As any of you that have been reading along know, the last two weeks I have been interested in the Civil War. Last night I watched Lincoln. It was the second time I have seen it and it is really an extraordinary film. Although there are a few scenes that seem a little too symbolic, and because of this aren’t believable as reality, overall it is really well done. Maybe its best attribute is it really makes one think about the nature of politics.
Anyway, I wanted to watch another movie on that time period tonight. I was doing an internet search and the truth is there are very few excellent movies that deal in that historical period. I find that very strange. Is that because we are afraid of really exploring a war in which half of the country was on the wrong side of justice? Is it just that it is too long ago and, unlike World War II and Vietnam, we are too far removed from it?
It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that in order to understand modern America, one must be able to have some understanding of what happened during that time period. Works of drama are more accessible than most history. Good dramatizations can also often bring out certain truths, even if they contains slight elements of fiction, in ways that documentaries or even history books cannot. They can connect people emotionally to something they might not otherwise understand or be interested in.
One of the best books I’ve read in recent years is S.C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon. This book is an account of the Comanche Indian Wars that took place in Texas and the surrounding areas. It was a book that was incredibly informative while also being an absolute page turner. I just saw that Gwynne has a a new book out. This book is an account of Stonewall Jackson called Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. If it is anything like his last book then it is simply a must read as far as I’m concerned.
Here is a link to Gwynne’s website to learn more about the book:
This is a good piece over at Huffington Post by Tom Hayden about what is going on in Iraq now and why we need to stay out. The predictions of those that took us there have now been proven wrong a billion times over. There has been so much death and destruction for no reason. It might be easy in hindsight to say that we simply got it wrong, but many of us knew Iraq was a mistake and didn’t think we should go into that country in the first place. My parents were part of a peace march BEFORE the initial invasion.
Often when people have racist or ignorant views in the past it is typical for someone to say that they shouldn’t be blamed because they were just holding views “of their time”. However, when one looks deeper into history you will often see that many people knew better and that this argument doesn’t usually hold water. Don’t let anyone tell you that we didn’t know better before we went into Iraq. That was a war of choice, plain and simple.
You may or may not give a toss, but I have finally decided how I feel about Syria. I am willing to change my opinion if new evidence arises. I understand that it’s hard to sit by and do nothing if war crimes are going on somewhere in the world. However, history has shown time and time again that we should not invade a sovereign nation that is going through a civil war. It almost always ends up being a mess that the invaders have trouble getting out of. Given our recent debacles in the Middle East, and how intervention in Middle Eastern countries usually leads to unpredicted blowback, I think that there is even less of a case for intervention than normal. I could be proven wrong, I could change my mind, but that’s where I stand right now. I feel confident in that opinion. Hopefully Congress will keep us out of this mess.