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May 20, 2008

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This is of a piece with the whole "Centrist"/"Decent" obsession with Confederate apologetics.

Thus the 1800s gender requirement. See also Isaiah.

Richard Cohen pens an odd column today...

Gee, I wonder why the traditional newspaper model is failing? If Richard Cohen had a blog (absent being a columnist) how many hits do you think he'd get? The question answers itself. Not only is his column not worth paying money for, but it's not worth even the time it takes to read (unless you are going to blog about it).

Haven't we had enough of a President who thinks refusing to quit is the essence of leadership?

The UN was called over dem voting. Florida and the voting loss.

No one will say who called the UN over the dem voting and Obama and Clinton don't want to admit they've already lost.

"This is of a piece with the whole 'Centrist'/'Decent' obsession with Confederate apologetics."

I haven't followed this. Do you have a couple of pointers to offer, perhaps?

Or perhaps I'm the only one who isn't quite sure what you're referring to.

God knows I hate Confederate apologetics. I have plans to piss on as many Confederate graves and statutes as I can get away with now that I'm a resident of North Carolina.

"In short, the United States would have had a dramatically different history — not for the better — if Lee had indeed been, as Cohen claims, a “bitter-ender.”"

Publius is exactly right.

My thought when I read the Cohen article was,

"Yeah, Robert E. Lee wasn't vilified for fighting too long; he was vilified because he chose to fight on the side of evil!"

But then, I grew up in New England.

Given that his column--in 2008!--says that Hillary lost in part because of "Clinton fatigue" and apparently believes that women cannot be misogynist, I think that "odd" is one of the less pungent adjectives you could have used there, Publius.

Along with your point about Lee, wasn't it the bitter enders (like Nathan Forrest, I believe) who ended up forming the KKK? Now there's a good model for Hillary's brigade.

apparently believes that women cannot be misogynist

Yeah, I picked up on that as well. Has Cohen never heard of Phyllis Schlafly?

Along with your point about Lee, wasn't it the bitter enders (like Nathan Forrest, I believe) who ended up forming the KKK? Now there's a good model for Hillary's brigade.

No, it really isn't. In fact, it's pretty offensive.

"Richard Cohen pens an odd column today...."

This proposition is true for any day on which Cohen pens a column.

"Thus the 1800s gender requirement. See also Isaiah."

Hunh?

If Lee had changed his name to Roberta E. Lee and donned gingham and a bonnet he could have batted his eyes at the Union Army from the veranda and we wouldn't have had to wait 100 years for Lester Maddox to learn to spell Appomattox.

My philosophy in the face of impending war is to find out precisely what the gender requirements are and do exactly the opposite, the better to avoid the front lines.

If the front lines give way, being a flexible person, I'm happy to reinstate the gender requirements you speak of, the better to avoid the raping, pillaging, and plundering in the back lines, especially the raping.

They can have the stereo.

See also Ike and Tina Turner.

Gary Farber:

"I have plans to piss on as many Confederate graves and statutes as I can get away with ...."

A piddling point, but I 'm pretty sure North Carolina has statutes against that sort of behavior.

"A piddling point, but I 'm pretty sure North Carolina has statutes against that sort of behavior."

Perhaps as I can get away with isn't clear.

Call it civil disobedience, or call it disrespectful, or call it a misdemeanor, but I'm well aware of the possible consequences.

Specifically:

§ 14‑148. Defacing or desecrating grave sites.

(a) It is unlawful to willfully:

(1) Throw, place or put any refuse, garbage or trash in or on any cemetery.

(2) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy or change the location of any stone, brick, iron or other material or fence enclosing a cemetery without authorization of law or consent of the surviving spouse or next of kin of the deceased.

(3) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy, or tamper with any shrubbery, flowers, plants or other articles planted or placed within any cemetery to designate where human remains are interred or to preserve and perpetuate the memory and name of any person, without authorization of law or the consent of the surviving spouse or next of kin.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Ordinary maintenance and care of a cemetery by the owner, caretaker, or other person acting to facilitate cemetery operations by keeping the cemetery free from accumulated debris or other signs of neglect.

