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How will they fill their above-ground pools and wash their TruckNutz?
April 2, 2013 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Graveyard of the Peaches An Army Ranger and Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations draws up a battle plan in light of Georgia's plan to attempt to claim part of Tennessee, in order to get access to vital water from the Tennessee River and undo a 1818 surveying error.
posted by blahblahblah (47 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
The South('s water table) will rise again.
posted by dry white toast at 11:54 AM on April 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


"As a soldier, I fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan; as a scholar, I performed most of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation in southern Lebanon. Nowhere in the world, though, have I ever encountered a more brutal, tribal and violent race of people than the Scots-Irish of East Tennessee."

Speaking as someone who grew up in Middle Tennessee: that's one of the best - and most accurate - things I've read today.
posted by komara at 11:59 AM on April 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


Please like this stay up. I love this issue. Thanks, blahbla
posted by maggieb at 12:00 PM on April 2, 2013


Actually, the night they drove ol' Dixie('s water table) down would have been more appropriate.
posted by dry white toast at 12:04 PM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Exum is not just a loyal native of Tennessee and US Army Ranger veteran , he's also a very smart counterinsurgency academic/ defeae intellectual who blogs under the name Abu Muqawama (meaning roughly "insurgency/resistance expert")
posted by Bwithh at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


(previously on this issue)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:06 PM on April 2, 2013


*hugs the Catskill/Delaware Watershed SO HARD*
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The writer captures the flavor of our region very well.

From the first link:
... si vis pacem, para bellum. Translated into the Tenneessean: If you’re a-lookin’ for peace, best get ready for the warrin’.
...

The wars of the 9/11 era have demonstrated the perils of fighting heavily armed religious fundamentalists on their own soil. We Tennessee Presbyterians are a little like the Taliban — only certainly better armed and probably less tolerant of the Roman Catholic Church. Still, if Georgia wants to invade and occupy East Tennessee, it is welcome to try. Getting in should be easy. Getting out, however, is another matter entirely.
_____
Andrew Exum is an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He led U.S. Army Rangers in Iraq and Afghanistan and had his father mail boxes of Moon Pies to both.
posted by maggieb at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's the night that the water went out of Georgia. That's the night when they surveyed the wrong land....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2013


This post is tongue in cheek - the issue is real. Risk of water wars rises with scarcity: "Almost half of humanity will face water scarcity by 2030 and strategists from Israel to Central Asia prepare for strife." Water Wars? Here In The US?
Water Conflict Chronology
Zero Hedge (your usual source for clear-headed calm advice): The Coming Water Wars
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ever'body knows all the words to the Tennessee fight song.
posted by maggieb at 12:27 PM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Uh, hi. East Tennessee here. It helps a bit, in understanding the tribalism of this area, to acknowledge how it got this way. Under the British, it was illegal for Catholics to own land here and the European settlers were almost exclusively Scots-Irish. The terrain here is very challenging; communities stayed small and isolated. It was extremely uncommon for mountain families to own slaves, both because the plantation system is unworkable in rough country and because of widespread poverty in the mountains. In the words of Horace Kephart in the incomparable book Our Southern Highlanders:

In 1728, when Colonel William Byrd, of Westover, was running the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, he finally was repulsed by parallel chains of savage, unpeopled mountains that rose tier beyond tier to the westward, everywhere densely forested, and matted into jungle by laurel and other undergrowth. In his Journal, writing in the quaint, old-fashioned way, he said: “Our country has now been inhabited more than 130 years by the English, and still we hardly know anything of the Appalachian Mountains, that are nowhere above 250 miles from the sea. Whereas the French, who are later comers, have rang’d from Quebec Southward as far as the Mouth of Mississippi, in the bay of Mexico, and to the West almost as far as California, which is either way above 2,000 miles.”

A hundred and thirty years later, the same thing could have been said of these same mountains; for the “fierce and uncouth races of men” that Poe faintly heard of remained practically undiscovered until they startled the nation on the scene of our Civil War, by sending 180,000 of their riflemen into the Union Army.
Little kinship is felt here with the people of the Georgia Piedmont. I don't foresee Tennessee voluntarily handing over water rights to Georgia, except perhaps as part of a football wager.
posted by workerant at 12:47 PM on April 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


Exum is not just a loyal native of Tennessee and US Army Ranger veteran , he's also a very smart counterinsurgency academic/ defeae intellectual who blogs under the name Abu Muqawama (meaning roughly "insurgency/resistance expert")

What a terrifically smart and interesting blog--thanks for mentioning it.
posted by yoink at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


What strikes me as extra-silly about Georgia's water grab is that they're using a man-made lake as the excuse for having access to that water system. Were I Tennessee, I'd fill in that lake.
posted by Malor at 12:56 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a parent who has to explain crap like that my kid, and as a human being who just hates uncouth asshattery, truck nutz make me want to punch a motherfucker.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:04 PM on April 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


We Tennessee Presbyterians are a little like the Taliban — only certainly better armed and probably less tolerant of the Roman Catholic Church.

