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Becky Akers: Are Traitors The Best Patriots?

THE UNTOLD STORY OF BENEDICT ARNOLD … || By BECKY AKERS || Like most of the world, the Austrian parliament is furious over the National Security Agency’s “eavesdrop[ping] on people abroad”—so furious that all six of its political parties “signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance.” “While the motion is largely symbolic,…

THE UNTOLD STORY OF BENEDICT ARNOLD …

|| By BECKY AKERS || Like most of the world, the Austrian parliament is furious over the National Security Agency’s “eavesdrop[ping] on people abroad”—so furious that all six of its political parties “signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance.”

“While the motion is largely symbolic, legislators say they hope it sends a message that Austria will not put up with it,” Sputnik News reported.

Austria’s army is tiny, with only 25,963 “military personnel” against the United States’ 1.4-million-man force.  Still, I found myself wishing those livid legislators would do something about their rage.  Imagine Austrian troops advancing on the NSA’s behemoth in Bluffdale, Utah!

Does that fantasy make me unpatriotic?

Germans faced a similar conundrum during World War II.  Were those who protested Adolf Hitler’s aggression or the Gestapo’s brutality unpatriotic?  What about those who sought help from Britain (then at war with Germany) to topple the Nazis’ government?

We languish under a regime that forces us to re-examine notions of “patriotism.”  Presuming that loyalty to one’s country is a virtue, to what or whom do we owe allegiance?  The politicians and bureaucrats who rule us?  Our form of government, which the Constitution established as a representative republic but Progressives have degraded into democracy?  Or to that quintessential American goal, political liberty?

Edward Snowden defined “patriotism” as “the idea that one rises to act on behalf of one’s country … that’s distinct from acting to benefit the government—a distinction that’s increasingly lost today.  You’re not patriotic just because you back whoever’s in power … or their policies.”

Precisely because he didn’t “back whoever’s in power … or their policies,” Snowden has earned some Americans’ disgust.  Though he warned them of the NSA’s depredations against them, they deride him as a Benedict Arnold.

And they’re right, though not for the reasons they think. Benedict Arnold also refused to “back whoever’s in power … or their policies.”  That makes the American Revolution’s most notorious traitor an exceptional hero, one whose story you never learned in high school.

When the war began, Arnold was a wealthy merchant in New Haven, Connecticut, and a captain in its militia.  As soon as he learned of the Revolution’s first skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, he marched his troops to Massachusetts.

Arnold seems to have been born with more martial skills than most folks ever learn, and those catapulted him up the Continental Army’s ranks.  During the next two-and-a-half years, Arnold won astounding victories with poorly trained, often outnumbered farmers and shopkeepers against the professional Redcoats of the British Army.  His last such triumph, at Saratoga, New York, ranks among the world’s most influential battles.  The United States would probably not exist but for the American success at Saratoga; Arnold’s leadership ensured that success.

Yet within eighteen months of this momentous victory, Arnold opened secret negotiations with the British.  Why?

Most historians echo Arnold’s contemporary political enemies and blame his treason on outsized greed.  But the facts disagree.  Arnold lost money—lots of it—by switching sides.  He was also a generous man all his life, supporting children the war had orphaned and pressing money into destitute veterans’ hands.

So if he didn’t turn his coat for money, why did he?

For the answer, let’s ride to Philadelphia with General Arnold.  We’re in a carriage rather than on horseback because Saratoga’s triumph cost Arnold his leg: it was so badly wounded he’s crippled for life.  Because he can no longer command in the field, General George Washington’s appointed him military governor of Philadelphia.

But the City of Brotherly Love seethes with hatred.  The British Army retreated only hours ago after nine months’ occupation—and it leaves devastation in its wake: neither officers nor men scrupled to damage rebels’ property.  Many Patriots had fled the Army’s advent; now, they’re returning with Arnold to behold their ravaged homes for the first time.  Other residents, some too old or ill to move, had remained in the city; of necessity, they “collaborated” with the Redcoats.  Their cooperation ranged from mere obedience to the King’s decrees on pain of arrest (or worse) to selling food and other supplies to the enemy.  Some even wined and dined the British—happily, too.

Nobody likes collaborators, especially when one’s house lies in ruins while theirs don’t.  Waiting to exploit this bitterness was a political party known as the Radical Patriots.

Completely forgotten now, the Radicals were as powerful then as Democrats and Republicans are today.  Their ideology was similar, too: the Radicals loved Big Government—so long as they ran it.  Indeed, while ordinary Patriots fought to live free of government’s smothering regulations and cronyism, the Radicals set wages and prices, tried to legislate morals, and established dozens of “Committees” (the 18th-century term for “bureaucracies”).  Nor did they tolerate protest: they exiled many dissidents and even hanged a few.

The Radicals had seized power in Philadelphia during the war’s early days, gone undergone with the British occupation, and now re-emerged stronger than ever.  But they were about to collide with Major General Benedict Arnold.

Arnold watched aghast as politicians who’d never lifted a musket against the British Empire destroyed the liberty bought with his blood.  He flouted their edicts, ridiculed their manufacturing of “British sympathizers” to persecute (boy, would Arnold laugh about the “terrorists” the Feds invent today!), and tried to protect the Radicals’ victims.  With other Patriots, including several signers of the Declaration of Independence, he even literally battled the Radicals in Philadelphia’s streets.

Arnold finally appealed to Congress for help.  But Radical influence had spread beyond Pennsylvania; their emphasis on “virtue” enticed New England’s Puritan delegates.  Instead of reining in the Radicals, Congress investigated Arnold.