(2) Conduct that is punishable under G.S. 14‑149.

(3) A professional archaeologist as defined in G.S. 70‑28(4) acting pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 70 of the General Statutes.

(c) Violation of this section is a Class I felony if the damage caused by the violation is one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more. Any other violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In passing sentence, the court shall consider the appropriateness of restitution or reparation as a condition of probation under G.S. 15A‑1343(b)(9) as an alternative to actual imposition of a fine, jail term, or both. (1840, c. 6; R.C., c. 34, s. 102; Code, s. 1088; Rev., s. 3680; C.S., s. 4320; 1969, c. 987; 1981, c. 752, s. 1; c. 853, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 87; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2007‑122, s. 1.)

And:
§ 14‑147. Removing, altering or defacing landmarks.

If any person, firm or corporation shall knowingly remove, alter or deface any landmark in anywise whatsoever, or shall knowingly cause such removal, alteration or defacement to be done, such person, firm or corporation shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to landmarks, such as creeks and other small streams, which the interest of agriculture may require to be altered or turned from their channels, nor to such persons, firms or corporations as own the fee simple in the lands on both sides of the lines designated by the landmarks removed, altered or defaced. Nor shall this section apply to those adjoining landowners who may by agreement remove, alter or deface landmarks in which they alone are interested. (1858‑9, c. 17; Code, s. 1063; Rev., s. 3674; 1915, c. 248; C.S., s. 4319; 1993, c. 539, s. 86; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

What, you expected me to, ah, go off half-cocked?

I think that "odd" is one of the less pungent adjectives you could have used there, Publius.

you have no idea how many snarky adjectives i deleted. cohen brings out the worst in me for some reason (wanker readings off the chart), so i tried to deliberately err on being non-snarky, hoping to strike some acceptable balance

Richard Cohen? The bonehead who wrote " With the sentencing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill. At the urging of the liberal press (especially the New York Times), he was appointed to look into a run-of-the-mill leak and wound up prosecuting not the leaker -- Richard Armitage of the State Department -- but Libby, convicted in the end of lying. This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.", or claims that he doesn't need algebra?
The odd part is that he is a Washington Post Columnist. The sad part is that he is an alleged liberal.

"Choosing guerrilla war would have made post-war North/South tensions even more poisonous than they were (with longer lasting effects)."

"Were"? You wish - just wait until the Army goes ahead and gets rid of the greens uniform and the blues uniform becomes the one remaining dress uniform, and all those proud sons of the South (about 50% of the officer corps) have to wear Union blue.

Publius,

Richard Cohen needs you -- or someone w/ as keen an eye -- as his editor.

Not that it matters much to this thread, but many historians have opined that Lee kept the war going much longer than necessary -- that his Appomattox surrender came far later than necessary. He had the influence to have ended the war sooner, and thought it lost many months prior to the end. see">http://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Drobert%2Be%2Blee%2Bfight%2Btoo%2Blong%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=2&cad=bottom-3results#PPA132,M1">see discussion pages 130-132. Lee's surrender statement referred to further casualties as a "useless sacrifice," but that had been the case for months.

What he does deserve credit for is ending it in a manner that lessened the rancor.

I haven't followed this. Do you have a couple of pointers to offer, perhaps?

Offhand, I'm afraid not. I was following this on Orcinus, alicublog and a few others, though, if that's any help; the catch is that Confederate apologetics is often gussied up as "respect for southern traditions" or the like, which makes it a little hard to identify on first glance.

Along with your point about Lee, wasn't it the bitter enders (like Nathan Forrest, I believe) who ended up forming the KKK?

The original one, kind of. [It's complicated.] The more modern incarnations, though? Not really; the modern Klan is more of an Ohio Valley phenomenon than a bitter-ender one, although Dave Neiwert at Orcinus has a far more extensive accounting that's worth reading.

