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Subject: "Catch & Release" Military Commanders rss

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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
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A recent broadcast on one of the incarnations of the History Channel explored the military career of Ernesto "Che" Guevara. I chuckled when the narrator described young Guevara's arrest and subsequent release by the Cuban authorities.

The contributors to this Forum know their history. A number of political activists including Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and Nelson Mandela were arrested for revolutionary activities early in their careers and returned later as monumental figures in world affairs.

Many of these men (particularly Castro) could be considered military commanders who led their nation during a period of conflict. Men like Jozef Pulsudski (arrested by Tsarist police before WWI) were victorious military officers who transitioned to political leadership.

In addition to "Che" Guevara I can think of other youthful activists who survived arrest to lead victorious revolutionary armies with Leon Trotsky and Nguyen Giap being near the top of the list.

I can imagine Tsar Nicholas wanting a "do-over" on Lenin.

How many 21st century activists will rise to great prominence as military commanders after a "Catch & Release" episode? I could mention the names of a few possibilities from the last two decades but I'm reluctant to descend into the RSP inferno.

A fascinating topic.
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David Dixon
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I'm somewhat curious as to how many of the Soviet--ahem, excuse me Russian--allied separatists in the Ukraine have been arrested at least once before for similar activity but were released because the previous Ukranian government toed closer to Moscow.

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I guess the other question is, would certain men take their place, and if so would they be better or worse in general? Think of all the men who died in the Tsar's prisons without being able to lead a rebellion. As Thomas Gray mused in "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"

"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood."

The nations in question that released these men also fit the usual pattern of nation's ripe for revolution: just oppressive enough piss people off but too weak to thoroughly annihilate sedition.
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Seth Owen
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How many other minor figures were released at the same time who didn't amount to anything. Hindsight is 20/20 and in retrospect maybe the Tsar would like a do-over. But at the time Lenin was just one of thousands of troublemakers.
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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pete belli wrote:
...I can imagine Tsar Nicholas wanting a "do-over" on Lenin...


Even discounting the hindsight aspect, which has previously been commented on, the Tsar was already gone before Lenin played much of a role. Lenin's involvement had more to do with the overthrow of the provisional government that had already replaced Tsarist rule, while Lenin was still in exile. So it might be more accurate to say that perhaps Kerensky would have wanted a "do-over" with respect to Lenin.

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Robert Stuart
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The first notable 'catch and release' commander that I know of was Julius Caesar. Captured by pirates and held for ransom, a furious Caesar told the pirates that after being ransomed he would come back and wipe them out. Evidently they thought that very amusing. Their cupidity prevailed, and sure enough, after he was ransomed, Caesar did come back and wipe them out.
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