"The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them." — Ecclesiastes 1:11
One of the decisive and pivotal battles of World War II was the Battle or Al Alamein, 150 miles west of Cairo, Egypt. By the summer of 1942, the Allies were in trouble throughout Europe. The attack on Russia — Operation Barbarossa — had pushed the Russians back; U-boats were having a major effect on Britain in the Battle of the Atlantic and western Europe seemed to be fully in the control of the Germans.
Hence the war in the desert of North Africa was pivotal. If the Afrika Korps got to the Suez Canal, the ability of the Allies to supply themselves would be severely dented. The only alternate supply route would be via South Africa — which was not only longer but a lot more dangerous due to the vagaries of the weather. The psychological blow of losing the Suez and losing in North Africa would have been incalculable — especially as this would have given Germany near enough free access to the oil in the Middle East.
In August 1942, Winston Churchill was desperate for a victory as he believed that morale was being sapped in Britain. Churchill, despite his status, faced the prospect of a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons if there was no forthcoming victory anywhere. Churchill grasped the bull by the horns and he dismissed Auchinleck and replaced him with Bernard Montgomery. The men in the Allied forces respected ‘Monty’. He was described as "as quick as a ferret and about as likeable." Montgomery put a great deal of emphasis on organization and morale. He spoke to his troops and attempted to restore confidence in them. But above all else, he knew that he needed to hold El Alamein anyway possible.
Rommel planned to hit the Allies in the south. Montgomery guessed that this would be the move of Rommel as Rommel had done it before. However, he was also helped by the people who worked at Bletchley Park who had obtained Rommel’s battle plan and had deciphered it. Therefore ‘Monty’ knew not only Rommel’s plan but also the route of his supply lines. By August 1942, only 33% of what Rommel needed was getting through to him. Rommel was also acutely aware that while he was being starved of supplies, the Allies were getting vast amounts through as they still controlled the Suez and were predominant in the Mediterranean. To resolve what could only become a more difficult situation, Rommel decided to attack quickly even if he was not well-equipped.
To throw Rommel off the scent, Montgomery launched ‘Operation Bertram’. This plan was to convince Rommel that the full-might of the Eighth Army would be used in the south. Dummy tanks were erected in the region. A dummy pipeline was also built - slowly, so as to convince Rommel that the Allies were in no hurry to attack the Afrika Korps. ‘Monty’s army in the north also had to ‘disappear’. Tanks were covered so as to appear as non-threatening lorries. Bertram worked as Rommel became convinced that the attack would be in the south. In essence Monty was following the tenants of Sun Tzu that “all war is based on deception.”
I offer this introduction to frame my following comments on what happened over the weekend in an interview with Michelle Bachmann by ABC’s George Stephanopolous. Bachmann was challenged by Stephanopolous that our founding fathers made no effort to abolish slavery when they drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Bachmann, with only milliseconds to form her answer to a very complex issue, responded that John Quincy Adams was a fierce abolitionist against the institution of slavery. Of course Stephanopolous, being the “brilliant expert” on the history of the Constitution was quick retort that John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, was only 9-years old at the time of the signing of the Deceleration of Independence, in 1776, and 20-years old during the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This gaff by Bachmann soon became headline news and Stephanopolous looked smug and pleased in his ability to do the bidding of his Democrat Party masters.
Jeffrey Lord writes in The American Spectator that Stephanopolous was foolish for lecturing Bachmann:
“George Stephanopoulos made the mistake of going after Michele Bachmann on history -- and promptly proceeded to get his history foolishly wrong. Said George:
“For example earlier this year you said that the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence worked tirelessly to end slavery. Now with respect Congresswoman, that's just not true.”
“Actually, George, it is true.”
“And before we get to Levin's views, allow me.”
“In 1785, James Madison (as noted by his biographer, Ralph Ketcham in James Madison) took to the floor of the Virginia Assembly, where he was a delegate, and”
“Spoke favoring a bill Jefferson had proposed for the gradual abolition of slavery (it was rejected), and helped defeat a bill designed to outlaw the manumission of individual slaves. Of this effort a French observer wrote that Madison, "a young man (who).astonishes by his eloquence, his wisdom, and his genius, has had the humanity and courage (for such a proposition requires no small share of courage) to propose a general emancipation of the slaves."
“Madison was not alone in taking action on the subject. There was another Founding Father, along with Madison a co-author of The Federalist Papers. That would be Alexander Hamilton.”
