BIXBY LETTER

Once America had a president who wrote the following:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Now look at us.

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67 Responses to “BIXBY LETTER”

  1. Benny Lava Says:

    Remember when Republicans were gloating about how America is an empire now? Guess we went straight ahead to decline and fall. Pretty fast too. Remember how good things seemed for America in 1999?

  2. carrstone Says:

    As a parent I can tell you – that letter didn't help then and whatever anybody does today to express their condolences, still doesn't help.

    Like most such gestures, it's more form than substance.

    Stop trying to score cheap pc points.

  3. Timurid Says:

    I'm sorry to hear that you lost son in Chechnya, Carrstone Gallstonovitch.

  4. Sinned34 Says:

    And since the letter doesn't actually help, you might as well mock their sacrifice. Hey, those five brothers should have known what they were getting into. I'm sorry, "Benghazi"? Never heard of it.

  5. Matt Says:

    Honest Abe probably had one of his interns write that shit. Didn’t even list their names. What scum

  6. Benny Lava Says:

    Hey guys don't let a troll derail us! Don't feed the trolls.

  7. disgusted Says:

    Only a heartless bastard would prey on a mother who lost their child. the liar-in-chief is so lacking in any moral conscience that he can't understand the grief felt by a family who have lost the most important person in their life.

    while words are only words at least someone is trying to let that family know that they are aware that this is a tragedy. This country is losing all semblance of compassion and moral fiber under this disgusting human being. The sooner he goes the better.

  8. SeaTea Says:

    It's not about whether or not condolences help the grieving. It's about having the basic human decency to express sincerely-felt gratitude for the sacrifice they made.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Funny thing is… it later turned out that only two sons were killed. Yes bad enough.. but two were deserters and one was honorably discharged ..

  10. E* Says:

    I suppose different people would have different ways of processing grief, and on different timelines. There are no blanket shoulds when it comes to sincerely expressed condolences and how helpful they are. But I suspect that there are some universal should-nots in this arena, and now we've all now seen what that looks like.

  11. Skwerlhugger Says:

    A curious point about *why* Trump said that as an impulsive remark– I'd say it was not just being a big-mouthed jerk. He doesn't want to acknowledge any responsibility for a soldier's death, as commander in chief. It was the soldier's fault– he knew what he was getting into.

  12. democommie Says:

    Since I attempt to avoid almost all "news" programming–and I do avoid all "analysis" or "punditry" as the analyses are generally nothing but bias confirmation and they punditry is the opposite of its original meaning of "wise"–I may have missed a Trumpligugaffe, I'll go look it up in a bit.

    In the meantime; it is nearly incomprehensible to me that the lessons taught to tacticians and strategists during the War of Southern Treachery–such items as not massing troops and marching them across cleared fields into the fire of canister, grape and chain shot being fired at nearly point blank range–are still NOT all that well applied in a lot of conflicts.

    OTOH, despite Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II–in the last 45 years–the electorate still hasn't learned that voting for people that will fuck them mercilessly is not a recipe for good times.

  13. Jeff Blanks Says:

    I recall that "They knew what they were getting into" was a frequent refrain among the keyboard warriors during the Iraq war. Much better than even odds Trump picked it up from them.

  14. Karl Kolchak Says:

    "Now look at us"–yep, fetishistic worship of "the troops" has effectively derailed the antiwar movement. But wait, that one that can be blamed on Bush and or Obama as well as Trump, so we can't mention it.

  15. Brian M Says:

    "fetishistic worship of the troops" is a big political mistake, I agree. This post, however, was commenting on basic human expressions of regret and sorrow. Something a senile misanthropic doofus like Trump is incapable of.

    "I'm sorry to hear that you lost son in Chechnya, Carrstone Gallstonovitch."

    LOL. carrstone as a slumming Russian hacker.

  16. mojrim Says:

    Perhaps the president, any president, could be this eloquent if those deaths really had any value. Someone (with a stomach for research) should determine how many condolence letters Victoria Regina wrote during Crimea or the Zulu War.

  17. democommie Says:

    "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

    George S. Patton

  18. Major Kong Says:

    @carrstone

    If someone named Clinton or Obama had done that Fox and right-wing radio would be 24/7 about how this proves Democrats hate the military and you know it.

  19. Noskilz Says:

    I think one of the most damning aspects of this kind of thing with Trump is there ought to be a variety of staffers and resources available to him to hit the basics if he cares to, and he is simply unable or unwilling to even go through the motions.

    Even that bare minimum of observing the conventional forms is beyond him – and anyone who isn't concerned by that is a fool.

  20. Jestbill Says:

    Carrstone is just the local sock puppet–he comes out to give us "another viewpoint."

    Troll? The only troll here is Trump.
    The truth of the matter is that "Conservatives" use custom as a club. You're never to disrespect the flag, you must genuflect to the troops and to the Christian talking points. You must be "nice," never bring up embarrassing points about any authority figure.

