Saturday, March 09, 2013
Lincoln, Take II
March 9, 2013
Lincoln as Bleeding Heart Peacenik?
By Steven Plaut
An interesting trend has emerged in recent weeks. The Israeli Left,
along with most of the world's pseudo-intellectual classes, has
suddenly discovered Abraham Lincoln, and is proclaiming him an
honorary member of "Peace Now." Obviously it is thanks to the new
Hollywood movie. Columnists in the Israeli media are claiming that
Israel needs to follow the ethical leadership of Lincoln. Just as
Lincoln freed the slaves, or so their mantra goes, so Israel must
"free" the Palestinians from "occupation."
The Israeli Left has embraced Lincoln because it is convinced that, if
Lincoln is regarded as a moral champion, identification with Lincoln
must clearly lead one to support the political agenda of the Israeli
Left. First and foremost this would mean supporting Palestinian
demands and "resistance."
So what should we make of this new "Lincoln as Leftist
Well, even someone with only the shallowest familiarity with American
history would know that the two most important principles represented
by Lincoln would make him for all intents and purposes the ethical
analogue of the Jewish settler leaders in the West Bank, and not a
Peace Now whiner.
Lincoln fought the American Civil War first and foremost in to order
to prevent the partition or division of his homeland, and he was fully
prepared to use massive military force to achieve this goal. Lincoln
was in favor of peace but not under all conditions or at any price.
Those in Israel proposing such a "two-state solution" are the 21st
Second, Lincoln had no reluctance about using the word "treason," and
throughout the Civil War he made it clear that he considered the Union
war against the Confederacy and its supporters to be a campaign
against treason. Those who supported secession or the Confederacy were
engaging in treason, not academic debate. Lincoln did not mollycoddle
traitors in the name of "understanding the Other." He did not insist
that those opposing national interests be allowed to control the
universities and the courts and the media.
Those who are trying to deconstruct Lincoln as the ultimate opponent
of "occupation" will have to explain why his party imposed a severely
harsh occupation on the member states of the Confederacy, one that
continued for years. The analogue to the PLO and Hamas in the occupied
Confederacy was the Ku Klux Klan, and it was suppressed mercilessly in
actions that included Union militias acting as anti-Klan death squads.
There were thousands of arrests of KKK "militants" and "activists,"
and martial law was imposed upon counties with Klan activities. No one
proposed seeking peace by granting the Klan its own country.
Aside from the two most obvious characteristics of Lincoln, which make
him the moral analogue of Jewish settler leaders in the West Bank,
Lincoln had a few other features that will make the Left squirm.
Lincoln abolished habeas corpus during wartime. He had traitors
executed and deported, and had no hesitation about the use of capital
punishment. Among those executed, William Bruce Mumford was convicted
of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag.
Some 500 people were executed by hanging or by firing squad during the
War, some for desertion. At least one of those hanged was a woman,
Mary Surratt (executed for her role in the assassination of Lincoln).
Lincoln had no patience for terrorists, known in the Civil War as
"bushwhackers," and ordered them to be executed by firing squad.
"Bridge burners" were given the same treatment. He believed there was
ONLY a military solution to the problems of terrorism.
Lincoln also imposed censorship on the press and suppressed treasonous
journalism. Want to ponder how Lincoln would handle the pro-Hamas
radical Left in Israel? Then in Sherman's march to the sea, Lincoln
conducted war against CIVILIANS, explicitly targeting and attacking
the civilian population and its infrastructure to end rebellion and
treason. With no Betselem and no Supreme Court interference. Lincoln
also sponsored the Homestead Act of 1862, perhaps the greatest
settlements construction effort in history.
Perhaps most notably, Lincoln imposed an uncompromising blockade upon
the entire Confederacy. The very same Israeli Leftists, who insist
that lifting the "embargo" of Gaza is the highest form of humane
morality so that the Hamas can more easily import weapons, will have a
an interesting challenge explaining the blockade imposed by their
new-found moral champion, Abraham Lincoln. It was a policy proudly
described by Lincoln as "starving the South." Food and civilian
commodities were prevented from passing through the blockade. Guess
how Lincoln would have dealt with "Gaza Flotilla" blockade runners?
Honest Abe used exactly the same blockade tactic against the
Confederacy over which the Israeli Left is now sobbing its eyes out!
And frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!