Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Interesting people in history

There are a lot of interesting people throughout history that merit my respect even though they were not on our side.

On the list of people I think I would like to sit down with and have a drink or cup of coffee with are a few military people that were our enemies. Many of these are enemies and former enemies.

One of the things about many of our enemies is that while they are or were enemies there are some of them I truly respect. Any good professional military man has the utmost respect for his enemies. I remember an old sergeant telling a young private that commented that the Viet Cong were a ragtag outfit unworthy of respect.

"Little guy? This tall? Black pajamas and an AK-47? You're damned right I respect him and if you don't respect your enemies you will come home in a box!" snapped the old Platoon Sergeant.

It should be noted that there was a picture of Irwin Rommel in one of our combat vehicles. An Iraqi corps commander, taken prisoner, was seated in the vehicle. He asked why there was a picture of one of our former enemies in the vehicle.

"If you had paid attention to what that man did and how he did it you might not be sitting here," snapped a private.

Erwin Rommel comes to mind as do several others. Oddly I would not want to talk to Rommel about tactics, but logistics. The tactics used by the Desert Fox were pretty simple. The part that interests me are the logistics involved. He had a lot of men and materiel to move and I'd like to know how he did it.

Vladmir Putin is another one I'd like to do something with. Maybe go fishing or something. I respect him for doing his job and looking out for the interests of his country even though what he did seems to be unpopular with the rest of the world. I'd love to know how he thinks. He seems pretty shrewd to me.

Tadamichi Kuribayashi is pretty high up on the list. For those that don't recognize the name, he was the commanding officer of the Japanese forces on Iwo Jima. He seems to interest me for a number of reasons. He actually liked, or at least respected Americans. It is reported that several times he told his family that America was the last country that Japan should fight.

Kuribayashi did one hell of a job defending Iwo Jima. It is the only time in the history of the Marine Corps that they took more casualties than they received. You sure don't have to like that one bit but you certainly have to respect it.

I'll admit Kuribayashi is one guy that interests me. He was given a very distasteful job to do and did it in a first class manner. He went to Iwo Jima knowing he would not be coming home. 

The beverage of choice to share with Kuribayashi would be a large pitcher of clear, cool, water. He had little but rainwater on Iwo Jima as there were no springs there.

He was damned clever. He allowed the Marines to get ashore on the sandy, impassable beach unopposed and after they were mired and bunched up he shelled the beach. Holland Smith, the American commanding officer comented, "I don't know who he is, but the Japanese General running this show is one smart bastard."

Isoroku Yamamoto is another one I'd love to share a cup of tea with. I would like to know how he thought. He was another Japanese officer that had spent time in the States and didn't like the idea of Japan going to war with us. Still, when ordered to, he planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. It knocked this country for a loop, that's for certain. It was one very crippling blow to our Navy.

Yamamoto knew that he had to deal a knockout blow at Pearl Harbor and hoped against hope that the Japanese could negotiate a peace. He is another Japanese officer that felt going to war with the United States was not a good idea.

Both of these Japanese officers knew that their chances of victory were slim to none yet they did their duty. Of course, they were the enemy and I don't like what they did but I respect them as military officers.

I'd like to find out how Yamamoto managed to get his entire fleet so close to Pearl Harbor undetected.

Robert E. Lee is another one I would like to have a cup of boiled camp coffee with but for different reasons. He was a thoughtful man and I'd love to have been able to listen to him. Lee was a true southern gentleman. I suppose my Massachusetts relatives wonder about that one.

On the other end of the stick I'd like to have a drink with Ulysses Grant, the man that took Lee's surrender. I can't explain why. Beverage of choice here is Jim Beam.

There are a few president's I'd like to have met. One is Lincoln. I would have liked to have watched him inspecting the ranks of the troops and watched his interactions with them. He is reported to have been a kind man as well as a political animal with a keen wit.

Teddy Roosevelt is one guy I'd like to go rabbit hunting with for some reason. If not hunting, then something that would take us outside. He'd be interesting to listen to.

Harry Truman would be fun to play poker with and have a couple bourbons with. I don't even play poker. I've read a few books about Harry and he was a man of character unlike many of our recent occupants of the Oval Office. Truman was pretty fiesty and also understood the duality of the presidency and from time to time he'd park the presidency and become Harry Truman the man.

Paul Hume, a music critic, gave his daughter a somewhat mean spitited review. Truman sent him a letter and even though he had franking privlige he put a three-cent stamp on it he paid for himself. He never abused his position.

                        THE WHITE HOUSE
          Mr Hume:

          I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an "eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay."

          It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

          Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

          Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.


Ya gotta wanna have a drink with a guy like that. You can't slight him for defending his daughter, either.

Oddly enough, it I had my choice of what to do with Ronald Reagan when he was president I would like to sit down with him in a living room and watch a couple Three Stooges shorts. Reagan had a twinkle in his eye and a sense of humor. Betcha if nobody was looking he'd do a pretty good Curly imitation.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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