Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Civil War: White Christians Slaughtering One Another On A Scale ISIS Can Only Dream Of

Total Civil War Casualties, Killed, Dead, Died.jpg
The Civil War aside, all other U.S. wars combined -- from the Revolutionary War through Iraq and Afghanistan -- produced an American death toll of 579,393, 41,000 fewer than the number of white Christian Americans who killed one another in the Civil War when the national population was 31,443,321 including 3,953,761 slaves.

Alan: Recently, I watched Ken Burns' "Civil War."
Tonight I started the series again, joined by 17 year old son Danny, a budding historian.
It is generally agreed that 2% of the United States population died in the Civil War.
In recent years, that number has been revised upward.
My great, great uncle Bill Archibald, an Irish immigrant quartermaster from Rush, New York, died in this unimaginably brutal conflict.
By extrapolating a death rate of 2% onto the current population of the United States, the equivalent death toll would be six million four hundred thousand dead Americans.
A holocaust by any measure.
And perpetrated on ourselves.
My best friend Steve Gibson, son of a Georgia gentleman, held that the most salient fact about the Civil War was that it never ended.
The current collapse in civility and interrelated refusal by "the sons of the old South" to compromise is a recrudescence of that horrible war we once waged on ourselves.

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6,400,000 dead is the combined population of the following eight states.
North Dakota
South Dakota
Rhode Island
Every man, woman and child.
Killed by fellow citizens. All but a handful thoroughbred white people.
Here in America, good Christians have demonstrated their ability to kill one another with greater zeal than any foreign power.
Nor is this slaughter a distant memory.
My Dad knew the combatants.
I was born in 1947 and the last Civil War veteran died in 1959.
From the time I was five, I remember the front-page "countdown."
In 1837, twenty three years before the Civil War began, Lincoln said: “From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
Wide swathes of good Christian America still believe The Threat is "over there, far away."
It is not.
The most menacing threat is here.
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As abominable as ISIS is, it does not compare with the slaughter that white American Christians perpetrated on their fellows.
Because one group of Christians -- Southern bible-bangers who considered themselves very intelligent, very cultured and very righteous -- thought it was a good idea to enslave four million black people.
Sheer genius!
Do the descendants of these "good Christians" ever reproach their ancestors for creating the mixed race society which, in one way or another, undergirds every one of their grievances? 
Many descendants -- perhaps most -- are still proud of their slave-holding past and remain disproportionately animated by racial animus.

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At minimum these clever Christians might beat their breasts, simultaneously calling out to heaven, to their victims and to the rest of humanity: "We brought it upon ourselves! Our stupidity, ignorance, greed and sloth brought it upon ourselves! Whatever whirlwind we may yet reap, it is all attributable to us, to our dimwittedness, our faux Christianity and our participation in deadly sin.

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I say none of these things to exculpate the SOB MFs who make up ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas but to call a pox on all their houses.

And my own.

Mostly my own.

For to the extent that we think our peril comes from "over there, far away," we ignore that the biggest threat is our own murderousness, often prelude to suicide.