You needed less foresight than blessed Benedict Arnold to realize that if the Patriots won the war and Congress ruled the new nation, Americans would suffer worse tyranny than King George III ever inflicted.  No wonder Arnold turned to his former enemy, the British Army, as the only agency willing and able to vanquish the Radicals.

From there, Arnold’s story becomes as exciting as any spy novel—which is why I turned it into one!  A beautiful but treacherous wife, coded letters, profound passion and even deeper betrayal, breathtaking chases and near-misses will enthrall you as Arnold agonizingly chooses liberty over “patriotism.”  Hurry: I’m offering the Kindle version of my historical thriller, Abducting Arnold, at half-price to FITSNEWS’ readers!

Becky Akers has written two novels of the American Revolution, Abducting Arnold and Halestorm. E-copies of both are now half-price for readers of FITSNEWS.

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134 comments

Bible Thumper March 31, 2015 at 2:42 pm

There were many colonists who because of their convictions fought for the British and some Patriots who changed sides, but that is totally different from being a traitor. Arnold attempted to betrayal his fellow soldiers by delivering them to the enemy while still pretending loyalty.

Edward Snowden is also a traitor. If all he did was to reveal the government spying on innocent citizens, he might have a claim to virtue. He instead revealed spying on other countries and revealed legitimate classified government communication. He did it in violation of his sworn oath. No matter what your motives, you always pay the price of being a traitor.

Secrets are vital to every government and even those who spy for us must accept the risks. There is a doctor imprisoned in Pakistan for assisting the US in killing Ben Laden. Those who betrayed the Nazis are heroes, but they accepted the risks and paid the price.

I don’t always approve of what the US government does, but to suggest that our problems are so severe, that they can’t be dealt with using the legal democratic process is foolish. For those who wish to attack and denigrate our country’s institutions, I suggest you survey the rest of the world. Look not only at there liberty and justice, but add points for stability and longevity.

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm

“Edward Snowden is also a traitor. If all he did was to reveal the government spying on innocent citizens, he might have a claim to virtue. He instead revealed spying on other countries and revealed legitimate classified government communication. He did it in violation of his sworn oath.”

You make an interesting argument. Strictly from a “contract” perspective, if one assumes that the US gov’t was violating the “contract” with US citizens(violation of the 4th), one would assume that Snowden’s oath to the NSA/US gov’t might be validly “null and void” as it was based on an already broken contract(the gov’t oath, which Snowden also took, to not violate the 4th).

I think it’s important to remember that our country partially went to war over violations of the English common law notion of the castle doctrine, which the 4th springs from to some extent…in addition to taxation without representation. (house searches by Redcoats without warrants)

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Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm

We have courts specifically created to settle those very issues you raise. If Edward Snowden would return to the US they might be. But then Snowden may believe he has the right to be sole arbiter of Common law and Constitutional issues.

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

“We have courts specifically created to settle those very issues you raise. If Edward Snowden would return to the US they might be.”

What’s stopping the US gov’t from trying itself for crimes against us citizens in the mean time?

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Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

I’m no lawyer, but I would suspect you would need some victims to come forward ad show their damages.

TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Well, the great thing about the gov’t is they have all the evidence they need to prosecute themselves.

So why don’t they do it?

Btw, if you’re not getting my drift…maybe it’s unrealistic to expect a fair trial from a gov’t that isn’t lawful itself and controls the process….if I was Snowden, I surely would never return without the proper reassurances-AND THAT WOULD BE TRAIL BY NUREMBURG OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES.

Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 2:32 pm

The government needs to keep secrets and occasionally the public is served by a whistle blower. But if the whistle blower flees, the only rewards he should expect are those of a martyr.

TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

You actually didn’t answer my question as to why gov’t isn’t prosecuting itself for violating its own laws….but it’s cool, cause I didn’t really expect you to have a good answer.

Anyway, “needs to keep secrets”- well, that tells me you implicitly know gov’t is breaking laws and you’re ‘ok’ with it.

So that’s that I suppose.

Btw, I don’t know what Snowden’s expectation was after the fact, but I’m glad he did what he did.

“Secretive government” scares me and I don’t think is necessary, no matter the context. So I disagree with you there.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Your faith in the judiciary is touching, especially after the kangaroo trial it gave Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road.

You might also want to look at others of the NSA’s whistleblowers, such as Bill Binney or Thomas Drake, to learn about the severe persecution awaiting patriots who value liberty and constitutionality over politicians and bureaucrats.

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Rocky April 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Actually one of my father’s ancestors, who was Quaker, initially took sides with neither the British or the colonists. He was then arrested by the colonists, and held in the basement of a cow barn for three weeks – along with the cow crap. He then had a change of heart, and supported the colonists. For his decision, the British removed him from his home, and shot him dead in the street. They then took five of his male children, and housed them on prisoner ships off Staten Island. Only one survived. The two oldest sons joined the local militia and where not home the night the British arrived, and survived the war. So taken in that light, debates over common law, or some “contract” seem rather small. And despite their Quaker traditions, I suspect those remaining sons would kick Snowden’s ass.

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm

“So taken in that light, debates over common law, or some “contract” seem rather small.”

Why? They(the British) violated common law, in fact, you just reinforced my whole argument.

“I suspect those remaining sons would kick Snowden’s ass.”

Why? What does the British shooting one of your ancestors have to do with our government violating it’s own laws?

