The Best Defense

Dueling historians: Lt. Col. Bob Bateman's takedown of Victor Davis Hanson

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on November 4, 2010.

I could never quite figure out what irked me so much about Victor Davis "Carnage 'n' Culture'' Hanson's work until I read John A. Lynn. I liked what I read by Hanson about ancient Greece, but as Lynn shows, the further Hanson wandered from ancient Greece, the less he seemed like a historian and the more he came off like a polemicist with an agenda. Lt. Col. Bob Bateman, who is both an active-duty officer and an academic with terrific credentials in military history, delivered the coup de grace in a series of articles I hadn't seen until recently.

Wikimedia

The Best Defense

Reader comment of the day: Gourley on the meaning of a death in combat

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on October 25, 2010.

Jim Gourley, in a response to the post on the Adrian Lewis book, parses the loss of a soldier:

Someone dies in combat. At Brigade level, he's a social security number and a status that gets tracked to Landstuhl. At Division, he's a storyboard. At Corps, he's a statistic. At Platoon and Company, he's a gaping wound in the soul of a hundred men. To his family, it's the end of the world."

Someday I hope to see a printout of those words posted on a cubicle wall, or over a urinal, in a division or corps headquarters.

Scott Olson/Getty Images