Showing posts with label civil war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil war. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017


Robert E Lee statue removed in New Orleans
In the midst of protests and controversies about taking down Confederate statues and monuments, seemingly enlightened people state that we judge Robert E Lee too harshly, that he was a complex man who is considered by many to be a person of honor and rectitude.  That may well be, but he led an army of rebellion against the United States to preserve an institution that he himself labeled a moral & political evil.

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.

Robert E Lee's letter to his wife.

How unfortunate that Lee didn't follow his better instincts and side with those who opposed slavery.

Further, after the war ended, Lee expressed his opposition to Confederate monuments when he received letters asking his support for erecting a statue of Stonewall Jackson:

As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that, however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt, in the present condition of the country, would have the effect of retarding instead of accelerating its accomplishment, and of continuing if not adding to the difficulties under which the Southern people labor.

Yes, Lee was a complex man, but, according to the general himself, the country would be a far better place without Confederate monuments.

Picture from Wikipedia.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Syrian President Bashar Assad is a cruel despot, but the US should not involve itself militarily in Syria's civil war. The tangled alliances and relationships in the Middle East change quickly, beyond our abilities to follow or understand, but the civil war is not simply a struggle between the good guys vs. the bad guys.
More than a dozen key Syrian rebel groups said Wednesday that they reject the authority of the Western-backed opposition coalition, as U.N. inspectors returned to the country to continue their probe into chemical weapons attacks.

In a joint statement, 13 rebel groups including a powerful al-Qaida-linked faction but also more mainstream forces slammed the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, saying it no longer represents their interests.

The rebel groups' statement was titled "Communique No. 1," a term used before in Arab countries following military coups that suggests the creation of a new leadership body.

A video released on the Internet showed Abdel-Aziz Salameh, political chief of the Liwaa al-Tawheed brigade that is particularly strong in the city of Aleppo, reading the statement.

The signatories called on all military and civilian forces "to unite under a clear Islamic framework based on Shariah law, which should be the sole source of legislation"— an apparent reference to the al-Qaida faction's aspirations to create an Islamic state in Syria.
Our efforts should be directed toward humanitarian relief of the Syrian people, who are suffering greatly, rather than sending missiles that will surely serve to inflict further suffering.  The plight of the 1 million Syrian refugees who fled to surrounding countries is, in many cases, desperate, and we must focus our attention on giving aid to relieve suffering.  

Friday, June 14, 2013


President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize lethal aid to Syrian rebels marks a deepening of U.S. involvement in the two-year civil war. But U.S. officials are still grappling with what type and how much weaponry to send the opposition forces and how to ensure it stays out of the hands of extremists battling for control of Syria.

U.S. officials confirmed Obama’s authorization Thursday after the White House announced it had conclusive evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces. Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” suggesting greater American intervention.
Sending lethal weapons to rebels in an already violent country will not help end the civil war in Syria.  Not everyone agrees with the decision to arm the rebels nor with the assessment by the White House on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.  I'm getting flashbacks to the pre-Iraq war period.  Why do we persist in thinking that our weapons and military interventions will benefit the people in the countries in the Middle East?  Look at Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan post-intervention by the US?  Can we claim success in even one of the countries?

The rebels don't even want our light weapons.
Initial consignments are expected to consist of small arms and ammunition, which the rebel Free Syrian Army said on Friday would be largely “meaningless.” The Syrian Opposition Coalition called for “strategic and decisive” support.
I'd hoped Obama would resist the pressure to intervene in Syria with military aid. No good will come of this.  When will the citizens of the US have a say in our military interventions abroad?

UPDATE: This morning, I wrote to President Obama of my sadness that he had decided to send weapons to Syria and requested a reply.  This afternoon, I received a reply which included the following:
Dear June:
Thank you for writing.  I have heard from many Americans about issues affecting seniors.  Today’s economic climate further intensifies the unique challenges they face, and I appreciate your perspective.
My Administration continues to support older Americans encountering unfair treatment, financial hardship, or difficulty obtaining health care.  The historic Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare by not only preserving but also expanding benefits for Americans who depend on Medicare every day.  The law has helped more than five million seniors and people with disabilities save an average of over $600 on prescription drugs in the “donut hole” in Medicare coverage.  Additionally, in 2011, more than 32 million seniors received 1 or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.  To learn about help available through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, visit

Thank you, again, for being in touch.


Barack Obama

Blah, blah, blah, with nothing about the subject of my message.  Is this the best the White House staff can do?  Better no reply, n'est-ce pas?

UPDATE 2:  You may want to check Andrew Sullivan's post on sending arms to the Syrian rebels