    So as soon as one has a bastard or goes to jail, he becomes FAIR GAME for everyone. Preacher molests a kid? Nobody cares what happens to him, but shouting it from the village square SERVES HIM RIGHT.

    Don't like it? Don't preach and then make a public ass of yourself. Trump is a Republican and President; he is bound by custom (remember?) to say certain things in a certain way. He is a moron who cannot even learn a simple script.

  21. democommie Says:

    "As a parent I can tell you – "

    And, right there, I thought: "Those poor kids.".

  22. carrstone Says:

    @noskilz

    Someone in favor of 'observing the conventional forms'? On Gin and Tacos?

    Couldn't believe my eyes.

  23. carrstone Says:

    @democommie

    How telling that you should forget LBJ's role in escalating things in Vietnam, Bill Clinton's aggression in Bosnia and Obama's record breaking achievement in being leaving office having been at war longer than any president in US history and for being the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

    And how fortunate we are that Hilary failed in her POTUS bid, given her stances on Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Libya.

  24. Major Kong Says:

    Yeah, we sure dodged the bullet that warmongering Hillary didn't get elected!

    (Goes back to digging backyard fallout shelter for when Trump kicks off WWIII with North Korea/Iran/Other)

  25. Major Kong Says:

    You get two choices with Trump:

    1. He's a dangerous lunatic who is threatening to start a war with a nuclear power.

    2. He's nothing but bluster and empty threats and shouldn't be taken seriously.

    Neither one is good. Macho chest thumping belongs in professional wrestling, not matters of war and diplomacy.

  26. democommie Says:

    @ Cannedstun:

    But, but, who will think of YOUR children.

    Are you dodging that dig? Is YOUR parenting or YOUR family off limits? Or did you just pull that out of your ass to score some cheap PC points? I'm just curious.

    I think that perhaps LBJ acting on advice from those two professional warmongers the Dulles brothers and Bill Casey's CIA (although Casey wasn't the Director till quite a while later) was duped, as was Kennedy, into thinking that Vietnam:

    A.) Had a whole lot to do with U.S. security

    and

    B.) Was winnable.

    And of course, DICK Nixon did promise to end the war (a lie he had no intention of making good on) among other strategies he employed to win the presidency in 1968 (never mind the illegalities he/his apparatchiks used in 1972). There was also the illegal bombing and invasion of Cambodia.

    Both of the wars that Obama was involved with STARTED in the period 2001–2003. Suck it, moron.

  27. democommie Says:

    Ah, now I see what the thread's proximate cause was.

    Trumpligulamygdala said something stupid and insensitive to a veteran's widow.

    I'm sure that the spin will be that he was, in the heat of the moment, just not thinking. As if he thinks about anything except his tiny hands and the enormous crowds at his riesige spontane Basisrallyes*.

    * "Huge spontaneous "base" rallies"–it's hard to get that to translate well. Apparently the english/german trasnslators have not quite caught up with Trumpliguspew, as yet.

  28. Isaac Segal Says:

    "A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to 'monkey wrench' the initiative." (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/nixons-vietnam-treachery.html?_r=0)

    The result of Nixon's "monkey wrench"?

    An additional 22,000 American combat deaths. And many, many more Vietnamese.

  29. Jestbill Says:

    Excellent!!

    Wanna derail a conversation about a political figure? Bring up VIETNAM!
    Then, add in some nonsense about other conflicts to bring in different age groups.

    Well done.

  30. mothra Says:

    Democommie:

    Trump denied ever having said what he was reported to have said.

    Carrstone:
    While I am not a parent, I do know very well that heartfelt expressions of sympathy do soothe, however temporarily, the heart of a grieving parent. How do I know this? My sister lost her son and husband in an auto accident. Insensitive, horrible comments, however, sting for quite some time.

  31. Benny Lava Says:

    Only a troll would try to defend Trump on this one. Remember that kids.

  32. Major Kong Says:

    Life cycle of a Trump statement:

    1. He never said that!
    2. OK, he said it but that's not what he meant!
    3. OK, he said it but the guy had it coming!
    4. Tonight on Fox. Allen West on why Democrats hate the military.

  33. Brian M Says:

    Both of the wars that Obama was involved with STARTED in the period 2001–2003. Suck it, moron.

    Nah. I'm not going to make this a D vs. R thing. Obama owns Libya, and more horribly, the Yemen human rights disaster.

    Not that any R would have done things differently We have ONE Party of War. It is too bad that one branch of the monster is now headed by a juvenile lunatic.

  34. carrstone Says:

    @Brian M
    The skill of warfare is not the initiating but ending of it.

    I didn’t start a discussion of Democrat policy versus Republican policy, you did that. All I did was correct democommie’s mendacious error of omission.