Cohen is as full of crap as usual on this one. Lee explicitly made the choice to end the war at Appomattox so as to end the suffering and subsequent recrimination on both sides as rapidly as possible. Could he have quit earlier during the Siege of Petersburg? Sure. And Custer really should have stayed out of the valley of the Little Bighorn. Hindsight is 20:20, except when practiced by Republicans.

IMO, it was clear that the war was lost as the spring campaign of 1864 got going -- this is giving huge benefit of the doubt after Vicksburg -- but Lee held on to see if he could influence the presidential election. It didn't work out.

Not a hero to me, any more than Rommel.

Well, CharleyCarp, if you want to say that, then the war was really lost on the afternoon of July 3, 1863. Or more probably, as darkness fell on May 2, 1863. In hindsight, of course.

Sure. But that's why I say that even without hindsight, after Wilderness a blind man could see that it was over. The question was whether the North could stand the casualties, or would fire Lincoln. Gen. Sherman may well have closed that deal at Atlanta in September.

I'm a Yankee liberal but I would hesitate to label all Confederates as evil for fighting to defend their homeland's sovereignty (and as I understand it, the notion of STATE sovereignty was much stronger than it is now). I am disgusted by many of the U.S.'s current policies, but if the U.N. decided to actually invade the US and take over the government to stop them, I would (probably) fight on the side of the U.S.

Lee took an oath the support and defend the US Constitution. He resigned his commission because he didn't want to do so. This is pretty different from opposing a foreign invasion.

States seceded over one issue and one issue only. Hmmm, it's something each of them had in common, and which was different with nearly (but not completely) all the other states. Which wasn't the extent to which states felt sovereignty. Minnesota, Mississippi, Vermont, South Carolina faced the same theoretical challenge to state's rights, but a different challenge to one particular right.

'I have plans to piss on as many Confederate graves and statutes as I can get away with ....'

"A piddling point, but I 'm pretty sure North Carolina has statutes against that sort of behavior."

Perhaps as I can get away with isn't clear.

I may be shooting wildly off mark here, but I got the impression that John was trying to take the piss out of you for a presumed mistaken substitution of "statutes" for "statues".

no family in nc, but i have family in sc who were confederate veterans. not all of them were inveterate racists fighting for their slaveholdings back home. some of em were just the same poor dumb kids who get sent off to die in every war. some of my relatives survived to be poor dumb folks that didn't die in a war. pissing on their graves isn't a gesture of defiance at the folks who profited from and forced a war over slavery.

i have no apology for the reasons the southern states committed treason against the US. but i also don't want anyone pissing on any of my family's graves.

Before I got married, my best friend and I were trying to come up with something "fun" to do in lieu of a bachelor party. The best idea we came up with was renting a van, making some homemade thermite, driving to Tennessee, and annihilating a statue or monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest. The guy has something like 30 monuments dedicated to him in TN: he's extremely popular.

During the Civil War, he was known for killing all Union prisoners that were black after the fighting stopped, amongst other atrocities and war crimes. After the war, he cofounded the KKK. He was a vile monster.

Alas, the wife to be expressed some concern about inaugurating our marital bliss with what the FBI would no doubt consider to be domestic terrorism, so there was no trip.

I have plans to piss on as many Confederate graves

I hope to hell that's just talk, but even if it is it's ugly talk.

Wasn't there a wave of righteousness here just recently about how terrible and wrong and regrettable it is that anyone blamed the soldiers for the war they fought?

Go to wherever that bastard Jefferson Davis is buried and piss on his grave. Leave the grunts alone.

And get a grip on your self-righteousness and what you seem to think it entitles you to.

Dear Hilzoy: I hope you are well.

For once, I agree with you. Gen. Lee, if he had heeded Jefferson Davis' desperate, futile orders, could indeed have gone the way of guerrilla war in April, 1865. With incalculable, and almost entirely baleful consequences for us today.

And not just Lee, but also Generals Joseph Johnston and Kirby Smith deserve this credit. As commanders of the last major rebel armies after Lee's surrender, they too could have tried the way of guerrilla war. It was to their great credit they refused to obey Jefferson Davis' orders to continue a hopeless struggle this way.

