Op - Ed Jul 1, 2011 16:16:32 GMT -5
Post by fred on Jul 1, 2011 16:16:32 GMT -5
"Anti - Custer vs. Anti - Fred"
There seems to be something of a misunderstanding about the history and direction of this particular message board. A number of people consider it the “anti – Custer” forum.
I take issue with that and I consider such criticism as coming from the ignorant, the prejudiced, the misinformed, and the downright stupid people who refuse to take the time to understand fully what is posted on this site. I also resent greatly the terms used by the foolish moderator on the clone boards when he calls me and others, “Benteenistas,” or “Renoists,” or “Reno-istas,” implying that we favor Fred Benteen or Marcus Reno over George Custer. There are those equally petty and narrow – minded as Mr. Rini who play their favorite in this historical event much to the detriment or calumny of the others and they are to be blamed and vilified in much the same way as they mete out their bile.
If, I, personally, have criticized any one of these historical figures, it is only within the context of their errors as I perceive them, or as I have been able to determine by the research I have done. While my own personality traits tend to draw me to a character like Fred Benteen, in no way would I cut Benteen any slack were I to detect incompetence or a lack of integrity in his actions. Indeed, I find some of his criticisms of others rather tedious and I believe—from what I have been able to learn—that his opinions of people like his own lieutenant, Frank Gibson, or LT Mathey, or Tom Weir, or even Miles Moylan, out of line and misplaced. Again, however, all of this is somewhat subjective and is opinion formed 130+ years after the fact.
With all the work I have done, I have found that when placed in context (and context is not necessarily a contiguous sequencing involving solely time, space, or event) Benteen’s actions at the LBH merit not a single whit of criticism. Those who claim otherwise are simply not intelligent or dispassionate enough to grasp the entire “strategic” concept of the event. Or they are prejudiced. Likewise, I have found Marcus Reno’s actions up to his retreat from the timber, those of a highly competent commander, and his actions on the 26th equally competent. I have also found much of Custer’s actions reasonable and competent—though he nears the responsibility for the debacle—my only criticisms being his failure to communicate with Reno and his failure to maintain mutual support between his maneuver elements. He also misunderstood his foe and misread their strengths and intentions. He went back to the “book” once too often and failed to improvise. Otherwise his plan was sound, even in risking the loss of mutual support. Sometimes those risks are worth taking.
My criticism of various posters stems from what I perceive to be a lack of imagination and an arrogance brought on by prejudice, stupidity, and personal failure, rather than the causes of justifiable arrogance. By arrogance I mean an unwillingness to listen and consider an alternate interpretation that might be manifested by unclear circumstances. A perfect example of “unclear circumstance” is the Kanipe business: did he chicken out or was he sent back as a messenger? We will never know, but I was vilified by some imbecile who too exception to my doubts of Kanipe’s veracity. Such is the mentality of some on these boards.
It is this same mentality that I see on—and that caused me to leave—the “alternative” boards. While I expected somewhat the bloviating of Bill Rini, I was stunned by the G. L. Rockwell-esque ranting of another poster. To me, that is immediate cause for distance… long distance, long separation. And let me be clear about this: Clair Conzelman is not at issue here. None of this refers or pertains to Clair; he is just another wacky nut like myself, only on the opposite end of the LBH belief spectrum.
Now let me go back to the original theme of this whole thing: the so-called “anti – Custerism” of this board. That, of course, will usher in Dark Cloud. It is my opinion that DC is no more anti – Custer, pro – Benteen, pro – Reno, than he is pro – Custer, anti – Benteen, or anti – Reno. DC is one of those rare people in life who challenges you—inadvertently or by design—to be better. It took me a while to understand this, but once I did things became a lot more clear.
Despite our earlier antipathy toward one another, DC was gracious enough to post some kind words about a book I was fortunate enough to get published. Rather than take that as a proferred olive branch, I took it for what it really was: an objective observation unencumbered by prejudice or preconceptions or animosity. Had I been wrong in the past? Had something slipped by me?
It had. What I failed to realize was that none of this was about DC himself or pro – or anti – Custerism; it was about DC’s challenge for everyone to shunt aside petty prejudices and view history… and this historical event as such… without a jaundiced eye, without favorites, but as a demand for the truth and an honest discussion of its facts and foibles. It isn’t always easy to do, but then that is the difference between a demanding taskmaster and the slovenly rabble too many people aspire to be like. Everyone on these and the other boards is interested in history; they should be equally interested in getting it right and in the rigors demanded in such an endeavor. I also find the claims of anti – Irish, anti – English, anti – German that are often leveled at Dark Cloud to be unfounded. If one takes the time to read and understand what he has written, one discovers that his ire is directed more at injustice amongst particulars than it is against everyone in particular. “Wild” is very much the same way, though he may not agree. Are we to call “Wild” anti – Custer, or pro – Benteen, or pro – Reno? No… “Wild” is equally critical of all.
Dark Cloud and I have both been accused of a similar arrogance. Arrogance, however, is a disease born out of knowledge and brilliance, and while I personally stake no such claim, I find nothing or no one on the other boards that might cause me to make such a similar accusation, at least not with those parameters. In fact, if the traits most exhibited there—condescension, hatred, and prejudice—are bliss, some of those guys should be in ecstasy.
Accusations of this board being any more pro – or anti – anyone involved with the LBH are false, and should be considered in the same light as a refusal to recognize the proper name of a fine American city. Men who spoke with heavy accents have died for this country. Some were even at the Little Big Horn.