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Rocky April 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm

I would suggest that given his employment terms, as a contractor, in itself says he violated a contract in what he exposed. The data collection, as best I recall from when he bolted onto the lam, was not considered illegal. Now if the Supreme Court were to deem it so, I’ll go with that. But so far, it has not. Then again, maybe I missed it.

TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 10:38 pm

“Then again, maybe I missed it.”

You did, he presented clear evidence of 4th violations…the courts are surreptitiously ignoring the violations.

That’s my whole argument, he’s got two contracts in conflict with each other…one oath to the Constitution, and one to the NSA, which is violating the Constitution and there’s no one to hold them responsible.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

Two years after Heroic Ed disclosed the NSA’s criminality, very little has changed. A couple of bills that would restrain a bit of the NSA’s power failed to pass Congress. The King of Signing Statements–sorry, the president continues to moan about how he hopes Congress will rein in the NSA while he signs legislation re-authorizing its programs. And all that while his own advisors on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board tell him how anti-constitutional the NSA is!

So I’d say the “legal democratic process” has been tried and failed. More importantly, the rest of the world is coming to the same opinion — except they have armies and nuclear weapons at their disposal. They may one day decide that they won’t tolerate the NSA’s aggression any more, the way the world seventy years ago decided it wouldn’t tolerate Hitler’s.

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Bible Thumper April 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

So I’d say the “legal democratic process” has been tried and failed. More importantly, the rest of the world is coming to the same opinion — except they have armies and nuclear weapons at their disposal.

Such a narrow view. The United States’ human rights far surpasses the vast majority of those foreign countries that are critical of the US.
One the easiest and most apparent comparisons would be the treatment and human rights of immigrants from minority groups and treatment of minorities in general.
Look at the conditions and human rights of Muslims and Jews in the most developed nations of the world. Visit the Muslim ghettos of Europe. Even since the end of WW II, Jewish population has continued to decline in Europe but not so in the US. Examine the rise of antisemitic fascist parties in Greece and France.
Before you become so critical of the US, look around and particularly examine our foreign critics hypocrisy.

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm

You mistake me: I am not critical of “the US.” I am critical of its politicians and bureaucrats. They directly violate the Constitution they have sworn to defend by waging endless wars around the world, spying on everyone everywhere — and, since you mention immigrants, imposing all sorts of restrictions on their comings and goings (and on ours, too). Yet the Constitution never delegates any such power to the govt (the most the Constitution allows the Feds is to devise a process of naturalization — but that’s very different from prohibiting all but a certain number of people every year from setting foot in the country. Likewise, there is no authority to issue or enforce passports or visas, chase down immigrants who haven’t obeyed bureaucratic dictates about where they may work, etc).

B/c we decry the Feds’ assumptions of dictatorial power does not mean we are “critical” of the US. Indeed, I presume you, too, value the Constitution. I should think you wd then also deprecate and denounce those who violate it, not those who call attention to the violators.

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SausageAway March 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Snowden is America’s only recognizable hero. The Right wingers will realize this in about 50 years.

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Bible Thumper March 31, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Right wingers are his biggest fans.

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SausageAway March 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Hardly. The right wingers are the ones calling to bomb Russia in order to get him.

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Go Further Right April 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm

The far, far right are his biggest fans.

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Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 5:04 pm

The following link is to an article that delved into the right wing beliefs and connections of three liberal icons. Remember also that Snowden chose to flee to Far Right Russia. The article is long, but the first two sections are about Snowden. In later sections it is about Snowden’s choice of Russia and him praising the human rights of well known human rights abusing countries.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116253/edward-snowden-glenn-greenwald-julian-assange-what-they-believe

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SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 5:15 pm

He did not chose to flee to Russia he got stranded there after the government revoked his passport.

Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 5:18 pm

More accurately, Russia chose him. Why? The article is long but interesting.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Have you actually been following these events at all? You appear unfamiliar with what happened. He got stranded in Russia because his passport was revoked whilst he was in transit. He did not choose Russia.

Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm

But Russia wanted him.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 5:54 pm

That’s your point? Yes he does have some right wing supporters I suppose. But not I the media or in positions of influence.

Bible Thumper April 1, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Perhaps not in the US government, but in right wing US media and right wing foreign governments he gets plenty of support.

Russian media article:
“Ron Paul launches clemency petition for Edward Snowden”
http://rt.com/usa/paul-petition-snowden-clemency-950/

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Most of the world media supports Snowden, that doesn’t make them right wing. Most of the world support him too. It’s Americans that are kidding themselves he is more dangerous to them than the like of the NSA.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:41 am

Maybe we need to get away from viewing things as “right wing” or “left wing.” Increasingly, as the NSA and Snowden have shown us, it’s “us”–the subjects, taxpayers, citizens, whatever term you want to use– and “them,” the bureaucrats, politicians, cops, and “public servants” who live on our money, regulate every aspect of our lives, arrest and abuse us, beat us, jail us, and in general lord it over us.
The political class is thrilled when we all fight each other instead of fighting them for our liberty. Why play into their hands?

GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm

BT…myths and hate rule liberals…you’re wasting your time, no matter how thorough you are in explaining it…

They believe what they are told… and dissention is not tolerated…

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Please give me the name of one mainstream “right winger” who has suggested we “…bomb Russia. ..” to get Snowden. Randy Quaid doesn’t count.

