The Best Defense

Sherman's (VII) pet peeves: He loathed reporters, DC, politicians, and even JAGs

Everyone knows that Sherman didn't want to run for president, but I didn't realize how deep his loathing of politics overall ran. This was despite his being the brother of a lifelong politician, John Sherman, who was a senator and also secretary of the treasury and secretary of state.

In April 1861, as the Civil War was getting under way, he was offered the post of assistant secretary of war. He declined, responding, "I wish the Administration all success in its almost impossible task of governing this distracted and anarchical people."

In 1868, when President Andrew Johnson tried to transfer Sherman east from St. Louis to Washington, Sherman said he'd rather retire from the Army. He explained that he found the idea of moving to Washington "highly objectionable, especially because it is the political capital of the country, and focus of intrigue, gossip and slander."

Underscoring his objection, he wrote to Grant that if the president and Congress would just shut up and go to sleep, "the country would ... recover far faster."

Another pet peeve was reporters. "Newspaper correspondents with an army, as a rule, are mischievous. They are the world's gossips, pick up and retail the camp scandal, and gradually drift to the headquarters of some general, who finds it easier to make reputation at home than with his own corps or division."

As for JAGs: "The presence of one of our regular civilian judge-advocates in an army in the field would be a first-class nuisance, for technical courts always work mischief."

By the way, the general is tweeting his march through Georgia at @TecumsehSays. Typical tweet: "Went well, had some fun, burned some stuff, you know, the usual."


The Best Defense

The top 10 lies Pakistani officials tell

From the tell-it-like-it-is Prof. Christine Fair. No. 1 is, "Our relationship should be strategic rather than transactional." Second is that it is us, not them, that has been an unreliable ally.

Here is a link to the rest.

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