Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nathan Bedford Forrest: Advice to Environmentalists

Being Green

Nathan Bedford Forrest rose from the rank of private to that of general in The Civil War. He is best known for his quote, "You win battles by being firstest with the mostest." He was a slave trader before the war and the founder of the Ku Klux Klan after it. A successful leader... could he have advice for environmentalists?

I was reading from Shelby Foote's excellent three volume set on the American Civil War. Specifically, I read about the end of the war. After Lee surrendered to Grant, there was much discussion, North and South, on "What next?" Would the South continue to fight? Would the other Southern armies continue the fight? The best leader of the remaining armies that of General Forrest. Many speculated That this group could affectively continue fighting for years. Perhaps they would operate from Mexico.

During the war, Forrest, with only three regiments would drive into Union held southern territory. He recruited southern troops and equipped them at the expense of the Union army. His main target was the union supply lines. He would approach a small Union fort. Under the protection of a white flag he would ask for the surrender of the fort. None did. His chief cannonier, with a captured rifled Union cannon, would then blow the gates off the fort. Forrest would then ask for surrender again, and got it. He kept what he could use, destroyed the rest and released, unharmed, the union soldiers. He always returned with 1,500 to 3.000 new fully equipped soldiers for the southern cause.

Forrest inspired fierce loyalty in his men. Once when attacked from opposite directions by two Union armies. He defeated them both. His men even captured a Union gunboat.

It is fair to say Nathan Bedford Forrest is not well regarded, off the field of battle, by many. Mostly for good reason. However none can dispute his leadership skills. A story told by his aid happened after the Lee surrender. As Forrest and the aid were riding, they came to a fork in the road. Forrest paused and the aid asked "Which way General?" Forrest replied "If One road led to hell and the other to Mexico, I would be indifferent which to take.." Later. Forrest wrote a letter to his troops as the other Confederate armies were surrendering. ( page 1000 or so of the third volume )

Today it is Preservationists, Bunny Huggers, Tree Huggers, Save The Whales, and on, and on, in a war against the rest of us. It seems if Man would just die out and let everything go back to nature, things would be great. It reminds me of the scene from the movie "Independence Day" when the president talks to the alien: "What would you have us do?" to which the alien replies: "Die... Die"

When these activists protest things, what sort of example do they give? Mostly they fly in big airplanes and drive fancy cars. The leader if the pack, Al Gore, lives in a house that uses more utilities in a month than most American families use in a year. At the international climate conference in Finland, so many Greenies showed up in private planes the Finns had to send them as much as 150 miles away to land and park. There were so many renting luxury limos, the local limo service had to borrow from other countries. Great example, guys, great example!

If the cause of environmentalism is failing, perhaps it is for lack of effective leadership.  Forrest, who during the war suffered 4 combat wounds in hand to hand combat and had 29 horses shot from under him, ( he also suffered a near fatal wound from a jilted lover's husband) in his letter to his troops, disbanding his army, concludes, in part: "... I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go, nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to  pursue. You have been good soldiers. You can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor..."

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