  35. Mark Says:

    Except for the fact that Lincoln did not actually write the letter himself, and the entire five son's dead story was false as well, it is a good story.

  36. Major Kong Says:

    Oh jeez, Carrstone's gonna lecture us all on warfare now.

    The skill of warfare is not starting the damn things in the first place.

  37. seth steinzor Says:

    I think it is unfair to criticize Trump for attempting to console a fallen soldier's widow by telling her, "he knew what he signed up for," or words to that effect. Trump is a psychopath. He no more can comprehend another person's feelings, or express genuine empathy with them, than a shark can play the flute. It is not within his ken. To him, shit happens, and if you knowingly walk into a situation where shit happens and indeed shit happens to you, well, you had it coming. That makes you weak and a loser, like John McCain, who got caught. Unless, of course, you are Trump, in which case whatever shit happens is somebody else's fault. To ask him to comprehend another's grieving or to express heartfelt sympathy for anything whatever is to make a demand he is not equipped to meet. If I am right, his occasional clumsy simulations of compassion represent somewhat grudging moments of forced obedience to social norms he neither shares nor understands (this is a guy who boasted on a national radio show of refusing assistance to someone he thought was dying), and mask a deep contempt for people (all of us) who have not mastered the arts of survival and personal aggrandizement as he thinks he has. It is sad that people persist in the delusion that he is a more or less normal but flawed person who cares about at least some of them. White men, coal miners, unemployed factory hands, etc. He cares about them only in that they feed his ego and otherwise can be used by him. There is a theory that psychopaths are not fully human, that they are something like a predatory subspecies for which we are prey. If so, then how ironic it is that our first black president, eminently human, should have been succeeded by our first nonhuman president, who campaigned on the promise of walling out aliens! I revile Donald Trump, and wish him a short, unhappy, and unsuccessful time in office. I do not make the mistake of expecting him to be able to counterfeit humanity convincingly. Calling him "insensitive" is like calling a brick hard. Of course it is.

  38. democommie Says:

    "Trump denied ever having said what he was reported to have said."

    Yeah. And?

    @ Clownnstill:

    You are the product of a mendacious error of omission.

    So, what's the deal, r u a daddy and just don't want you kidaloozers dragged into the arena after you put up the billboard announcing that you had "special in

  39. democommie Says:

    This is what happens when you type in the dark of a shithole dive bar.

    "So, what's the deal, r u a daddy and just don't want your kidaloozers dragged into the arena after you put up the billboard announcing that you had "special insight into how the parents of vetereans should feel"? I mean, hey, I'm just ASKING questions, here!

  40. carrstone Says:

    @ democommie

    Project much?

  41. carrstone Says:

    @ major kong
    The initiators of war are not the enders of it.

    But, once again, I was correcting a grievous omission by democommie whose progressive sympathies blind him from seeing the whole picture.

  42. democommie Says:

    So, Carrstone is lying about having children (which would certainly not be a surprise) or he's "sensitive"–that's precious.

    As for me projecting, I have no fucking idea which item you think I'm projecting on but, fwiw, your mentioning Obama's not being able to end a war that was started by, completely mismanaged by and conveniently forgotten by YOUR FUCKING HEROES is a tell, moron.

  43. Major Kong Says:

    Get back to me when you've actually been in a war Carrstone.

  44. carrstone Says:

    @ Major Kong

    You guys! You constantly and most ineptly keep trying to move the goal posts, it's an indicator about he paucity of your arguments. For the last time, I was pointing out an obvious omission.

    As it happens, I have been to war, both in Europe and in Africa. So don't come all superior to me though it's of no relevance in this thread; you don't have to have given birth to children to be a gynecologist.

  45. democommie Says:

    Cannedstench:

    Buddy, it never ceases to amaze just how fucking busy you've been and YET you still have time to come here and talk down to lesser beings.

    Maybe you should get a dog and see if treating it like shit gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

    Say, "Hi!" to the kids or are they at war, too.

  46. Gregory Says:

    Major Kong,

    Everybody on the internet is a decorated combat veteran, well educated and traveled, financially successful, and good looking. Just ask Carbuncle.
    /sarcasm

  47. carrstone Says:

    @gregory

    Well-hung, you forgot well-hung.

  48. democommie Says:

    @ Gregory:

    I can't even be all of those things on the internet. It just doesn't seem fair!

  49. democommie Says:

    In the instant case, "Well hung" would be a vast improvement–although drawing and quartering would be fine, too.

  50. carrstone Says:

    @ democommie

    It must be toothgrindingly discouraging; try as you might your insults just don’t have that zing, do they?

  51. Bill Says:

    I cannot understand how it is that Obama is criticized for having been so long at war in wars he did not begin, and then is also criticized for withdrawing troops from and trying to end those very wars.