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SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Visit any chat room discussing Snowden, and take a look at hte comments.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Hello, you can find the randy Quaidesque crowd there taking about everything from ufos to high colonics (which many could use to flush their heads out of their ass) I’m sure we can find an equal number of left winners on some obscure board suggesting he be appointed the next president. Thanks for proving my point.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm

I think you are forgetting all the rhetoric from senior US military and political figures as well as right wing media like Fox and its commentators.
Nothing obscure about these right wingers and their predictable call for violence. Particularly against someone they have labelled a communist.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm

I think you are resorting to hyperbole. We’re on Fits so that’s okay But I challenge you to name the “senior military and political figures” who suggested bombing (or anything remotely like that) Russia over Snowden.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 7:55 pm

I am not resorting to hyperbole, perhaps those politicians and officials were, however, they were making threats and demonstrating why Snowden needs protection.
The fact that you are unaware of the circumstances and the debate around Snowden does not mean that those circumstances do not exist, it just demonstrates you are ignorant. Although it seems to me more likely you are willingly myopic.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

And my simple request to name some names was met with obfuscation and avoidance.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Wrong again, you asked me where such rhetoric of the right was to be found, I told you, you then moved the goal posts. DO your own research.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 8:13 pm

In other words, you made it up.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm

yeah Im a liar who makes things up for the sake of it.
Anything else? Perhaps you want to insult my parents too?

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Proof’s in the pudding. I generally avoid both as hominem and hyperbole and I never make fun of people’s parents.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 9:57 pm

You frame a discussion in narrow terms, move the goal posts and resort to accusations which mask your lack of effort not one jot.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Bovine excreta. I asked you to provide evidence of your assertion that “…right wingers are the ones calling to bomb Russia in order to get him….” and you provided none, choosing to tell me to “…do my own research…”. I did, you’re full of shit. Discussions of taking him out by both sides of the aisle, discussions of a raid to capture him by both sides of the aisle but not one mention of bombing anything. Now I will admit to not visiting “every tin foil hat wearing” discussion board but I can only take so much of the inanity.

SausageAway April 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Idiot.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Are you going to insult my parents now?

SausageAway April 2, 2015 at 12:11 am

your an insult to your own line.

Or do you require a link for that too?

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 12:13 am

Your, you’re, yore, take your pick but I’m guessing you’re going to get it wrong.

SausageAway April 2, 2015 at 12:23 am

and a grammar wanker to boot? Who would have guessed?

Jack April 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Treason cost Arnold money because the colonies won. If they had lost, as he thought they would, he would have profited nicely from his treachery. Most likely there was a Colonial Governorship in it for him, as well as land grants. I think your story and book are BS.

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GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Arnold received a commission with the British army. After the war he went over to England and lived a relatively lavish life…

It did not cost him any money…

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Sheeeeit….I haven’t fact checked you but if you’re right, good job. Blind Squirrel, nuts, etc.

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GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 2:18 pm

You’re uneducated like most FITS f*#ks…I don’t have a problem w that…except you all make fools of yourself trying to tell everybody elae what to do…

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Good point Big T. I’m really glad you’re here to set ignorant f*#ks like me straight.

Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Peggy Shippen, Arnold’s second wife, would dispute your characterizing their life as “lavish.” So would anyone who knew the Arnolds at that time.
Arnold petitioned the Crown several times for the back pay due him from Congress as well as indemnification for other losses. He constantly sought paying work–hardly the mark of a guy living lavishly.

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GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Arnold was a brigadier general in the mightiest army in the world at the time. He did OK. He was bad at business and not liked…

But look at Obama..he hates his country…never had a real job…but lives like a king…

Don’t confuse a bad reputation with poverty…

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Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Arnold was on half-pay, first of all. And he was actually very astute at business, as his wealth at the beginning of the war attests.

GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

He was not doing pretty well is the point….and a man of his class, living normally, was LAVISH by most standards of the period…
It’s like the Clintons whining about their station in life…when they live very well..
You can argue about it all day…but Arnold did not pay a heavy price for being a traitor. He did OK….trying to parse it will not change that…

Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Well, you’ll have to argue with Ben Franklin then: Arnold’s “reward” for treason was so measly that Franklin famously quipped, “Judas sold only one Man, Arnold 3,000,000. Judas got for his one man 30 pieces of silver, Arnold not a half-penny a head. A miserable bargainer!” And friends who visited the Arnolds after the war often implied they lived in “reduced” circumstances.

GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Yeah: I’m sure Franklin was going to pat Arnold on the back, and brag about how well his treason turned out…

C’mon Becky…I hope you’re smarter than that… (:

Again: Considering his qualities…Benedict Arnold did OK…he was a weasel. He sold to the highest bidder…..and he got by as well as he could…on his traits…

It certainly did not break him as a result of his treason…

Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm

When Arnold defected to the British, he owned two estates–one in Connecticut and one in Pennsylvania. He knew the US would seize them. He’d also received little if any of the back pay the Continental Congress owed him; he forfeited that as well. To say nothing of the fortune he’d expended from his own pocket to outfit his troops at during the campaign for Quebec and at Valcour Island.
It’s intriguing to speculate what the King might have paid him had Britain won the war, but I seriously doubt it would have been nearly as grand as you imagine. The Crown treated Arnold shabbily, refusing to indemnify him for many of his losses and ignoring his offers of service against the French.

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Jack April 1, 2015 at 5:04 pm

If he had not thought the British would win and he would be rewarded he would not have flipped sides. At a minimum he thought he would retain his estates and be a person of influence and power in the now subdued colonies; as opposed to hanged by the crown for treason

In regard to paying him back for his losses, I am sure the King didn’t. I mean, why would he? The Crown gained nothing from Arnold’s treason, and its not as though he did this out of the kindness of his heart or loyalty to the Crown. Both he and the King lost valuable property in the rebellion.

