Son of the Morning Star...?
Remember what we did to Custer...
Bush's Last Stand
September 28, 2004
By Steven Vincent
President Bush likes to think of himself as a "war President," who is
"resolute," "steadfast," and "decisive." He also likes to compare
himself to historical figures. His favorite is Winston Churchill who
led Great Britain through the horrors of World War II.
I believe a comparison to a historical figure is appropriate but I
think he is much more like a famous American military leader -
General George Armstrong Custer.
Like George W. Bush, George A. Custer was born to a privileged
family. He used his family's political connections to get into West
Point, an institution of learning he was not otherwise qualified for.
While at West Point, George did not distinguish himself among his 34
His carefree attitude and joking demeanor did not sit well with the
rigid requirements of military school life. He was often punished
and, at one point, received enough demerits to be expelled. Someone
was watching out for young George though and his demerits were
mysteriously removed from the record, allowing him to continue.
Cadet George Custer graduated from West Point 34th out of 34, last of
his class. He was nearly court-martialed for neglect of duties while
still at West Point awaiting his commission but again, somehow,
skated by without punishment - a now recurring theme in George's life.
Despite his poor grades and inability to grasp basic military
requirements, George was given a plumb assignment in the military
during the Civil War. The units he commanded suffered unusually high
casualty rates even by the standards of the time due to George's
arrogance, brazen aggression and disregard for his men's safety.
In late 1867 Custer was court-martialed and suspended from duty for a
year for being absent from duty but he used his connections to, once
again, skirt punishment and regain his standing in the military.
General Phil Sheridan used his military power to excuse young
George's youthful mistake and brought him back into a position with
more power and authority.
George was a master of military politics and somehow worked his way
up to Brigadier General at the age of 25, the youngest man ever to
attain that rank. Gen. George was placed in command of a contingent
of men to seek out "renegade" Indians who were holding up
the "progress" of miners and other business venturers from gaining
profit off of the unexplored lands. The Natives were portrayed as
vicious savages intent on killing innocent American civilians though
the majority of them just wanted to live their lives in peace in
George's fate and historical fame were both wrapped up in an
expedition to destroy the Lakota, Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians
in Montana because of the wrongful association of all of the tribes
in that area with the attacks by one tribe and chief, Crazy Horse.
The U. S. government, in all of its wisdom, decided to round up,
imprison or destroy all of the Native people in that area and they
relied on their young, brash, arrogant commander to do it.
Riding with his men and two other brigades, the plan was to use
overwhelming force to destroy the less well-armed and organized
Indians. Young and boastful, George knew that this mission would
ensure his fame, fortune and political future for all time and led
his men into battle in spite of the intelligence he was getting from
Though he was warned in advance by scouts that the Indians had a much
larger force than was originally thought, he continued his march.
Though allied units commanded by far more experienced leaders fell
behind and were not with him, he pushed forward, resolute.
Though he split his forces into three separate units, weakening them,
he rode ahead, confidently. Though he went into battle with
underwhelming force, he did so convinced of his ability to bring
forth a glorious victory for his country and himself.
Convinced of his own superiority and leadership skills, George pushed
valiantly forward into one of the greatest military blunders in U.S.
history. The Indians, formerly opponents of each other, united
against the vicious attacks of the U.S. military and thousands of
former enemies combined their forces to attack George and his troops.
General George Armstrong Custer led all of his men, cocksure, to
slaughter. Not one soldier under his command survived his confident,
resolute, and blindingly wrong blunder.
The amazing thing is, there are still George defenders who claim he
was a great leader and military mind. In spite of evidence to the
contrary, he will always, in some minds, be considered a brave
patriot whose confidence, resoluteness, and conviction in his
decision-making outweigh the ultimate result of his foolish choices.
But while there are many historical similarities between the two
Georges, there is one glaring difference.
One George led his men into battle and faced the bullets and arrows
of the enemy, donned the uniform and fought for his country, led his
men from the front, and stood behind his choices personally and was
forced to accept their fatal outcome.
The other is our President.
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