Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

Doomed to repeat it

You know what they say about those who don’t learn from history. 

Just yesterday, my American Revolution class was discussing the failed American invasion of Canada in 1775.  You know the story:  Benedict Arnold led his men on a grueling trek through the Maine wilderness, short of food and with numbers dwindling by the mile.  Finally arriving outside the walls of Quebec, Arnold linked up with another American force commanded by the heroic Richard Montgomery.  Deciding to attack the city, the Americans launched a disastrous assault on a frigid New Year’s Eve, an attack that cost Arnold a wound in the leg and Montgomery his life.  John Trumbull immortalized the tragic scene on canvas in 1786.

Clearly, Americans don’t fare well when invading their neighbor to the north.  Imagine my shock, then, when I logged onto the information superhighway mere moments ago.  It was only a short blurb, hidden innocuously in the links section of a reputable news site.  But oh, the dreadful implications that lay therein.  I copy it below:

Obama talks trade, war in Canada.”

War in Canada!  Yes, in this century! 

Doesn’t our supposedly history-savvy chief executive know how this is going to end?  Has he spent so much time poring over Team of Rivals that he’s failed to learn the lessons of the Revolution and the War of 1812?  Will he next send the navy to plunder the British coast, in imitation of John Paul Jones?  And where’s Sean Penn when you need him?

Okay, two recommendations, in all seriousness.  First, I recommend that Msnbc.com put a little more effort into writing these link titles.  Nobody likes to see America’s top online news source with egg on its face simply because some hack thought a comma would work just as well as the word “and.”  (And yes, this means I’m aware of the actual nature of the news item.  Please save your well-intentioned suggestions that I work on my reading comprehension.  Thanks.)

My second recommendation is for you, the dedicated reader.  Get yourself a copy of Benedict Arnold’s Army, a fantastic account of Arnold’s expedition by Arthur S. Lefkowitz.  While you’re at it, stock up on all the Rev War titles published by Savas Beatie.  If we do pick a fight with Canada, you’ll need some reading material in your fallout shelter.

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