For those who haven't read his other works Turtledove is real historian who branched into writing science fiction and fantasy. While his professional area of history is the Byzantine Empire he has a passion for the events of the Civil War.
He's visited it so many times from so many angles I half expect him to appear in portraits alongside Lee or Grant, or both together.
It was in the latest book that I'm reading that I ran across a passage that has real meaning in today's world. I don't know if Turtledove was incorporating thoughts of past soldiers later entered on paper or if he was thinking of today when he wrote it.
"What can we do about it?" Anderson echoed. "Keep fighting the Yankees as hard as we can. Keep licking them. Keep making them sweat. Keep making them bleed. Abe Lincoln is up for reelection this fall. If we make the North decide the war is more expensive than it's worth, if we make it decide the war is more goddam trouble than it's worth, they'll throw Lincoln that son of a bitch out on his ear. Whichever Democrat they put in will make peace and send the bluebellies home. And we'll have our own country then. That's what we can do, by God."Though there are references and slang that are particular to the time and place, the thoughts are the same. This is the mind of the enemy we face today in Iraq.
"I understand, sir." Ward looked respectfully at the officer, who wasn't that much older than he was. "I really do understand. When I joined up, I did it so I could fight the damnyankees."
"Who doesn't?" Anderson said.
"Yes, sir. But that was all I thought about, you know what I mean? What you said, I didn't think about that even a little bit. How the war and politics fit together, I mean. And they do. They truly do."
"You'd best believe they do," Charles Anderson agreed. "Way things are no, we won't ever drive the United States off our land with guns. Maybe we could have once upon a time, but we lost too many chances. But if we can make those Yankee bastards sick of fighting us, they'll give up and go home. And we win that way, too. So that's what we've got to try and do."
They can not win any battle. Lee won more battles than any Iraqi ever got close to winning. In the book the two characters are both Confederates discussing the war after they finished winning one small battle of the Civil War, Fort Pillow.
The Iraqi insurgents can't win battles. Nor can the Iran or Saudi backed terrorists from outside win any battles. We win all the battles, yet our politicians keep talking about the "price" of this war.
The United States stood firm against defeat in a war that cost HUNDREDS of times the lives we have lost in Iraq. This at a time when our national population was only a tiny fraction of what it is today. On the battlefields armies nearly equaling the size of our total deployment in Iraq fought.
The cost to our nation then was staggering. Both in lives and money our nation hemorrhaged like no other time in all its history during the Civil War.
Why, suddenly, are we so hesitant to do unto those who attacked us on 9/11/01 what we did to those who shot at Fort Sumter? May I remind the ladies and gentlemen of the Left that when the South fired on Fort Sumter there was no loss of life. On 9/11/01 there were 3,000 dead, all civilians. People like you.
Get past your hatred of George W. Bush. Get past your clinging to "he lied" speeches. What we face now is far, far worse than letting the South break away from the Union. The Confederates weren't going to be coming to Chicago and forcing blacks into slavery who had never been slaves. Al Qaeda will.
But you can trust that if we do not halt the Islamic terrorists we will be having Muslims enslave those of us who are not. Literally.
Remember the fictional conversation between those two Confederates. That is how those we fight are thinking. If they can just hold on until a Democrat gets into the Presidency then they can finally win. They will have their own country.