History itself refutes Pitts’ logic over Confederate flag
Monday, March 17, 2008
Leonard Pitts, in his column March 5, "Nazis had ‘heritage,’ too," issued a challenge for anyone to refute his "logic" in his condemnation of the Confederate flag and those who support its symbolism of the South’s heroism and dedication of Confederate soldiers to their home states in the Civil War.
He said, "The one thing they will not be able to do – this matters to me, though it will not matter to them – is refute a single word of what I said." And here are the words that he said: "They will tell you the Civil War was not about slavery. Remind them that the president and vice president of the so-called ”Confederate States of America” both said it was. Remind them that it is political leaders – not grunts – who decide whether and why a war is waged."
And, "They will tell you the flag just celebrates heritage. Remind them that heritage is not a synonym for good. After all, Nazis have a heritage, too."
As to the first claim that political leaders decide why a war is waged, Mr. Pitts might be interested in the words of Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Horace Greeley in 1862. "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery." Or perhaps words from Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address: "I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution – which amendment, however, I have not seen – has passed Congress, to the effect that the federal government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the states, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." (Emphasis added.)
In his July 9, 2005, column, Mr. Pitts said, "This is how Mr. Bush put it last year: ‘We are staying on the offensive – striking terrorists abroad – so we do not have to face them here at home.”" Did Mr. Pitts accept "political leader" Bush’s reason for the war? Read this from his column: "So, maybe it’s time we called a halt to this absurd game of claiming the war President Bush chose to fight in Iraq was ever about terrorism."
From the above, I believe we can draw conclusions.
1) That "political leaders" on different sides of a conflict characterize the reason for the conflict differently.
2) That Mr. Pitts is willing to accept the statements of only some "political leaders" as to the reason for a particular war.
Then, as to whether a flag may symbolize something "good" even though it is seen by some to symbolize evil, I suggest that Mr. Pitts search his own feelings about the American flag. Certainly, to some, it symbolizes Abu Ghraib. To some, it symbolizes the killing of innocent civilians in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, Guatemala, Japan, Germany, you name it. Is there sufficient evil to condemn the flying of the flag of the United States?
Finally, how does Mr. Pitts feel about honoring the veterans of the wars in which the United States was in the wrong (in his opinion)? Should those veterans be allowed to be proud to have served under the flag of the United States, or should they be ashamed of the flag and refuse to display it?
And, as a postscript; implying any comparison of the heritage of the Confederacy with the heritage of Nazis in WWII is reprehensible.