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Twelve Civil War Facts

The Civil War was the bloodiest war in our country’s history. It is often called “the first modern war” because of efficient and deadly weapons that became available for the first time. Just how terrible was this war that pitted brother against brother? Consider these 12 jaw-dropping facts:
1. More soldiers died in the Civil War than any other American conflict — and two-thirds of them were killed by disease.
About 625,000 men died in the Civil War. That’s more Americans than died in both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam combined. This amounted to 2 percent of the population at the time, which would be the equivalent to about 6 million Americans dying today. Battles weren’t as deadly as disease, however. Diarrhea, typhoid fever, lung inflammation, dysentery, and childhood diseases like chicken pox were the cause of 67 percent of the deaths. And if those numbers aren’t bad enough, new estimates suggest that the death total may be higher.
2. Gettysburg wasn’t the only unusually bloody battle.
More Americans were killed in two days at the Battle of Shiloh than in all previous American wars combined. The Battle of Antietam was only one day long but left 12,401 Union soldiers killed, missing, or wounded — which is higher than typical estimates of Allied casualties on D-Day. With 23,000 casualties overall, it was the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. At Cold Harbor, Virginia, 7,000 men fell in just 20 minutes.
3. Nearly 56,000 soldiers died in prison camps from starvation and disease — a quarter of those deaths happened at one camp.
No American prisoner of war camp had ever held more than 100 men at a time prior to 1861. During the Civil War, each camp held thousands. Although they weren’t intentionally killing prisoners, ignorance of proper sanitation, overcrowding, and a lack of resources led to an outrageous number of soldier deaths. Camp Sumter in Georgia was the largest of the 150 military prisons and also the deadliest. Nearly 40,000 soldiers were imprisoned there, and 13,000, or about one-third, of them died.
4. An estimated 40 percent of Civil War dead were never identified.
With advances in weaponry and the sheer number of men killed, many bodies were damaged beyond recognition or left to rot in piles at the battlefield.
5. Amputation was the treatment of choice for broken or severely wounded limbs.
There were so many wounded men that doctors found it impossible to do time-consuming procedures like removing part of a broken bone or some damaged flesh. More than half of leg amputations at the thigh or knee ended up being fatal. That number shot up to 83 percent if the amputation was done at the hip joint.
6. Surgery wasn’t sterile.
Doctors of the day didn’t understand sterilization and believed infection was caused by contaminated air, so cleaning surgical tools often meant wiping them on a dirty apron. There weren’t any antibiotics either. So if a doctor didn’t cut off a soldier’s limb, there was a good chance he’d lose it to infection or gangrene anyway.
7. There was no anesthesia on the battlefield.
Anesthesia wasn’t available, so patients were given chloroform, ether, or, failing that, a glass of whiskey and a bullet to bite down on.
8. African-Americans made up less than 1 percent of the North’s population but were 10 percent of the Union Army.
Black men weren’t allowed to join the army until 1863. About 180,000 black men, more than 85 percent of eligible African-Americans in the Northern states, fought. While white soldiers earned $13 a month, black soldiers earned only $10 — and then were charged a $3 clothing fee that lowered their monthly pay to $7. The highest paid black soldier made less than the lowest paid white one. After protesting by refusing to accept their wages and gaining support from abolitionist Congressmen, black soldiers finally received equal pay in 1864 — paid retroactively to their enlistment date.
9. About 20 percent of soldiers were under 18.
The Confederacy had no minimum enlistment age. Even though the Union Army technically required soldiers to be 18, many officers looked the other way when it came to underage soldiers. Some younger soldiers signed up as drummers or buglers. Musicians weren’t supposed to fight, but when the battles began, they often dropped their instruments and grabbed a weapon.
10. Women secretly fought in the war.
Both sides prohibited women from enlisting. However, that didn’t stop them from joining in disguise. Since they were incognito, exact numbers aren’t known. But some estimates say 400 women served in the war by pretending to be men. Many certainly did it out of a sense of loyalty to their cause, but historians say some women were just in it to make ends meet during desperate times.
11. The estimated cost of the war was $6.19 billion ($146 billion in today’s dollars).
While the cost in human lives was the most tragic, the Civil War also had a high financial toll. Before the war, the U.S. government spent roughly $1 million a week. By the end of the war, the federal government was spending $3.5 million a day. The South was the primary battlefield of the war and suffered greatly with $10 billion in property damage and two-fifths of its livestock destroyed.
12. As of 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still paying a Civil War pension.
The last surviving child of a Union Veteran still receives a small, monthly pension payment 149 years after the Civil War ended.

Civil War Deadlier Than Previously Thought?

