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This is the 150th anniversary of General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.  Many commentators are touting Lee’s surrender as a triumph for freedom.  While it was a great blessing that slavery ended, the Civil War set precedents for ignoring atrocities that continue to bedevil America.  Here’s a piece from the January issue of The Future of Freedom:

Forgotten Civil War Atrocities Bred More Carnage
by James Bovard

George Orwell wrote in 1945 that “the nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” The same moral myopia has carried over to most Americans’ understanding of the Civil War. While popular historians have recently canonized the war as a practically holy crusade to free the slaves, in reality civilians were intentionally targeted and brutalized in the final year of the war.

The most dramatic forgotten atrocity in the Civil War occurred 150 years ago when Union Gen. Philip Sheridan unleashed a hundred-mile swath of flames in the Shenandoah Valley that left vast numbers of women and children tottering towards starvation. Unfortunately, the burning of the Shenandoah Valley has been largely forgotten, foreshadowing how subsequent brutal military operations would also vanish into the Memory Hole.

In August 1864, supreme Union commander Ulysses S. Grant ordered Sheridan to “do all the damage to railroads and crops you can…. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste.” Grant said that Sheridan’s troops should “eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they go, so that crows flying over it for the balance of the season will have to carry their provender with them.” Sheridan set to the task with vehemence, declaring that “the people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with over the war” and promised that when he was finished, the valley “from Winchester to Staunton will have but little in it for man or beast.”

Because people lived in a state that had seceded from the Union, Sheridan acted as if they had automatically forfeited their property, if not their lives. Along an almost 100-mile stretch the sky was blackened with smoke as his troops burned crops, barns, mills and homes. Continue

This Friday, go to mises.org/live to learn how fiat money and inflation enable the warfare state. Mises Academy director and Antiwar.com columnist Dan Sanchez will give a 20-minute talk titled “War and the Government Control of Money” as part of the Mises Institute’s “Sound Money” seminar for college and high school students. This free seminar will also feature talks by Mark Thornton, Jeff Deist, and Jonathan Newman. Joseph Salerno will join the speakers for a Q&A session. If you happen to be in the area (Auburn, Alabama) you can register to attend in-person (also free). Otherwise, watch the live streaming broadcast at mises.org/live.

Schedule (Central time zone)

9:55 a.m. Welcome, Jeff Deist
10:00 a.m. Mark Thornton “Money and the Development of Human Society: From Barter to Bitcoin”
10:20 a.m. Jeff Deist “A Free Market in Money”
10:40 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Dan Sanchez “War and the Government Control of Money”
11:20 a.m. Jonathan Newman “Inflation and Business Cycles”
11:40 a.m. Panel with Q&A
Noon Adjourn

Free Suggested Advance Readings

What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Leave Money Production to the Market
Inflation as a Stealth Tax (Video)
How Inflation Picks your Pocket

U.S. intelligence veterans recall the real story of how New York Times reporter Judith Miller disgraced herself and her profession by helping to mislead Americans into the disastrous war in Iraq. They challenge the slick, self-aggrandizing rewrite of history in her new memoir.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Americans Malnourished on the Truth About Iraq
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A New “Miller’s Tale” (with apologies to Geoffrey Chaucer)

On April 3, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller published an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths: Officials Didn’t Lie, and I Wasn’t Fed a Line.” If this sounds a bit defensive, Miller has tons to be defensive about.

In the article, Miller claims, “false narratives [about what she did as a New York Times reporter] deserve, at last, to be retired.” The article appears to be the initial salvo in a major attempt at self-rehabilitation and, coincidentally, comes just as her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, is to be published today.

In reviewing Miller’s book, her “mainstream media” friends are not likely to mention the stunning conclusion reached recently by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other respected groups that the Iraq War, for which she was lead drum majorette, killed one million people. One might think that, in such circumstances – and with bedlam reigning in Iraq and the wider neighborhood – a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, so to speak, might prompt Miller to keep her head down for a while more.

In all candor, after more than a dozen years, we are tired of exposing the lies spread by Judith Miller and had thought we were finished. We have not seen her new book, but we cannot in good conscience leave her WSJ article without comment from those of us who have closely followed U.S. policy and actions in Iraq.

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Antiwar.com’s editorial director Justin Raimondo has an op-ed in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times on the subject of Rand Paul’s foreign policy.

Check it out.

Paul Waldman nay-says comparisons of the Lausanne nuclear talks to UK prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler with respect to Czechoslovakia ("No, the Iran nuclear negotiations aren’t Munich in 1938," Washington Post, April 1).

I get where Waldman’s coming from – it’s annoying to hear American hawks on both sides of the aisle draw that analogy – but I disagree. Not so much because he gets it wrong as because he gets it backward.

The nuclear talks ARE a lot like Munich in 1938. But it’s Iran acting out the role of Chamberlain in response to a US strategy that’s textbook Hitler. There’s little doubt the Iranians will regret going to the trouble of hammering out the just-announced "framework."

The Hitlerian method is this: Invent a "controversy" (for example, "ethnic Germans in Czech Sudetenland are oppressed"). Make a set of demands. If the demands are met, add new conditions. When you’ve pushed things as far as they can go and the other party finally refuses, accuse that other party of acting in bad faith and claim justification for doing what you wanted to do anyway (invade and occupy Czechoslovakia).

The Iran "nuclear weapons controversy" is an invented crisis of that Hitlerian type.

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