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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bunker Hill Redux

     I have been reading James Nelson's excellent and fluid book on the Battle of Bunker Hill, With Fire and Sword.  What is striking about the events after Lexington and Concord, and leading up to Bunker Hill, is the climate of blame, manipulation, personal aggrandizement and ambition among the British generals and political leaders on the one hand, and the American patriots, would-be generals and politicians on the other.  I read a recent political column about the 2012 election in which the writer quoted a political leader to the effect that the Republican primaries are simply about individual hatreds rather than policy.  To a greater or lesser extent, a comparable comment could be made about the efforts to resolve the American conflict prior to Bunker Hill, and the manner in which particular individuals jockeyed for position and tore at each other.  It is also intriguing to compare British General Thomas Gage and the attacks on him with some of the kinds of attacks on former President George W. Bush--even if he were to have done something that his critics wanted, they could not, and would not, ever acknowledge it.  We lament the current political climate, but we bred it, and were bred in it, from the beginning.  What has changed today is the instant communication; at the time of Bunker Hill, it was a fast ship that got a message from America to England in five weeks.


     Here is a view of the training field and the Bunker Hill Monument just beyond, in Charleston.
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