May 18, 2007
Can There Be Peace Without Victory?
I have been reading a brilliant and edifying book, This Mighty Scourge; Perspectives on the Civil War, by America's leading Civil War historian, James M. McPherson (Oxford University Press, 2007). It has many lessons to teach America and Israel in our own day. McPherson describes how extremely unpopular the Civil War had become in the Northern states by the summer of 1864, after three years of extremely bitter fighting and huge losses of life. The Union armies had lost close to 300,000 men killed in action -- proportionate to the American population of today, that would be about 3 million men. The injured, permanently disabled and prisoners of war greatly added to the toll. The casualty rate had sharply risen in the past few months as the Union army of Ulysses S Grant and the Confederate Army of Robert E. Lee were locked in a brutal stalemate on the Virginia front. President Lincoln had just called for 500,000 more Union volunteers-the equivalent of about 5 million men today. Yet...(Read Full Article)