Posted on | March 1, 2014 | 39 Comments
— Joy Keller (@JoyKeller1) March 1, 2014
The latest headlines via Memeorandum:
Putin’s War in Crimea Could Soon
Spread to Eastern Ukraine
– The New Republic
Condemnation isn’t enough for
Russian actions in Crimea
– Washington Post
Explainer: The Budapest Memorandum
And Its Relevance To Crimea
– Radio Free Europe
— Monica Online (@MonicaOnline) March 1, 2014
What caused this? What happens next? Is there anything that the U.S. could have done to prevent it? Such are the questions being asked today, but my mind — steeped in history — turns back to the Crimean War of 1853-56. It was during this conflict that the French army used rifles firing the minié ball which, when employed on the battlefields of the American Civil War, did so much to lengthen the casualty rolls and, ultimately, prolong the conflict. Rifled musketry increased the advantage to defenders, often allowing troops holding earthwork trenches to inflict casualties at a ratio of 3-to-1, 4-to-1 or even more. At Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1863, Burnside sent seven Union divisions to assault Longstreet’s line on Marye’s Height, resulting in more than 6,000 Union casualties compared to only 1,200 for the Confederate defenders. In Grant’s main assault on Lee’s position at Cold Harbor, Virginia, on June 3, 1864, the Union losses were as high as 7,000, while the Confederates suffered just 1,500 casualties.
Military history isn’t much studied anymore. Maybe I’m the only person whose mental processes automatically connect “Crimea” + “minié ball” and thence to Cold Harbor. Probably more people — not many, but more — will remember that it was during the Crimean War that Florence Nightingale gained fame as the “ministering angel” of the battlefield.
War was once regarded as a romantic endeavor. It was not until the 20th century, after the horrors of two World Wars, that sane men cured themselves of the romantic view, but there are still madmen in the world. Unless they are deterred by credible military opposition, we shall likely see more “romantic” death from these madmen.
The Second Crimean War looms. Who will the Obama administration send out on the Sunday shows to blame this on a YouTube video?
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) March 1, 2014