reply to post by Justin Oldham
Mr J/O has submitted a timely issue in a cogent and insightful way which was typical of him when he previously posted here regularly. Glad to see you
back, Mr J/O.
Militias. 2010 militias look to me mostly like NRA inspired Second Amendment nut-cases. And now backed by a disgusting Republican Supreme Court. Yes,
I said “Republican” and if you ever doubted its partisan role in domestic politics surely that was put to rest in 2000 when it - the SCOTUS - gave
us our first designated president in Geo W Bush, the nemesis of rationality.
When the discombobulated Second Amendment comes up - you cannot separate out the NRA, the 2nd Amend and the militias - I like to refer to the PRIOR
version for clarification: “ . . but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered,
and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms,
ammunition and camp equipage.” Articles of Confederation, 1775, Article 6, Clause 4. avalon.law.yale.edu...
Mr J/O has raised several issues but I shall address only 2 here (and now). First, on the history of the usage of militias by foreign governments
especially in Europe before the adoption of our present Constitution in 1789. It is my contention that it was Napoleon in the early 1800s who first
amassed huge armies made up of civilians conscripted into short terms of military service.
A large part of the early successes of Napoleon as a field general was due to the size of his army compared to that of his opponents. Most other
armies were made up of a comparative few well trained and experienced professional soldiers. Prior to Napoleon, European wars were largely waged by
field maneuvers much as in the game of chess, with the “victory” going to the army that gained the preeminent field position vis a vis the other
army. Battles were sometimes fought without a shot fired. The lives of professional soldiers were never put at risk if the winner had the high ground
and his rear was well covered. Why kill anyone when the outcome was predictable?
Napoleon OTOH, ignored those traditional tactics and instead charged point blank into the face of the opposing army, accepting horrific casualties.
But Napoleon only had to call back to Paris for more conscripts in order to be fully manned for the next battle, a luxury no other European power had
or had even contemplated. This worked well for him until 1812 when the Russian winter defeated him at the gates of Moscow.
My second point to make is 100% for clarification. Mr J/O refers to the current spate of “militias” and he thereby unintentionally gives them some
credence albeit innocently. I argue the militias of 2010 are in no way legally or historically descended from the militias mentioned in the 1787
Constitution of the United States. 1787 was the Age of Muskets. It was true then that a typical backwoodsman was as well armed as most professional
soldiers of the day.
Because travel then was so slow - the speed of a walking horse - it was unusual for a company of men - say 80 men - to travel more than 30 miles in a
day. It was impractical for any colonial government to keep regular soldiers posted around the countryside. Militias were the only way the expanding
population could defend itself from raids by disgruntled native Americans. For that purpose local militias proved adequate.
But when fighting for our independence against the Red Coats in the Revolutionary War - 1775 -1783 - Gen. Washington frequently found the local
militias next to useless. Nevertheless he did call upon those forces to make his small professional Continental Army look bigger and badder than it
Washington usually added an equal number of local militias to his force as he moved around the countryside. When forced to evacuate New York City in
November, l776, he left behind half his force - the New York militias. As he arrived in New Jersey, the local New Jersey militias joined his forces.
It is fairly accurate to say that Gen. Washington’s army was typically made up of 3,000 regulars and 3,000 militia furnished by the state in which
he was located. Such irregular soldiers are nearly impossible to quickly and effectively incorporate into a regular army. This is not meant to
disparage the courage or patriotism of any of the militia men. It is just a truism that weekend warriors are not soldiers no matter what name you give
Point made. I do not want to confer any sense of legitimacy on those who are calling themselves "militias" in 2010. They have usurped a venerable
name from an era where citizen soldiers were the mainstay of American expansionism. But that was over by 1861. It was true that both North and South
fought in divisions raised in states and were so designated. But they were not activated militiamen. Aside: recruiting by states was continued by the
US Army until World War 1. The first “mixed” division was the 42nd Rainbow division (in which Col. Douglas MacArthur also served).
Today’s militiamen are in no way descendants of the honorable units mentioned in the US Constitution. Today’s militiamen are mostly misfits and
[edit on 4/3/2010 by donwhite]