Sunday, April 11, 2010

Through a howling wilderness

This is a brilliant but short book. I describes a part of American History not often discussed in any lengths in our textbooks.

Benedict Arnold whose name is synonymous with treason is a complex person. He certainly was a man of great courage and charisma. Oddly he is everywhere mostly producing dramatic victories at Ticonderoga, Saratoga and after the Battle of Oriskany in the relief of Ft Stanwix.

Arnold had a brilliant idea. The problems were many. The landscape and timing of his invasion were not to his advantage. The route was unknown and Arnold did not rely upon Indian guides who could have gotten him through in one piece. The scouts that he selected hated Indians. Logistically the route was a nightmare. Even with space age plastic boats and more efficient foodstuffs this route would vex travelers today even with maps.

Arnold's treason should be tempered by his real feats. I too would like to believe in the tale that on his death bed he sought forgiveness for his treason.

The real face of treason should be Rosenbergs, Bill Ayers and Gomer Kerry. Unlike Arnold they
were neither brave and contributed zero to America while aiding a hostile foreign ideology.

At a certain point we will be discussing the Oneida and more of the self serving clown Trotsky who life of stupidity and criminality has been turned into a cartoon by his clown like disciples.


The_Editrix said...

"Benedict Arnold whose name is synonymous with treason is a complex person."

Beak, Arnold has been unknown to me, so thanks of introducing me to him.

Of course, I have my scant knowledge from the Internet only, but from what I read I'm not so sure whether he was really a complex man. It seems (and I may be wrong) that he was one of those whose talents weren't matched by enough principles and character and that he was a resentful man whose ambitions hadn't been fulfilled. I don't see any "on the one hand and on the other hand" complexity here. I think, too, that you are comparing apples and oranges. To equal Arnold with the Rosenbergs et al. is a-historic. But IF we attempt a comparison, what makes his treason any more palatable than that of the others? The fact that he achieved some military success for the budding United States? England was as much an enemy of America as the Soviet Union was later and different from Arnold, the Rosenbergs (who, differently from Arnold, believed in a cause, however misdirected) paid with their lives for their treason. No doubt, comparable to Arnold, Julius Rosenberg did something positive FOR the United States, namely in the Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories where he had worked as an engineer-inspector. Different from Arnold, he showed amazing personal courage when he refused to name his contacts which would have saved his life.

To summarize: A comparison of Arnold to 20th century personae is a-historic and I fail to see any redeeming quality in Arnold's treason.

beakerkin said...


Most recognize that there might not be a United States without Arnold's bravery. He was screwed over for personal reasons and went off the deep end.

Julius Rosenberg betrayed his country for Stalin. He used his time in the Army to build up a spy ring.He deserved to die for his treason and showed zero remorse. His name and that of Bill Ayers should be synonymous with treason.

One can go to places in Maine that are still named after Arnold. Even
in Saratoga his deeds are hailed while his name is not on the monuments.

Arnold was a great patriot and a hero who went off the deep end. One must appreciate his heroism and deeds good and bad. On the whole and with the passage of time
and years he should be introduced as a whole person and not a craven coward.

The Pagan Temple said...

Gore Vidal's novel "Burr" presents a balanced view of Arnold.

The_Editrix said...

Well, Bubba Adolf loved his German Shepherd.

And there might not have been a United States because pf Arnold's treason as well. Besides, personal reasons are the most despicable ones.

"On the whole and with the passage of time and years he should be introduced as a whole person and not a craven coward."

I'd say he wasn't a coward but a traitor and the passage of time and years and all the many lovable traits he may have possessed don't change that one bit. By your logic, the passage of time and years would allow to see WWII-Germany in a more mellow light one day. Okay, they murdered almost the entire Jewish population of Europe, but no doubt, there had been all those marvellous Panzer aces who made such splendid combatants. I am pretty sure, by the way, that it WILL be seen like that in years to come, as well as Holocaust relativism will be one respected, serious school among history scholars.

You are following an extremely dangerous line of thoughts.

sonia said...

Benedict Arnold was a traitor, yes, but he didn't betray "United States". He was born on British soil (Connecticut was British soil in 1741) as a subject of the British king.

He BETRAYED his king by joining a revolution, along with other traitors.

He betrayed Britain.

But unlike others, he soon regretted his treason and went back to being a loyal subject of his king (along with hundreds of thousands of other loyalists, born in British colonies, who later, like Arnold, moved to Canada)...

beamish said...

Benedict Arnold financed the arming of colonial soldiers out of his own pocket, and when he sought compensation for ir from Congress he was burned.

I don't know that any of us would have done differently in Arnold's shoes.

beakerkin said...

Mr B, Sonia

You raised valid points

Winters said...

So, by reasoning I've just read here, George Washington was born on British soil and, therefore, a traitor. Fine!

Gore Vidal was never known to have taken a balanced view of anything in his life. William F. Buckley Jr. should have physically cleaned that stuffy elitist Leftist sucker's clock when he had the chance at the 1968 Democrat Convention. He did do it in the courts later.

The Pagan Temple said...

I get Sonia's point, but I don't agree with it. Washington and the other founders were not traitors, they were true to their visions and hopes for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, something the British refused to allow. The British government was an oppressive regime. Bottom line.

Washington and the founding fathers did not betray the British. The British oppressed them.

Mark said...

Here here, PT!