I could quibble and argue that after the fall of Vicksburg and Lee's defeat at Gettysburg in 1863, it was plain the rebel states could not win the war. And THAT was by far the best time to have surrendered. The policy of attrition warfare pursued by the Confederates after those two crucial defeats was not likely to work. Unless, of course, the US had lost the will to conquer.

Sincerely, Sean

Correction: I address my last comment to Hilzoy by mistake. It should have been to Publius.

Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

Sincerely, Sean

Not a hero to me, any more than Rommel.

The analogy would be more apt if Lee had been murdered in 1864 for his involvement in a plot to depose Jefferson Davis . . .

yes, I was pointing out "statutes", when "statues" was probably what Gary intended.

I've always wondered about statutes prohibiting micturating on statues. What about those statues of cherubs and such peeing into fountains?

Seems like reverse discrimination to me.

To tell the truth, if one has had too much to drink, the statue is usually just a leaning post while one relieves oneself, occifer.

Also, I have a feeling Gary was being sarcastic about marking his new territory down there in North Carolina.

I even think he was doing a little self-parody by quoting chapter and verse regarding their statue desecration statutes.

I could be wrong.

If it was sarcasm, or a joke on Gary's part, then I apologize. I missed the humor.

And not just Lee, but also Generals Joseph Johnston and Kirby Smith deserve this credit.

For loosely defined values of "credit".

Lee took an oath the support and defend the US Constitution. He resigned his commission because he didn't want to do so.

Under which, at the time, no person of African descent could claim any rights whatsoever. Lincoln was the one fighting against the Constitution, not Lee.

Dear Anarch: I hope you are well.

And I would still give credit to where credit is due. Lee, Johnston, and Kirby Smith all refused to prolong the conflict thru guerrilla war. That IS to their credit.

Sincerely, Sean

I'm not sure why we should be crediting them: a guerrilla war was not an option because it could not bring about the CSA's goals. The generals were smart enough to realize that even if Davis was too stupid to understand.

The CSA valued enforcing a racial caste system over maintaining pure absolute political control per se. And while guerilla warfare might have given them a shot at maintaining political control of the south after many years, it would not have allowed them to dominate and terrorize ex-slaves. What they ended up doing was far a better way of achieving that goal: they "surrendered", reintegrated into the federal power structure, and launched a vast wave of domestic terrorism aimed to ensuring that ex-slaves had no more political power than they did before they were freed. This allowed them to keep their racial caste system at the cost of "official" control. Not a bad deal if you think that South Africa was too nice to blacks.

I doubt any actual adding of moisture will be done by me, but even as a bit of rhetoric, I in fact had in mind only statues of specific Confederate leaders I despise, such as, say, William Lawrence Saunders, and, for that matter, someone long dead before the Civil War, specifically Andrew Jackson, whom I despise greatly.

But I rather imagine I won't be engaging in more than rhetoric, and, no, I didn't mean random Confederate soldiers.

But I'm not very fond of apologetics for the Confederacy, and I don't regard veterans of it as more worthy of honor than veterans of the Wehrmacht. I'm kinda down on racist regimes that were based on, say, slavery, or genocide; I'm funny that way.

(Note for people with reading problems: I didn't say how much honor I thought veterans of the Wehrmacht deserved, did I? So please don't confuse your imagination with what I wrote; if I choose to be non-specific, it's deliberate.)

Dear Turbulence. I hope you are well.

Yes, I agree the professional generals probably understood better than Jefferson Davis how futile useless a guerrilla war would be. No argument there.

As for the system for oppressing ex slaves in the South codified in the Jim Crow laws, I doubt anyone had any thing like that in mind in 1865. The Jim Crow laws needed about thiry years after the surrender to reach their mature form. And first had to wait till Reconstruction finally ended in 1877.

Sincerely, Sean

Yeah, I picked up on that as well. Has Cohen never heard of Phyllis Schlafly?

Disagreeing with feminism does not make you a misogynist.

Disagreeing with AIPAC does not make you anti-semitic or a self-loathing Jew.

Better rhetoric and logicians please. Less fallacies for all.

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