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Posted on Nov 14, 2007 in Armchair Reading

January 2008 Mailbag

Armchair General

Lefty’s and Righty’s

Dear Editors:

I love Armchair General, in fact I just re-upped. But good grief, please can the conservative articles and commentary. I don’t buy the magazine to hear righty — or lefty! — commentary.

Specifically, your March article about how unpopular Lincoln was during the Civil War. That was true and unto itself was fine. But when I picked up the Sept. issue, in the letters section you congratulated yourselves for "never once" mentioning President Bush in that article, and yet amazingly people had made the  connection. Gee, how’d they ever do that? Come on. You know the tenor of the article pointed huge, comparison arrows directly at Bush.

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Also, Ralph Peters, wow. He posits himself as a military expert and then goes on in his Sept. commentary ("Myths of insurgency") to present an utterly political view on the current "war" that seemed straight off the Fox network or Rush Limbaugh’s program. Hey, Ralph: The war is not the media’s fault. Nor the fault of liberals. Objecting to it is not unpatriotic, nor does doing so mean the objector somehow doesn’t support our troops. I’ve heard very few of the myths you mention. Mostly, the creation of those myths was a writing trick designed to make it seem as if there’s some huge liberal conspiracy to ruin America by "not allowing" the military to do the job. (Jeez, we’ve been there four years with everything we have! What else is there? A draft? Nukes?)

I understand his piece is an opinion, but like I said, that’s not why I buy a military magazine. I’m interested in tactics, battles, history, personalities etc.

For the record, I wouldn’t like it if you included lefty or liberal commentary either. I read Armchair General to escape that nonsense.

I’m not going to threaten to cancel, as so many do. I love the mag, but I’ve noticed a rise in this kind of polemic, and I don’t appreciate it.

Thanks for reading, if you did.

Andrew Heller
Grand Blanc, Michigan


Dear ACG,

I am a big fan of Armchair General and a charter — and continuing — subscriber.  I read a lot about battles and wars and conflicts as well as politics and international relations. I am a long-time member of the South Carolina Military History Club. I have travelled to some major battlefields for historical tours: Normandy, Waterloo, Bastogne, Verdun, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, Fort Sumter, New Market, Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Ninety-Six, Camden, Guilford Courthouse, Culloden.

I am writing to report that I do not at all appreciate the pro-Republican, pro-Bush propaganda your editors are so fond of. It is simplistic, patronizing, and insulting.

I do not enjoy silly and contrived comparisons of George Bush to Abraham Lincoln.

Please refrain from politicizing military history. There is nothing wrong with honoring today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I share that sentiment whole-heartedly. But please do not attempt to "sell" me the current war in Iraq or the decisions of this administration in prosecuting the war in Iraq.

Patriotic and informed individuals can differ on the war in Iraq.

In fact, many miltary leaders DO differ on this war: General William Odom (ret.), former head of the National Security Agency under President Reagan; John Deutch, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency 1995-1996 and was deputy defense secretary 1994-1995; Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter; Melvin Laird, secretary of defense for President Richard Nixon; Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and a retired Army colonel; Gen. Joseph P. Hoar is a retired four-star general, led the U.S. Central Command (1991-94), and commanded U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf after the 1991 war; Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (ret.); Edward Peck, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan’s terrorist task force who served in World War II and Korea and then for 32 years as a diplomat; Brent Scowcroft, who served as National Security Adviser to President George H.W. Bush; Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of Central Command for U.S. forces in the Middle East and State Department’s envoy to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; Richard Clarke, former chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council for both the latter part of the Clinton Administration and early part of the George W. Bush Administration; Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who led the First Infantry Division; Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who led troops on the ground in Iraq as recently as 2004 as the commander of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division; Maj. Gen. John Riggs; Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold of the Marine Corps; General Wesley Clark.

Stick to history and avoid the propaganda, please.

Thank you and best wishes!

Paul D. de Holczer
Columbia, SC


…And On the Other Hand

Dear ACG,

Don’t "End the conservative tilt". I have read every issue of Armchair General  and enjoy receiving the magazine very much. I think the content, including the conservative view of the editors and contributors are an important part of what makes this magazine what it is.

Keep up the excellent job of producing a great, quality magazine. Please don’t bow to threats by those wanting to change this magazine. Those that are unable to keep an open mind to other’s ideas, and unable to disregard what they disagree with… and would keep others from having the opportunity to consider these views.

Douglas Conger

ACG would like to thank readers Blanc, Holczer and Conger for sharing their opinions. We value very much hearing our readers’ frank opinions and appreciate each of them taking the time to write them down and send them to us.


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