Uncontrolled cackling from this East Tennessean. I have never been any other place with as weird and wild a mix of racism, intolerance, deep loyalty, centuries-old grudges, anti-law sentiment (unless the sheriff's your uncle), honor and hospitality culture, and a deep vein of intense interpersonal sweetness that means total strangers will give you the shirt off their backs but steal your prescription medication while doing so. I'm so glad I grew up there. A good immersive dunking in Appalachian culture will prepare you for just about anything else.

Also, lay off with the truck nutz hate. It's an ancient and venerable tradition.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:06 PM on April 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Mountain people are surprisingly alike the world over, it seems
posted by C.A.S. at 1:12 PM on April 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I realize that this article is meant tongue-in-cheek, but as a Southerner, I find the maps of how they would defend their territory with lethal force more than a little disturbing.

I guess I'm not in on the joke, though.
posted by Kitteh at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Were I Tennessee, I'd fill in that lake.

I seem to recall that lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which means that the State of Tennessee is unlikely to have any authority over it.

Of course, if Georgia were to succeed, they would find that they also did not have control of that water source, it being created and controlled by the TVA. Oops.

To me, this should end simply. Nobody took any *action* to correct this error for decades -- the earliest I can see about a complaint was 1890, the line was surveyed in 1818. To me, this is tacit acceptance, and the border of Tennessee and Georgia was thus redefined as that line, not as the formerly agreed line. If Georgia had complained in, say, 1820 that the line was improperly surveyed, then, to me, they would have a clear case for that land, and the fact that this has been ignored for all that time would be a grave injustice.

But, nope. They didn't bother to notice until over 75 years later. Too bad, so sad. You were obviously good with it, so you can't whine about it now.

Indeed, how about this for fun? Tennessee should argue that Georgia's claim is made extinct by the State of Georgia's succession from the United States of America in 1861. This would be fun if only to make Georgia officially argue, in front of the Supreme Court, that they, in fact, did not secede.
posted by eriko at 1:25 PM on April 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Indeed, how about this for fun? Tennessee should argue that Georgia's claim is made extinct by the State of Georgia's succession from the United States of America in 1861. This would be fun if only to make Georgia officially argue, in front of the Supreme Court, that they, in fact, did not secede.

There's precedent, actually. I don't totally understand the details, but I think the summary is that they officially never left.
posted by hoyland at 1:35 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Appalachia is really another world. I ventured out to a small town with a population of about 150 people in western, va, near the West Virginia border. The only radio station playing Christian music and bluegrass, people walking around in camo, the food trucks at the food festival we went to mostly run by fundamentalist churches offering salvation with the loaded baked potatoes, and no cell reception or wifi to be found. They had a general store, instead of a supermarket. It's as isolated as I've ever felt in America, and it's only a few hours away from the Capitol.
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on April 2, 2013


Great April fools. Who would believe that Tennessee is still a state?
posted by dr_dank at 1:37 PM on April 2, 2013


I know the attention here is on Tennessee, but for me there is a more interesting issue. This is another example of bad faith by Georgia officials with regard to water rights.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 1:44 PM on April 2, 2013


Appalachia is really another world.

Well, really, it's a lot like most non-urban America, particularly any place where there's natural geographic features that can block cellphone signals. Also, there's an area not far from the Capital where cell towers are banned due to the radio astronomy taking place in the nearby mountains.

My family's from Appalachia (Southwest Virginia - though, family did move down into East Tennessee later), and while my visits have been sparing in nature, I have always quite enjoyed them.

As for the post, I like that they remind me of Civil War battle drawings. I visited Lookout Mountain and it's a fascinating experience, particularly when you consider the battle that occurred there. If I had the time (I don't), I'd love to compare his tactics against the Union and Confederate movements and battles in the area during the war.
posted by Atreides at 1:45 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"As a soldier, I fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan; as a scholar, I performed most of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation in southern Lebanon. Nowhere in the world, though, have I ever encountered a more brutal, tribal and violent race of people than the Scots-Irish of East Tennessee."

I've been sending this quote to my relatives back east ever since I read this yesterday. At least, the relatives I am not afraid of.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:51 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about if Georgia (well, Atlanta) just get a little smarter about growth and whatnot? Also, eriko is absolutely correct - that lake is controlled by the TVA. And by the way, the Tennessee River also feeds directly into Alabama, which is already embroiled with Georgia in the aforementioned tri-state water dispute.

- signed, former Atlantan and adopted Middle Tennessean.
posted by jquinby at 1:53 PM on April 2, 2013


[opens coat, displays Lake Huron]
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on April 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


Is this one of those Alien vs. Predator thingies?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't foresee Tennessee voluntarily handing over water rights to Georgia, except perhaps as part of a football wager.