He was treated shabbily because the Crown though of him as a failure who lost even his honor.

As for his offer of service against the French; who the hell is going to trust a known traitor?

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Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm

From Arnold’s perspective in 1779, British victory was by no means assured. He could not possibly have counted on that, let alone on retaining his property and the other benefits you cite.
The Crown indemnified many Loyalists for what they lost during the war; indeed, there were so many claims that the British govt established an entire bureaucracy to deal with them.
You’re correct that Arnold didn’t turn to the British Army “out of the kindness of his heart” for help against the Radicals: he did so out of principle.
And finally, the “known traitor” was the best strategist on either side of the American Revolution. Fortunately for the Patriots, London ignored his advice on winning that conflict, too.

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Jack April 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Like everyone else, no one knew who would win, He made an educated guessed the British would win. Bad choice.

While the Crown may have indemnified Loyalists, Arnold was no Loyalist. He was rebel and a traitor. First he was a traitor to the Crown, taking up arms against his King in the fight for independence; then he betrayed the colonies when he thought it benefited him. Clearly the man had no honor, and deserves no respect.

Finally, good strategist or not, who the hell is going to trust a known traitor.

GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 1:50 pm

We have a subversive in our White House. Obama may be the LARGEST enemy of America, and freedom, since the rise of NAZI Germany…It’s not complicated.

K.I.S.S. – Reject Obama, and what he Democrat Party stands for….and you are a PATRIOT….

Fail to turn back Obama and the Democrat Party …and you are as guilty as an oppressive monarchy, Democrat slave-owner or Communist dictator…

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Daniel Boome April 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Ok, fair enough. But what if you’re a deranged menace who does nothing but parrot inarticulate, profane, and hate-filled diatribes?

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Rocky April 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Oh for Christ sake. Give it a rest! Nobody’s listening to that dribble anymore, and it has not bearing on the conversation about Eggs Benedict, French Toast or Benedict Arnold.

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The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Austria’s army per capita is the same size as the US’ approximately .3% of the population.

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The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Arnold was such a “good” officer that he was passed over for command, killed or drove off half his force (300 went AWOL and 200 died in route to the attack) on his first foray as a tactical commander (Quebec Expedition in 1775). On arrival at the objective, he got shot in the leg and had to be carried off the battlefield after failing to achieve the objective (Quebec was never taken). Owing to his political connections, Arnold was appointed military governor of Montreal and was forced to cede the city to the British and retreat.

He was supposed to delay the British at the Battle of Ridgefield and was unsuccessful – though he managed to get shot in the leg again. He was again relieved in the First Battle of Saratoga, in the second battle, he operated against Gates direct orders to no real gain (except another leg wound). After he was appointed military commander of Philadelphia, he became embroiled in a local scam and was nearly discharged via Court Martial. He signed the very first “oath of allegiance” for military officers in 1778 but apparently paid little attention to the wording which says in part “…I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;…

He hardly won “astounding victories”. He only changed sides when his political maneuverings failed to get him the command and prestige he sought and his lack of faith in “the cause” failed. Arnold, while a marginally competent combat commander, was a traitor and like all traitors of his ilk, driven by personal fame and fortune, he is a piece of human excrement.

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Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Thank you for so ably summarizing the usual “facts” on Arnold–which are nothing more than Radical propaganda. I had wanted to include the standard line on him in the article, but it was already too lengthy. You’ve done me a great service!
They say that the victors write history, and that’s certainly true in the Radicals’ case. Though their party didn’t survive the war, their ideology of Big Government haunts us to this day. They spent months repeating their lies about Arnold until each fabrication was accepted as fact, particularly their greatest slander, that Arnold was the greediest cuss ever. More than hatred for Arnold motivated the Radicals: insisting on his wickedness distracted folks from the Radicals’ malfeasance in Philadelphia. Not only had their policies brought the city to the brink of starvation, but their administration was also guilty of financial improprieties. Arnold was a very convenient scapegoat, and the Radicals scaped his goat to the fullest.

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Rock Obama April 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Wait a minute. How do we go from Benedict Arnold (a name synomous with traitor and Eggs Benedict – a great breakfast treat) – to bloated government? And given the failure of the Articles of Confederation, and the ultimate rebuilding of the Fedearl government with today’s Constitution, it would seem to me that infact Arnold, if he so was included to avoid a strong Federal government, in fact failed at that too. And there is the simple fact, that despite his many failures, his ultimate impact on American liberty, our policitcal system and our existance, is somewhere between 0.000001% and 0.000000000005%. Honestly, if you wanted to write a story on a unique group that had impact on our world today, you might try the Quakers.

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Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I will claim a great many talents for Gen. Arnold, but he was no more a prophet than you or I. Can you tell us what will happen on the national scene 7 or 9 years from now? Yet that’s what you’re expecting from Arnold.

As far as his impact on American history, you’ll have to fight an army of historians, not just me, if you insist Arnold’s influence was negligible. Even his critics admit that without his contributions at Saratoga, the Patriots would undoubtedly have lost the battle–and probably the war. And his labors at Valcour Island the year before kept the British Army from invading–and likely conquering–New England.

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TroubleBaby April 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Kudos to your write up Ms. Akers. I personally look forward to more contributions of yours on FITSnews, even though I read plenty @ LRC.

Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Thank you so much: you’re very kind!

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Madame as a professional historian I can only give you one bit of advice, stick to fiction.