“In Alexander Hamilton: A Life, biographer Willard Sterne Randall notes that this Founding Father helped "to found…the Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves in New York." Randall on goes to say that:”
“…never forgetting the slave markets of his St. Croix childhood, Hamilton became a prime mover in the early abolitionist group. He pressured the (New York) state legislature and helped to raise money to buy and free slaves. The society's founders…elected Hamilton chairman to draw up recommendations for "a line of conduct" for any "members who still possessed slaves." He also established a registry for manumitted slaves, listing their names and ages, "to detect attempts to deprive such manumitted persons of their liberty."
There's more with Hamilton, who also demanded (writing and signing a 1786 petition on the subject) the legislature ban the importation of slaves, calling slavery "a commerce so repugnant to humanity."
There is a difference between opposing something and being unable to change the practice in the day -- and doing nothing. But it is just flatly false to say, as Stephanopoulos says, that the Founding Fathers did not work to end slavery. The historical record, if one looks, is crystal clear. Madison did. Hamilton did. Jefferson did. They did not succeed, they were personally flawed, some owning slaves themselves. (Wasn't it George who wrote a book on a flawed president he knew called All Too Human?) But these Founding Fathers started the United States of America down the right historical path, personally "working" to end slavery.”
Lord concludes his article by saying:
“There was a reason for the Three-Fifths Compromise in the Constitution. That reason: there were delegates to the Constitutional Convention (and they would be called Founding Fathers ) who supported abolition -- as well as those who opposed it. Hence -- the compromise. Which was not about declaring a black man three-fifths of a person as, for example, Al Gore and many liberals erroneously say. (Where was George then?) It was about reducing the power of slavery as an institution in the new United States Congress. If, as slave owners insisted, slaves were property -- then the obvious: they should not be counted as whole persons, which would increase the proportional power of the slave states in the House of Representatives, where representation was based on population size. The slave owners wanted it both ways -- to treat slaves as property but count them as persons, effectively increasing the slave owning power in Congress. The abolitionist delegates said no -- hence the compromise.
So Levin is quite correct here -- adding another Founding Father to this list: George Mason of Virginia.
Mark Levin caught you out, George, and his details are here.
But Michele Bachmann was right. There were Founding Fathers who worked to end slavery.
Is challenging Michele Bachmann on fundamental history and getting it wrong embarrassing for somebody in the liberal media who criticizes others on the subject? Yes. Will George be concerned enough to retract and correct the record?
Which is short hand for just why millions of Americans roll their eyes at liberals. And watch Fox.
And listen to Levin.”
You can read Mark Levin’s response to Stephanopolous by clicking here. I guarantee that Levin, an attorney and constitutional scholar, knows a hell of a lot more about or founding fathers and the Constitution than a two-bit liberal hack like George Stephanopolous. As Mark Levin concludes his Facebook post:
“There is much more, but point is that Bachmann is right and Stephanopolous is foolish. These flaky journalists really should get their facts and history right before playing the gotcha game, or it might come back to bite them thanks to a fact-checker like me.”
Another writer for American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein, writes a similar article on the Michelle Bachmann- George Stephanopoulos dust up:
“Jeff Lord is right (as is Mark Levin) to take George Stephanopoulos to task for saying the Founding Fathers played no role in the abolition movement.
However, what Jeff omits is that during the Stephanopoulos interview, Michele Bachmann identified John Quincy Adams as a Founding Father. The Declaration of Independence was adopted a week shy of his ninth birthday. Now Bachmann is correct in saying that John Quincy Adams was actively involved during the Revolutionary War Era. In fact, he was given his first diplomatic posting in Europe at the tender age of ten. It would have been more accurate for Bachmann to describe John Quincy Adams as a Son of the American Revolution.
Unfortunately, this episode will contribute (unfairly) to the perception that Bachmann doesn't have a firm grasp of early American history. Last March, while speaking in New Hampshire, Bachmann declared the first shots of the American Revolution were fired in the Granite State rather than in Massachusetts.
Yes, I am mindful of the fact that President Obama declared he had visited 57 states "with one left to go. "And yes, I am also mindful that President Obama could tell the good folks of Beaverton, Oregon that he enjoyed his visit to the planet Zorkon and the liberal media wouldn't bat an eyelash. But as I have argued previously, it isn't going to do Bachmann much good in complaining about it. The deck is stacked against any Republican who faces off against President Obama. Bachmann surely knew that when she first contemplated making a White House bid. Thus she must take special care in avoiding these kinds of mistakes. Of course, I realize that this is an all but impossible task. Every candidate on the campaign trail makes mistakes but not all mistakes are treated equally. Unfortunately for Bachmann, her mistakes are going to get greater scrutiny than Obama. But life is not fair. This leaves Bachmann with two choices - get over it or get out.”