I know the faith of the Vol fan is nigh unshakable, but after the last few years, I would hazard that only the last living Johnny Majors fan would make this bet and even then with some caution.
posted by teleri025 at 2:05 PM on April 2, 2013


[opens coat, displays Lake Huron]

You mean Lake Michigan-Huron, since they are hydraulically the same lake, thanks to the the Straits of Mackinac. Water flows either way, depending, and keeps the surface of the combined lake at about 577' above sea level. NOAA has a schematic of the entire Great Lakes hydrosystem that shows this clearly. The main inflow, besided rainfall, etc., to the lake is from the St. Mary's River from Lake Superior, the outflow is to the St. Clair river to Lake St. Clair, and thence to Lakes Erie, Ontario, and the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Signed --
Me, down by the Chicago Diversion.
posted by eriko at 2:07 PM on April 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Little kinship is felt here with the people of the Georgia Piedmont.

Everything Exum (and workerant) wrote about eastern Tennessee applies just as well to western North Carolina, whose residents have far more in common with the people across the state line than in Raleigh or Charlotte. And it really is a whole other world. As someone born in Raleigh, but whose entire family going back to colonial times hails from what is now Mitchell County, I can't explain to you how odd it was to go back and forth between the two places growing up.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:09 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember checking out a "tribal" wall map in a Belfast police station back in the 80s.

I also saw this charming banner on city hall (protesting the Anglo-Irish accord), to make it clear to everyone concerned that the Protestants owned the municipal government.

You'll a huge spectrum of attitudes regarding race and religion within any given Scots-Irish family. It's too bad that as a society, when times get difficult, the very worst bullies and criminals seem to have a way of stepping in to take charge.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2013


. Under the British, it was illegal for Catholics to own land here and the European settlers were almost exclusively Scots-Irish.

If you're implying that the Scots-Irish are or ever were Catholic or knowingly countenance papists in their midst, well, thems some serious fighting words.
posted by fshgrl at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2013


[opens coat, displays Lake Huron]

Weeeeelll I suppose that's a lake. In a sort of, at least you're not embarrassing yourself fashion. [glances out the window at Superior]
posted by edgeways at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Something about this discussion is confusing me! Is this part of the river (and Nickajack lake), west of Chattanooga, part of Appalachia? I never thought it was.
posted by zoetrope at 2:55 PM on April 2, 2013


Is this part of the river (and Nickajack lake), west of Chattanooga, part of Appalachia?

According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, Appalachia extends clear to the other side of Franklin County.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:23 PM on April 2, 2013


> I don't totally understand the details, but I think the summary is that they officially never left.

The war was won by the side that said "you guys can't secede because secession isn't possible."
posted by jfuller at 4:35 PM on April 2, 2013


But the greater Atlanta area is a horrible twisted mess of concrete overpasses and far-flung skyscrapers. Once south of Cartersville, it’s easy to understand why William Tecumseh Sherman thought it wisest to just burn the whole place down and start over.

Oooooh burn.

Heh.
posted by The Michael The at 4:45 PM on April 2, 2013


Someone make this into an Avalon Hill scenario STAT.
posted by daHIFI at 5:59 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"As a soldier, I fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan; as a scholar, I performed most of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation in southern Lebanon. Nowhere in the world, though, have I ever encountered a more brutal, tribal and violent race of people than the Scots-Irish of East Tennessee."

Related: my recent FPP on the history of violence, honor, and Southern culture.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:20 PM on April 2, 2013


No blood for TruckNutz!
posted by homunculus at 9:33 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


15 miles north of Lake Sakakawea. We'll do just fine once all these oil folks leave.
posted by Ber at 9:40 PM on April 2, 2013


Well, well, well. *polishes crystal ball smugly*
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:53 AM on April 3, 2013


Piedmont NC reporting in to confirm that both those areas are chock full of cray cray.

Oddly enough, the water thing is sort of a thing these days. I grew up in a county that pulled it's water from a river. I went to college in the next county over, where they pulled their water from a lake. The term "water restriction" was foreign to me until that time.

Heck, they even had some sort of weird color coded numeric system, ranging from days that you could only water your lawn on even/odd numbered days based on your house number to the fully blown restaurants can't put water on the table unless it's specifically asked for type of thing.

But heck, as long as this generation's inverted Sherman stays on 75 and doesn't try to get all sneaky flanking in from 26, I'm okay with whatever.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:46 AM on April 3, 2013


Of all the places to develop a water problem, Georgia deserves the least sympathy. The thought of diverting water from a navigable waterway that's in use, so that suburbanites can keep on watering their lawns, is obscene enough as it is. But what's worse is that suburban Atlanta's insane level of paving is the reason for this water shortage. Every decent rain washes right off to sea, instead of lingering through the woods and meadows. This is a self inflicted problem, inflicted for the most frivolous of reasons.

MA will side with TN.
posted by ocschwar at 9:27 AM on April 3, 2013


Sadly, there's currently no part of the American political spectrum that's willing to take overpopulation seriously.

Also: I grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. We're the folks that got kicked out of the Appalachians...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This would be an awesome Kickstarter campaign!
posted by newdaddy at 9:51 PM on April 3, 2013


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