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Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

And as a novelist, I’m shocked, shocked that a professional historian stoops to ad hominem attacks, let alone that he judges intriguing new evidence without even having read the book presenting it.
My dear sir, why not at least glance at Abducting Arnold? You can peruse the first 50 pages or so for free on Amazon. Then you can more knowledgeably tell me how silly I am.

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The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Already read your first fifty pages. Where pray tell did I resort to ad hominem?

Becky Akers April 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Unfortunately, those first pages don’t divulge any of the new evidence. Go ahead and spring for the book. Don’t worry: at $1.50 rather than the usual price of $2.99, I make only pennies per sale after the publisher takes its cut, so it’s not as though you’ll enrich me. Rather, I’d be most interested in your opinion–but I do insist it be an informed opinion.
Dismissing me from your lofty perch as a professional historian instead of addressing my arguments is ad hominem, alas.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Hardly, I’m dismissing your post and Will’s never ending attempt to make Snowden something other than the traitor he is. I don’t read much fiction anymore, don’t have the time. I want to make sure I’m following, are you asserting your book is a factual account?

SteveVictor1 April 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Whistle-blowers of a corrupt government are not traitors– except to love-it-or-leave-it Neanderthals.

The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

By your definition. I go with the standard definition: traitor, a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.

Snowden signed numerous non disclosure documents and the material he has disclosed has materially hurt the U.S. and gained very little for the cause of “freedom”. http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/insiders-poll/insiders-the-value-of-snowden-s-disclosures-was-not-worth-national-security-damage-20140206

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

Actually, Heroic Ed took an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, domestic and foreign. Perhaps you’re correct that he signed non-disclosure agreements, but if so, I haven’t seen them. And I hope we can agree that loyalty to the Constitution comes ahead of them anyway.
However, you are factually incorrect that his disclosures have hurt the US. The NSA has yet to produce a single instance of such harm, despite numerous opportunities to do so. Even worse, the NSA itself has horrifically and “materially hurt the US”: its hijacking of computer hardware so as to manually install surveillance equipment and its spying on customers of US tech firms worldwide have lost billions of dollars of business for US companies—the usual estimate is $32 billion. And that’s so far: the fallout will continue as more of the NSA’s crimes come to light.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

My book is a factual account in that I adhere to history where known as closely as possible. I also offer an afterword that explains where I depart from fact (for instance, I have Arnold learn of his first wife’s death earlier than he actually did for purposes of plot). That said, it’s still a novel, and novels by their nature take liberty with history. But the essence of Arnold’s story — the real one, not the Radicals’ twisting of it — is all there.

Intriguing that you dismiss “Will’s never ending attempt to make Snowden something other than the traitor he is.” Will’s respect for Heroic Ed is one of the many reasons I admire both Will and his website. Indeed, I am astonished that anyone, especially a professional historian who must understand that the NSA’s threat to liberty is unprecedented, would denigrate a patriot for exposing this crime.

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

So you write “faction” – not a criticism, I have enjoyed many a factional book. I’ve accompanied Jack Aubrey on many a voyage. All historians (myself included) twist history to their ends, we weren’t there and even with primary sources it is difficult to get to ground truth. In any two person event there are three truths – mine, yours and the truth.

You have now broached the real reason we are at odds – I think both Snowden and Arnold are traitors of the worst ilk – you don’t. I hold clearances similar to those Mr. Snowden held – I know the oath he had to swear in order to get those clearances and am led to believe he intentionally lied in order to gain those clearances.

Let’s agree to disagree.

SteveVictor1 April 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm

I’ll bet $100 that Ms. Akers has done more research on Arnold than you.

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The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm

You’d easily win that bet, there are far more interesting characters from that period of history. Doesn’t make her right. Find another historian that agrees with her. I can document every fact I provide from numerous primary and secondary sources.

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SteveVictor1 April 2, 2015 at 9:33 am

Here are two:

Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered
by James Kirby Martin, 558 pp.

Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor
by Willard Sterne Randall, 667 pp.

What have you written?

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The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 10:17 am

I will grant you James Kirby – I disagree with some of his conclusions but his book is very well written and researched.

Randall’s book is an excellent read as well – however, Randall doesn’t deny that Arnold was a Traitor – he just spends considerable time examining the why of it and providing some justification.

I’ve helped edit a book or two but have never attempted writing for popular publication. If you’re interested in something I helped write google TC 5-210 or TM 3-34.73 (1990) – you’ll have to blow the dust off of them…

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:22 am

Steve, have you read any Ken Roberts? He’s written fiction about Arnold that I think you’d enjoy as well as some non-fiction. He, too, considers Arnold to have been a huge hero prior to his treason.

SteveVictor1 April 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Yes, Arundel and Rabble in Arms, the latter in high school; it was the first positive view of Arnold I’d ever seen and I seized upon it somehow….

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:21 am

Thank you, Steve. You’re right: I did a tremendous amount of research, 6 years’ worth in fact (still ongoing, too, though not as intensely). And I started off with the same idea the Colonel and most historians harbor: that Arnold was a vile traitor. I was determined to show him for that in the novel. But as I increasingly explored his story and the times, I found many contradictions and plain old lies from the Radicals that professional historians have inexplicably accepted. The first and most glaring was Arnold’s supposed greed: the record plainly shows his generosity. The second was that he sold his country for a fortune when again, the record plainly shows he lost money instead. I could continue, but I’ve already written one book on the subject… :)

Meanwhile, how intriguing that any historian would admit he doesn’t know what he’s talking about but then continues to insist that I’m wrong.