    It's like he can't do anything right. For some reason.

  52. democommie Says:

    "It must be toothgrindingly discouraging; try as you might your insults just don’t have that zing, do they?"

    What would be zingier? I mean everyone knows that you're a lying sack of shit (except, apparently, you) and I'm just not sure that most of us give a fuck what you do or say, just so long as you do less of it, or do it elsewhere.

    What about them kids, how they doin'?

  53. carrstone Says:

    @demicommie

    QED

  54. democommie Says:

    Cattshitt:

    I think it's fair to say that nobody whose comments I've ever read, in reply to anything you've typed, finds your observations to be cogent, germane, erudite, civil or clever.

    You're an asshole; you appear always to have been an asshole and it seems you always will be.

    You're a poseur, an empty suit, a lying sack of shit and someone whose life is so empty that they have to brag about their superiority (never demonstrated) instead of just enjoying their self-reported wealth and social position.

    You're going to continue, I'm quite sure, to be a pain in the ass who whines about others not doing anything to solve problems while offering exactly jack shit of your own. If you actually had children they'd have to be pitied.

    Fuck off, you KKKlown.

  55. carrstone Says:

    @ democommie

    Thank you for your kind of words, there’s no denying that your attempts at maximizing banality in the arena of the cutting thrust are deserving of a prize. Your achievements are, as usual, totally underwhelming and totally deserving, at the least, of a wooden spoon.

    I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or proffered solutions.

    Why should I? It’s much more fun this way.

  56. democommie Says:

    "I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or proffered solutions."

    So you admit to being nothing but a fucking troll.

    A little unintentional birthday gift to me @ 9:55 AM on 10/25/17.

    Thanks, for being clear. And just so I'm clear. I intend to put that bit in quotations, and only that, as a reply to any comment you make on any thread.

    Now, fuck off, troll.

  57. jcdenton Says:

    @democommie

    I have no idea why you continue to try to argue with a random fascist troll. The only thing carrstone deserves is a broken jaw and a middling place in the lineup for the guillotine.

  58. democommie Says:

    @ jcdenton:

    You are correct but until the comment above he had never, afaia, been honest about his intentions.

    So, each of us deals with assholes like him in our own way.

  59. carrstone Says:

    @jcdenton

    And there we have it – aver a different pov and regressive progressivism can be trusted to break your jaw or your head with a bike lock.

    Could be you have to resort to such tactics because you have no cogent argument to make. What else can one expect from a source that equates a defense of individual rights with fascism?

  60. carrstone Says:

    @democommie

    It all depends on what you mean by 'troll'.

    I am indeed, as far as G&T is concerned, an outsider who is attempting to raise the tone and import of the opinions expressed therein.

    In this mission, I regularly fail, not because my comments are off the mark but because the participants in this column resort not to cogent argument, but, like you, to insults.

    But, nothing daunted, I'll be here, whether you want me or not.

  61. democommie Says:

    ""I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or proffered solutions." Carrstone 10/25/17

  62. jcdenton Says:

    For anyone who doesn't get it yet, carrstone is just utilizing the calmhitler.jpg meme.

    https://i.warosu.org/data/lit/img/0035/65/1363382869342.jpg

    The basic gimmick is proffering horrendous, shitty fascist views and then accusing the other side of immaturity when they get angry, trotting out the "no argument" line (while dodging/deflecting any actual refutations) or feigning injury when someone suggests that perhaps these views don't in fact deserve a fair hearing.

    This is all part and parcel of the alt-right playbook. You will never convince anyone using this gambit. At best, you can try to ridicule them, but ultimately they belong in the trash bin of history.

  63. carrstone Says:

    @jcdenton

    A well-educated bloviator like yourself will have heard of Godwin's Law, I trust.

    It's quite immoral, albeit faintly amusing in the sort of way that some might call condescending, to accuse me of employing the tactics that you are using yourself without proffering any evidence of my alleged transgressions.

    You may not be able to hear my admonitory tsk tsk but that's largely because your ears are filled with noisome and demeaning regressive dross.

  64. carrstone Says:

    @democommie

    Thank you for spreading my message, praise where praise is due.

  65. jcdenton Says:

    Godwin has helpfully suspended that law when referring to actual Nazis (and fellow travellers).

    https://twitter.com/sfmnemonic/status/896884949634232320

  66. carrstone Says:

    @jcdenton

    So you have Godwin's 'permission' to refer to me as a Nazi? Bully for you; as a regressed progressive, you do rather rely on other people's opinions for yours, don't you?

    You may be in need of guidance in everything you do, however, I'm here to tell you that Godwin did not say that bringing Hitler into a discussion is not still a sure sign of the vacuousness of the user's argument.

  67. democommie Says:

    @ Crappstained:

    "I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or proffered solutions." Carrstone 10/25/17"