Sunday, July 05, 2015

Worst Generals in US History

Another patriotic, history buff posting.

1. Benjamin Butler
Not just a horrible general but a contemptible human being as well. A lawyer and politician with absolutely no military experience, Butler used his connections to get himself appointed as a Union general at the start of the Civil War.

His few forays into battle were marked by over elaborate plans that were impossible to execute on the ground. And Butler preferred to command the fighting far from the battlefield relaxing with a glass of wine.

As military commander of occupied New Orleans, Butler authorized and profited from extensive looting. He would buy or steal sugar and cotton in New Orleans and use government ships to take it to Boston where Butler sold it at a profit.

And then there was General Order No. 28. Upset that the genteel women of New Orleans were not being friendly to the occupation troops, Butler ordered that any woman being unfriendly was to be treated as a prostitute.

2. George McClellen
Lincoln and McClellen at Antietam.
I could fill this blog with Union generals. Just one more. Little Mac had trained at West Point. He felt the most important thing an army could learn was how to properly parade. Fighting was messy, parading was inspiring. His men loved him in large part because he refused to put them in harm's way. He convinced himself that the Rebel army vastly outnumbered his own, the opposite was true, so he avoided battle as much as possible.

He also had an over inflated opinion of himself. He contemplated a military coup in 1861. One of his kinder descriptions of the President was as a "well-meaning baboon." Lincoln fired an insubordinate McClellen after the meeting photographed above. McClellen ran for president against Lincoln in 1864 where he, predictably, lost.

3. Douglas MacArthur
Quite possibly the reincarnated soul of George McClellen. Certainly more of a popinjay, MacArthur spent his career looking for cameras to get in front of. The best example of this is his return to the Philippines. When he learned a film crew had missed his famous wet pants walk up the beach he restaged the whole thing for the cameras.

During World War II, MacArthur had been lazy in preparing Philippines defenses. His forces were caught napping when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. MacArthur was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for abandoning his troops and sneaking off to Australia with his family. Propaganda is more important than honor.

During the Korean War, MacArthur's amphibious assault at Inchon broke the North Korean army; a plus for him. Yet his suggestions to invade China and use atomic weapons against both China and Russia brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. When President Truman began to negotiate peace MacArthur went to the press and Congress to kneecap Truman's peace initiative. Truman fired him his ass.

William Westmoreland
Westmoreland was the mastermind behind the Vietnam War debacle. According to Westy, America was winning every battle. Although with each "victory" it was the Viet Cong that seemed to come out ahead. His strategy was to crowd a half million American soldiers into that tiny country and force the enemy to come out and fight. The Viet Cong strategy was to crowd a half million American soldiers into their tiny country and kill them until the Americans got tired of dying for a worthless patch of jungle.

To the end of his pathetic life, he believed that he had won the Vietnam War and that the American people had betrayed him.

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