Joe Scarborough in command at Spotsylvania Court House

Posted: August 9, 2010 by datechguy in Afghanistan war, opinion/news
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On Morning Joe again today Joe Scarborough brought out his favorite number “50 Al qaeda” when talking about Afghanistan and if we should be there. (it was not the most ridiculous statement of the show as a guest talked how it costs $1 mil per GI there saying we should spend it on their people instead as if a ten man medical team was not just slaughtered there two days ago) Every time the subject of Afghanistan is brought up the 50 al-Qaeda number is trumpeted by Joe in his argument that we should cut and run withdraw.

By an odd coincidence I was re-reading about the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House this weekend. It was a seminal moment in the war because Grant after being defeated soundly at the Wilderness instead of retreating as other Union generals did raced for Spotsylvania to get around Lee by the left. Grant’s troops raced for the courthouse in the hope of getting there first.

James Longstreet had been badly wounded and his division was now under the command of the unexciting Richard Anderson. Anderson’s division, not renowned for speed, raced for the same point on a road that was being cleared even as he marched

At Spotsylvania the Cavalry of course got there first. There was a clash at a rail pile where Confederates defended against the Union Cavalry trying to dislodge them but the infantry was just behind them. When the first Union elements arrived General Warren (one of the heroes of Gettysburg told his Brigadier John Robinson to attack informing him that there was nothing but dismounted cavalry ahead of him.
It was true at the time he said it but between that moment and the time of attack, the first infantry brigades made it to the line, beating the union troops there by less than a minutes and insuring that the massive bloodshed that the country had gone through for 3 years would be prolonged for at least one more.

Under the Joe Scarborough theory of warfare there will never be anything more than Fitz Lee’s dismounted cavalry in front of the rail piles and all decisions to be made should be on that basis. There will always be just 50 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Taliban are not our business.

I like Joe but lucky for us the tactical and strategic decisions in Afghanistan are not his.

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