It is Goldstein’s last sentence that bothers me and brings me back to the Battle of Al Alamein.
We are in a battle to take our nation back from the progressive statist plunders of the left. Our front line troops in this battle are those with the courage to risk the reputations and political capital to run for office, especially the presidency of the United States. It is troopers like Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin who are out in front taking the fight to the progressive left.
We may like some of these candidates more than others and argue over their individual tactics, but we need to realize that without the support of the conservative media the left will win the battle and we, the American people, will lose the war to the tyranny of the left.
Conservative pundits like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Pat Buchanan and Karl Rove need to focus on the failed policies and gaffs of the left, not on the miss-statements of our fighters made in the heat of the battle. These statements will occur from time to time due to the devotion and passion our fighters have to win the country back. It is their plans and ability to take the fight to the enemy we should be concerned with. This is why Churchill replaced Claude Auchinleck with Bernard Montgomery. It was “Monty” who was willing to risk all to take the fight to Rommel.
Montgomery did not rush headlong into the teeth of Rommel’s panzers. To defeat the Desert Fox and turn the tide of the war he used technology (300 Sherman tanks), intelligence (the code breakers of Bletchley Park) and the deception of Sun Tzu.
Our conservative brothers and sisters must do the same. We need to use the technology of the Internet, the intelligence and dumpster-diving that the left uses and the deception of picking the sites where they will give their interviews.
Like the Allies in WWII our immediate battlefield is not the national stage. Just as in WWII the first European battlefield was not the invasion of Normandy. We worked our way up through North Africa, Sicily and Italy while planning, building up and training for the invasion of the France. Our Republican troops need to do the same by focusing on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. While they are doing this they can be planning, building up (collecting the money and volunteers for the big show) and training for November 2012.
At his stage of the war our fighters do not need the national exposure they expect to get from the main stream media. The MSM is nothing but a fifth column for the progressive left. They have their spies and saboteurs everywhere, just look what they have done to Sarah Palin in the past there years. This is not the time to throw inexperienced fighters into battles where the enemy strength is greater than theirs. Or put in another way — they need to pick and choose the media outlets where they will give interviews — fights they can win. Consultants and campaign managers putting their candidate in front of a hostile, left-wing interviewers, like the McCain people did to Sarah Palin by matching her with Katie Curic and Charles Gibson before she was ready, is tantamount to the British and Canadian Dieppe Raid.
Consider what Andrea Tantaros wrote in her opinion piece for Fox News:
“There is a saying that a fool learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. When it comes to Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, there is no truer statement.
For the record, Palin is no fool. She has turned a mismanaged 2008 campaign into political gold and brought her brand to stardom with a meteoric, well-choreographed rise. But she had to blaze a trail, one that is largely being utilized by Michele Bachmann.
Palin was the first female Republican candidate to be nominated to the GOP presidential ticket, and with that came much scrutiny. Palin, along with every political observer, quickly learned that she would be held to a different standard by the mainstream media, not just because she was a woman, but also because she was a conservative one.
With Palin, the left-leaning press asked “gotcha” questions, unlikely to be asked of a man. The then-Alaska governor was asked everything from obscure foreign policy questions to simple, almost insulting ones like “what papers do you read?” And they were all crafted, by design to confuse her.
She was lambasted for her hairstyle (beehive), sexualized for her figure (when she posed for Runner’s World magazine), ridiculed for her diction and down home style (Newsweek: “She’s one of the folks – and that’s the problem”).
Her marriage was dissected with reporters asking if Todd was too involved in her career, despite other marriages in politics like the Clintons union being viewed as acceptable.
While Democrats could ask the media to lay off their kids, the press viciously analyzed and editorialized hers. Whether she was being judged for her choices (to run for president and not stay home to raise her handicapped infant, Trigg instead) or being even accused of lying about the paternity of her son Trigg, Palin was steadily paving the way for Bachmann, or any female Republican candidate poised to hit the presidential trail.”
So, now is the time to prepare for the first battleground in Iowa and use intelligence, technology and deception so our fighters can get their message out to the people. And to our conservative pundits and commentators please remember he mottos of the U.S. Rangers — No man left behind.