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M2000 April 2, 2015 at 12:28 am

I’m more stumped on the entire issue of Benedict Arnold trying to invade Canada part and how the folks (the Paulbots) claim they’re non-interventionists but this makes them ever so inconsistent even more.

That part made me burst out with laughter.

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The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 7:53 am

Two reasons we invaded Canada in the Revolutionary War (and again in the War of 1812), Canada equal Great Britain at this point in history and many if the “invasions” we’re in fact raids to seize war material. Forts along the “border” with Canada had been constructed during the French and Indian Wars.

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SteveVictor1 April 2, 2015 at 9:52 am

You’re losing your credibility, Colonel. The Americans invaded Canada in the Revolutionary War to deny Britain the use of Quebec City and Montreal– convenient staging areas for thousands of troops arriving from merry old England.

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The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 10:46 am

Yes, Quebec and Montreal (Canada) = Great Britain, making it a convenient staging area. If you want class number two we can go there but it’s three hours worth of material.

They also seized war materials – google Henry Knox and Ticonderoga (yes I know the fort is technically in New York). Washington’s artillery in the Seige of Boston all came from the British fort at Ticonderoga. Knox’s efforts to move those guns 250 miles in the middle of winter and across two major rivers has long been hailed as the “greatest logistical feat of the war”.

SteveVictor1 April 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Correct, but you conveniently failed to mention that Arnold co-captured Ft. Ti., and the idea of doing so for its cannon was his in the first place.

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Arnold was present at Fort Ticonderoga when Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys took it. Allen brought more than 100 militia men with him. Arnold’s two lieutenant’s (actually two Captains named Oswald and Brown) managed to scrounge up around 45 “soldiers”. At the “council of war” before the attack, Arnold tried to usurp command of the whole force. Allen’s force threatened to go home rather than be led by Arnold. Conventional wisdom is that Arnold was allowed to participate by Allen. No primary sources exist of the agreement between the two.

As for the battle itself, the fort was about to fall in on it’s own, was garrisoned by less than 50 British soldiers (there were about 30-40 more in the general area) and it really wasn’t all that glorious.only one American soldier was really injured by a British Sentry – the rest of the post was caught literally sleeping.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

He also neglected to mention the politics surrounding Ethan Allen.

Allen and his “Boys” had farmed land in the Hampshire Grants after buying it from the governor of New Hampshire–who had no more right to sell it than you or I have. The governor of New York also laid claim to that territory, conveniently waiting until after the Boys had cleared and improved the land. At the time that Allen and the Boys marched on Fort Ti–in the colony of New York–its governor was diligently trying to cheat them out of their land.

Arnold held a commission from the Massachusetts Committee of Safety to seize Ti for its cannon (and you’re right, Steve, it was Arnold’s idea to do so). His presence there, and his attempts to control Allen’s undisciplined, wild “Boys” saved the Revolution in its earliest days: had Arnold not pushed to be co-commander, tolerating Allen’s insults and his Boys’ abuse, the attack on Ti would have degenerated into the Boys’ vengeance on New York. The Revolution might well have become a civil war among the colonies rather than one directed against London’s government.

I explore this more dramatically and w/ lots of fun over the “backwoods” giant, Allen, trying to bully the shorter, sophisticated Arnold in my novel.

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm

That’s one interpretation I guess…

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Oh, my. You know you’ve just admitted that a known traitor is a compelling character. That’s right: Ethan Allen negotiated w/ the British, too. But you don’t need me to tell you that, right, Colonel?

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 4:41 pm

You’ve been reading Procknow. A lot of unproven speculation in his work.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Nope, wrong guess.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:34 am

Your use of the word “invasion” is intriguing. Neither Gen Washington nor the men involved in the campaigns would have thought of it as an invasion. You can read Washington’s orders to Gen Montgomery and Col. Arnold as well as letters and journals from the period to find that no one then believed you could impose freedom on a country by invading. People must want to live free so much that they’re willing to fight and if necessary die for that privilege. Arnold and Montgomery headed north to invite the Canadians to join the lower 13 colonies in overthrowing British rule: Canada suffered under the same regulations and restrictions as the lower 13 colonies plus many more since the Quebec Act had restored what was essentially feudal rule over Canada’s habitants. They couldn’t merely send a letter b/c Redcoats patrolled both Montreal and Quebec; neither merchants nor habitants would defy armed soldiers and risk their lives if other soldiers weren’t standing by to assist them.
Gen. Washington several times instructed the officers and men to gauge the Canadians’ reaction and if they are not inclined to rebel, Montgomery and Arnold are to withdraw from the country. None of them would have called this undertaking an “invasion.”

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M2000 April 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm

It’s called Manifest Destiny…that’s what Arnold and the others were promoting…

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Nope, sorry, that’s an anachronism. “Manifest destiny” is a 19th century doctrine.

M2000 April 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

And yet Benedict Arnold was a proponent of it…when he tried to target Canada….

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 9:55 pm

I’ve already addressed that. If you’re unwilling to accept those facts, I have nothing further to add.

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

You are correct that “invading” would have been a foreign concept here – “British” Canada was no more or less a colony than the 13 colonies were – it was viewed by most Patriots (“Radicals” I believe you refer to them as) as just more of “Great Britain”. The real difference is that the British rule in Canada was not as old (1763) and the colonist had not had time to grow alienated by the Crown’s excesses.

