In my post I tried to present a balanced and nuanced approach to the question, and understand that to expect perfection is unrealistic. Some soldiers will go too far when put in such unnatural positions as combat. Blame war, not the warrior, and factor that in when making the decision to go to war.

Maybe I was bending over backwards too much as David pointed out, but I think it is important for us on the left to avoid knee-jerk responses and appreciate the complexities of the situation. We are, after all, the political persuasion of nuance.

Otherwise, I love the Mclellan/Grant - McCaullife/Dean analogy. I think Howard Dean is a fighter, and a refreshing voice of common sense centrism. He is more than moderate because he is willing to confront the GOP for all their transgressions. Perhaps he is best described as a radical centrist (despite all the hype about him being a liberal, largely because he opposed the Iraq invasion, he is very much in the middle). Either way, I expect we will all be pleasantly surprised if he gets the job.

And please, feel free to join in the discussion over at TIA. Your voice would be welcomed.

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