Often referred to as the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, the Civil War claimed more American lives than any other military action in which the country has taken part. Now, a professor at Binghamton University in New York has used 19th-century census data to show that the most commonly cited death toll—620,000—may significantly underestimate the true human cost, and that the real number of Civil War dead could be upwards of 20 percent higher.
Civil War Cemetery
Headstones at Antietam National Cemetery mark the graves of soldiers killed during the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland. (Credit: Corbis)
“The traditional estimate has become iconic,” historian J. David Hacker said. “It’s been quoted for the last hundred years or more. If you go with that total for a minute—620,000—the number of men dying in the Civil War is more than in all other American wars from the American Revolution through the Korean War combined. And consider that the American population in 1860 was about 31 million people, about one-tenth the size it is today. If the war were fought today, the number of deaths would total 6.2 million.”
How exactly did the number 620,000 enter the history books? According to Hacker’s paper, which will be published in the December 2011 issue of “Civil War History,” an estimate for the Union Army’s death toll—279,689—was deduced shortly after the conflict ended from battlefield reports and muster-out rolls, in which each regiment recorded, often imprecisely, the names and fates of its members. That figure was increased to 360,222 in the early 20th century to reflect applications by widows and orphans for pensions and survivors’ benefits, which could be claimed whether a soldier had been killed in battle, succumbed to his injuries later on or died of disease. (Historians believe that two-thirds of fatalities among soldiers serving in the Civil War were due to illness.)
The tally of Confederate Army deaths produced in the late 19th century—258,000—was based on even shakier methodology, as the two Union officers who spent decades attempting to calculate it openly acknowledged. The official and unofficial reports they used did not account for men who died of their wounds off the battlefield, and pension and benefit requests were not taken into consideration. Moreover, while the number was adjusted to include probable deaths from disease and accidents, the estimators assumed that Confederate troops had suffered from illness at the same rate as their Union counterparts. Subsequent research, however, has shown that Southerners, who largely hailed from rural areas with low population densities, were less likely to have been exposed to infections prior to the war and were therefore at greater risk of contracting them; they also had a less adequate supply of clothing, food and medicine.
One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, most historians recognize that many deaths were never reported for a variety of reasons, including efforts by some commanders to understate casualties, the participation of non-enlisted guerilla fighters and the prevalence of chronic diseases that claimed lives long after hostilities ended. To achieve a more accurate number, Hacker studied newly available microdata samples from the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. Looking at the native-born white population between the ages of 10 and 44, he calculated the ratio of male survival relative to female survival for the 1850-1860 and 1870-1880 decades. He then compared the average of this ratio to the 1860-1870 decade, during which the Civil War took place. The difference allowed him to estimate the excess proportion of males who failed to survive the 1860s compared to the preceding and subsequent decades.
Hacker then factored in comparable death rates for foreign-born white troops and existing estimates of mortality among black soldiers. Rounding to the nearest 50,000, he arrived at a probable range of 650,000 to 850,000 deaths, which averages out to 750,000. This number is 20 percent higher than the commonly cited count of 620,000. If Hacker is correct, one out of 10 white men who were of military age in 1860 died as a result of the Civil War—not one out of 13, as the traditional figure implies.
Although this census-based method does not distinguish between Union and Confederate deaths, Hacker was able to discern patterns for various regions of birth. For instance, he concluded that mortality was significantly higher for white males between the ages of 10 and 44 born in the South (13.1 percent) and in the slave-holding border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware (12.7 percent) than for those born in the free states and territories (6.1 percent). At a more granular level, 22.6 percent of Southern men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1860 lost their lives because of the war, according to Hacker’s findings.
Hacker believes that his analysis will help illuminate how the Civil War ravaged the American population even after the bloodshed ended, taking a massive human and economic toll on the nation. “An accurate tally—or at least a reasonable estimate—is important in order to gauge the huge impact of the war on American society,” he said. “Even if the number of war dead was ‘only’ 620,000, that still created a huge impact, especially in the South, and a figure of 750,000 makes that impact—and the demographic shadow it threw on the next two generations of Americans—just that much greater.”

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