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

My goodness, Colonel, for a professional historian, let alone someone with high-falutin clearances, you don’t absorb what you read. “Most Patriots” are not what I refer to as “Radicals.” If you’ll look at the article again, you’ll see that I draw a big distinction between the two.

Also–and forgive my harping on this–but as a professional historian, shouldn’t you know about the Radical Patriots w/o my having to inform you?

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 3:41 pm

I know what a “Radical Patriot” was Ms Akers – I just disagree that were were very “radical”.

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

No, clearly you don’t know what a “Radical Patriot” was. But that’s OK. I didn’t either until I began the research for my novel. Then I discovered that not only were they a major political party but that most of what we “know” about Benedict Arnold was their attempt to spin his treason to their benefit — very similar to the modern assassination of Heroic Ed’s character by members of and apologists for the Surveillance State.

Kill the messenger and you’ve killed the message, eh, Colonel?

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I would consider someone like Samuel Adams to be among the “radical Patriots” who do you consider to be one?

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm

On the conventional list of “Radical Patriots” would be men like Samuel Adams, one of the the “idealistic democracy” believers. Who would you include on the list?

Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Hmmm. We seem to be speaking at cross-purposes. I have divulged that the Radical Patriots were a recognized, very powerful political party in both the article and my response immediately above. I shan’t belabor the point any further since you choose to reject this basic, easily proven fact.

The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Did they have secret handshakes?

GrandTango April 1, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Who has done more damage to America?….

Benedict Arnold?

or

Barack Obama?

or

Edward Snowden?

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GrandTango April 2, 2015 at 6:22 am

CRICKETS….LMAO…

FITS posters are full of bile and septic water when it’s time to bash all that they hate. But ask them something INTERESTING…and they dummy up…LMAO…

Typical liberals. Shows what the media would look like if fair people were running it. Liberals would never open their mouths….Hahahhahaha..

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CharlieChan April 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

When are you going to ask something interesting?

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GrandTango April 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Don’t worry you’re too stupid to get it, if I did…LMAO..

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Maybe no one responded b/c the answer is so obviously Obummer.

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GrandTango April 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm

They’ll always balk before admitting that…

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TontoBubbaGoldstein April 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Often there is a very thin line between traitors and heroes. Obviously, Americans who switched sides with the Nazis were traitors. The Germans who tried to assassinate Hitler were clearly traitors…but we would judge them as heros. if you switch sides for $$ you’re a traitor….but what if you switch from the evil side to the good?

What would Snowden have to expose our government of doing to earn him the accolade of hero?

Though, TBG respectfully disagrees with the good Colonel and the suddenly spellchecked, shift key restricted Grand Tango….He poses……..

1)Rudolph Hess

2) Jeff Davis

3)Robert E Lee

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:52 am

Thank you, TBG. That is one of the points I had hoped to make with the article: that we need to examine our definitions of “patriotism” and “traitors.” Meanwhile, where shd our loyalty lie?— with the politicians and bureaucrats who comprise “government” or with the ideals and principles of liberty? And when those politicians and bureaucrats betray liberty…what then?

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The Colonel April 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Robert E Lee was not a traitor. He was offered command of the Union army and declined starting, “..With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword…”. He honorably changed sides, nothing traitorous about that.

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SteveVictor1 April 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Let’s not forget that most (if not all) the Patriots were Englishmen and TRAITORS to their mother country. Arnold was a fanatical Patriot for at least eight years, so labeling him a traitor is meaningless except in the sense just noted.

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The Colonel April 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

A traitor who pursues liberty for liberties sake versus a self serving glory hound who adhered to liberty when he thought it would reward him. Hmm, I’ll side with liberty for liberty’s sake.

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SteveVictor1 April 2, 2015 at 9:41 am

Perhaps you have a reading problem. As I noted, Arnold was a fervent Patriot for eight years. As Ms. Akers wrote, he believed that life under Congress would be worse than under Britain; hence, his change of heart.

I’m mystified that someone claiming to be a historian has such a one-sided, hyperbolic perspective– “self-serving glory hound,” “piece of human excrement,” etc.

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:49 am

Thank you, SteveVictor1. And let’s remember, too, that the Colonel has admitted he hasn’t researched this topic. You, on the other hand, seem to have read extensively on it.

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HD April 1, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Arnold betrayed the cause because he felt unappreciated. He should have been locked in a room with Daniel Morgan for 30 minutes as his punishment.

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:47 am

Funny! Yes, that’s another of the other common explanations for his treason. And if he had felt unappreciated, he was right to do so: Congress’ abuse of him was inexcusable. However, Arnold did not react hysterically, as some historians allege when they try to blame his treason on something other than his intense desire to live free. Instead, he resigned his commission as other commanders who were similarly abused had done.

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M2000 April 2, 2015 at 12:23 am

Bwahahaha, Paulbots endorsed someone who wanted to invade Canada! Non-interventionists my a*s!

http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/John_Carter_Brown_Library/Champlainexhib/Pages/American%20Invasion.html

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M2000 April 2, 2015 at 12:49 am

Hey Paulbots, Benedict Arnold wanted to expand a young America…I thought you people were non-interventionists guess I was wrong and I was right again with with your lack of judgment!

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 11:43 am

How did he “want to expand a young America”? If you’re referring to his Canadian campaign, that’s not at all what it was about.

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M2000 April 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm

He wanted to help invade Canada…I find it strange you failed to omit it.

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Becky Akers April 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I’m not sure how I “failed to omit [sic for ‘include’?] it.” I explained about the Canadian campaign in another response here. I also write about it in my novel, Abducting Arnold.

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