A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Military War Hero

He was a genuine American hero. In fact, if it had not been for his heroism and valor, the great victories of George Washington at Trenton and Princeton would not have been possible and the entire outcome of the War for American Independence might have had a different outcome. He had showed tremendous perseverance in the Canadian campaign against Quebec, but his great triumph had been the relief of Fort Ticonderoga, which made it possible for three or four thousand troops to be sent south to Washington for those great winter campaigns

But the greatest was yet to come. There was no question that his dramatic courage was the reason for the defeat of the the British general "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne at the battle of Saratoga. This great victory gave Benjamin Franklin the leverage he needed to persuade the French that the war might succeed and that they should be allied with the Americans [the French have always been difficult]. He had made many enemies by refusing to obey orders and by his arrogance and self-service. These enemies stood in the way of promotion and the fame he thought was rightfully his.

But these achievements are all forgotten, and they should be. Former heroism and service in the military is not a pass for treason, and Benedict Arnold is remembered in history for treason. He conspired with the British Major Andre to betray the Fort at West Point, which would have given the British control of the Mohawk River, leaving the American cause hopeless. The plot was discovered and Major Andre was captured and hanged on a tree made famous by Washington Irving in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Arnold only escaped hanging by fleeing to England, dying in disgrace in 1801, despised by the new American nation and her patriots.

Gee, I wonder what the modern application might be?
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