As the 150th Anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia rolls around, some armchair historians and pundits are still battling over what the Civil War was about. It's time to go beyond the rhetoric and read the evidence.
Memorial Day offers an annual remembrance of courage and sacrifice as well as the all-too-frequent foolish and counterproductive effusion of American blood. Most of the conflicts in which so many Americans died were fool's errands, wars which the U.S. should never have fought.
If ever we met a tragic hero, it would be Job. I like Job too. I admire him. But this week I noticed something about Job that complicates my relationship with him. Job holds something in common with Robert E. Lee: They both owned slaves.
After Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the American aptitude for war would not be questioned again for a very long time. No one except Lincoln and the senior officers of both armies had imagined that the decisive climax of the American constitutional project could be such a noble and terrible combat.
Wal-Mart's surrender ended their 26-month siege of the Wilderness Battlefield, an attack that sparked national attention, activated numerous historic preservation groups, and aimed a barrage of bad press towards Wal-Mart headquarters.