Napoleon Met His Waterloo At The Battle of Stalingrad

By Susan Kuebler

No, despite what you might be thinking, Donald Trump did not make this statement.  But if you thought he did, then it certainly says wonders about how many Americans regard Trump’s knowledge of history and politics.

In fact, someone actually did say this to me years ago.  I was a college student with a passion for European history.  I don’t know if the man who told me this was trying to impress me or was just plain ignorant.  I recall being speechless, because in a somewhat bizarre fashion, this almost made sense.  The turning point in Napoleon’s career could be considered his defeat in Moscow at the hands of the Russians.

Trump’s remarks today in a radio interview have been widely repeated across social media.  I guess since he recently paid a visit to The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home in Tennessee, that not only makes him an expert on Jackson, but also on the history of the entire South.

I’m not going to re-hash all the things he got completely and totally wrong in this interview.  His appalling ignorance on just about everything has been evident for years.  But he did make one comment that I, as a fourth or possibly fifth generation Southerner, do take exception to and it was this:

“People don’t ask that question.  But why was there the Civil War? Why could that one have not been worked out.”

Did Donald Trump just now find out that there had been a Civil War in the United States?  That from the years 1861 to 1864 our country was engaged in the deadliest war of our history in terms of the percentage of casualties incurred.  That politicians like Henry Clay worked for YEARS to achieve a compromise that would keep the Union intact.

“People don’t ask that question.  But why was there a Civil War?”

Yes, you ignorant buffoon, people have been asking that question since the Confederates opened fire on Ft. Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 1861.  I would recommend you read the book “Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara.  My son read it when he was eight years old.  But it is obvious you don’t know how to read.

So why don’t you go to television, your favorite source of information, and watch Ken Burn’s excellent documentary “The Civil War.”  Send Sean Spicer out to rent you a copy.  It’s a little bit longer than an episode of Fox and Friends, so you might not make it all the way through with your short attention span.

“Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Do you think people didn’t TRY to work it out?  People on both sides of the divide felt passionately about their cause – whether it was the abolition of slavery, the claim of state’s rights, or just because they didn’t like Yankees.  The reasons may have been right or wrong, but the passion for their cause, Northern and Southern, was very much real.  This was not a dispute where you could sit down at a dinner at Mar A Lago and come to some sort of arrangement over a delicious piece of chocolate cake.

Let me point out one other thing to you, Mr. Trump.  Those Southern rednecks supporters of your, the ones driving around flying Confederate battle flags from the back of their pickup trucks, they sure as hell know why there was a Civil War.  And they just might take offense at someone asking why it just couldn’t have been worked out.

Mr. Trump, government and foreign affairs are not simply deals you can make across a table.  There are still people in the world who are willing to fight and die for a cause they believe in.  You need to at least be able to recognize that fact, although I seriously doubt there is any cause you truly believe in except the cause of enriching Donald Trump.  If you can’t grasp that concept, then you will never be able to understand what motivates groups like ISIS.  And if you can’t understand what motivates them, then you will never be able to defeat them.

Your total lack of self-awareness of your own ignorance is truly frightening.  But that could be forgiven if you made the least attempt to familiarize yourself with what is really going on in the world.   Instead, you play golf.

Knowing your affinity for reality TV programs, I challenge you to appear on the program “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”  Should you win, I will gladly donate $1,000 to The Girl Scouts of America.  And the world might sleep a little easier.


    1. Thank you. That was like my reaction when that man said it to me years ago. Unforgettable.

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