Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Total war had made its lethal debut"

"By the end of the [Civil War] the process of radicalization made possible by identifying war aims with a humanitarian cause had turned the conflict into a merciless and bloody war of attrition in which the Confederacy did not figure as a real state with any legitimate humanitarian claim to existence. Southerners had become in the eyes of their opponents subhuman demons defending a reactionary order, a dark power dedicated to block the forward march of emancipatory progress. One need only read the newspaper accounts of the day to understand that this is no exaggeration. Confederate efforts to reach a settlement were thus rebuffed and 'total' war had made its lethal debut.
"The history of the modern age is written largely in celebration of this disastrous shift in ethical authority. Those who oppose it are depicted as history’s villains when they lose. The million young Southern men who tolerated four years of merciless deprivation and war, convinced as they fell that they were defending their homes and families, now figure in our national story as bigoted racists who devoted their efforts to the utterly unjust defense of a repressive and anti-humanitarian status quo. Their very battle flag has become a symbol of evil."

Dr. T. H. Pickett, "War, Power, and Supremacy:
A Conservative Interpretation," Modern Age, Summer 2006, pages 200 and 204.