Turmoil Over Iran; Motor-Voter Woes; Quote of the Week

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Good morning, it’s May 17, 2019, a Friday, the day of the week when I unearth a quotation intended to provide inspiration for the weekend. Today’s centers on a U.S. Army general who spent much of his career in the saddle.

His name was George R. Crook. Born in Ohio in 1828, he graduated near the bottom of his class at West Point, and was commissioned at forts in California and Oregon where he spent the 1850s. In that untamed territory, Crook found himself fighting Indians -- and sometimes protecting them -- while becoming something of a frontiersman. Often eschewing uniforms for his preferred buckskins, he nurtured the growth of a rather spectacular beard and earned a reputation as an exacting and physically brave commanding officer. Crook was nearly killed in one engagement by an arrow that pierced his arm.

In 1861, the Army recalled most of its field officers to the East after the Civil War broke out.

By then a Union colonel, Crook saw action at Second Manassas, Antietam, and Chickamauga -- and nearly drowned while crossing a stream in western Virginia. He was taken prisoner by Confederates in the waning months of the war, but was exchanged in time to participate in the Appomattox campaign.

In 1867 he was sent back to the Pacific region as a lieutenant colonel, where his subsequent success put him in the middle of the action all over the West. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman considered Crook such an effective Indian fighter that he gave him the toughest assignments; these ranged from fighting Sitting Bull in the Dakotas to luring the famed Apache Geronimo to give up his raiding ways along the Arizona border with Mexico.

I’ll have a brief word on these engagements in a moment, along with the quote of the week. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Trump Administration’s Mixed Signals on Iran Fuel Turmoil. Susan Crabtree explores the frustration on view this week as State Department officials squabbled with each other, and lawmakers.

California’s Botched Motor-Voter Rollout Hovers Over 2020. Susan also examines election-integrity issues that plagued the voter-registration system in 2018 and remain unresolved.

Health Care Voters May Surprise Us. In a further analysis of RCP’s health care poll, Deb Gordon describes the four distinct health care consumer types that emerged from the survey results and how they are distinct from political/ideological subsets.

Fact-Checkers Give Stacey Abrams a Pass on Victory Claim. Mark Hemingway asks why the major fact-checking organizations have failed to examine the losing candidate’s insistence she defeated Gov. Brian Kemp in November.

The Hard Politics of U.S.-China Trade Talks. Charles Lipson weighs in on the dynamics of bargaining with the Chinese.

Five Facts: Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Goods. In RealClearPolicy, No Labels has this primer on the president’s policy.

The Rise of Artificial Freedom. Charmaine Yoest assails Google’s censorship of the Claremont Institute and other examples of tech companies muzzling conservatives.

The Voracious Energy Appetite of Artificial Intelligence. RealClearEnergy has Part 5 of Mark P. Mills' power series.

Reference Pricing Will Stifle Innovation. In RealClearHealth, Alex Hendrie finds fault with a proposal that would tie the cost of all medicines to the median prices charged in five countries -- Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.

10 Railroads That Made America Great. Brandon Christensen compiled this list in RealClearHistory.

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After surrendering to Gen. Crook in 1883, Geronimo wearied of domesticated life, and on this date in 1885 he slipped back with some of his band into the vast escarpments of the Southwest for one last extended escapade of cross-border raiding.

Crook had treated the Apache leader not as a murderer, which is how whites tended to view him, but as a prisoner of war who’d been fighting to defend his own land and his own people. In other words, as a person with rights. But as Geronimo resumed his depredations in the Southwest, those higher up in the chain of command grew impatient -- including new President Grover Cleveland, who expressed the hope that Geronimo would be hanged.

The upshot was that Army Chief of Staff Sherman and Gen. Phil Sheridan -- Crook’s ranking officers in the West, as they had been in the Civil War -- relieved Crook of his command. He was replaced with Gen. Nelson A. Miles, a longtime Crook rival in the Army, and a less sympathetic and sentimental officer.

Yet, even Miles couldn’t help but be impressed when he came face to face with the famed Apache warrior after Geronimo surrendered for the last time in 1886.

“He was one of the brightest, most resolute, determined looking men I have ever encountered,” Miles wrote in his memoir. “He had the clearest, sharpest dark eyes I think I have ever seen, unless it was that of Gen. Sherman,” Miles wrote. “Every movement indicated power, energy and determination.  In everything he did, he had a purpose.”

The same could be said of George Crook, who until he drew his last breath never stopped trying to get the U.S. government to treat Apaches humanely. Upon hearing of Crook’s death in 1890, Red Cloud, the famed Sioux chief remarked, “He, at least, never lied to us.”

It sounds like faint praise, doesn’t it? Yet at that time, sad to say, this was quite a testament when coming from a red man talking about a white man. And that is today’s quote of the week. 

Carl M. Cannon 
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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