I’m a huge fan of Ronald Maxwell’s movie Gettysburg, an adaptation of Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels and so when I came across Robert Avrech’s post highlighting General John Buford, I perked up:
Buford led from the front and read the battlefield [at Gettysburg] with almost supernatural clarity. Coupled with the incredible bravery of the dismounted cavalry of his First Corps, Buford selected the ground and then exploited every fold and ridge–the defense of Little Round Top, the Union flank, was much like the Israeli tank defense of the Golan Heights in ’73–leading to a costly victory.
Such genius is rare, but in the life of a nation, necessary.
Good stuff… but then Robert transitions to today and with that transition, gets even better:
Heads of state must also know how to read the ground; they must understand every nuance of the international landscape and move with wisdom and bravery in the national interest.
Last week, explaining Barack Obama’s collapsing foreign policy, The New Yorker quoted a White House claim that Obama is, “Leading from behind.”
A deeply Orwellian turn of phrase.
And in truth, the writer Ryan Lizza paints a devastating portrait of a chaotic and incomptent POTUS.
This from the New Yorker, not exactly a bastion of conservative thought.
By undermining America’s allies, England, France, Israel, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc., and trying to get all Kumbaya with totalitarian monsters like Syria and Iran, Obama has convinced foreign powers that America is an unreliable if not treacherous ally.
One other note about the great John Buford. He was born in Kentucky but raised in Illinois. His father was a slave-owner, a prominent Democrat who was a bitter opponent of Abraham Lincoln.
Buford had every reason to join the Southern cause. But John Buford’s moral compass was exquisitely calibrated and he committed himself to the Union, thereby transcending the broken morality of his upbringing.
Barack Obama does not lead from the front.
His moral compass seems, at best, unsteady.
And instead of transcending his radical roots including 20-years as a faithful member of Jeremiah Wright’s Jew and America hating church, Obama marinates in the foul identity politics that are the bread and butter of modern progressives.
Certainly, Mr. Obama cannot read the battlefield.
Or worse, he reads the battlefield as one who looks to ensure that the side from which he purports to do battle is diminished so that in the end, his personal agenda instead achieves victory.
Obama is the anti-Buford and whereas America gained by Buford’s leadership, America is poised to lose and lose much by Obama’s.
2012 cannot get here soon enough.