May 25, 2020

Republican Candidate Sean Parnell has a problem with the NYTimes editorial board.

Let me explain what's going on here.

Sean Parnell is the presumptive candidate for the Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District - Representative Conor Lamb's seat and yesterday, he posted this on his Facebook page:
Hey The New York Times editorial board,

You could have dropped this next week. It’s BS that you’d put this article out on Memorial Day Weekend.

The focus should be on veterans of every generation who gave their lives for our nation, not clicks for your paper.

It’s classless.
Here's the NYTimes editorial he dislikes. The title of the editorial is:

Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?

Sean has an issue with the piece "dropping" on Memorial Day Weekend though let's give him benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn't have an issue with the topic itself.

But let's look a little deeper into the piece anyway.

After pointing out a history of racial toxicity in the US Military, the board starts a discussion of some of the 10 Army Bases named for Confederate Officers, explaining:
Apologists often describe the names as a necessary gesture of reconciliation in the wake of the Civil War. In truth, the namings reflect a federal embrace of white supremacy that found its most poisonous expression in military installations where black servicemen were deliberately placed under the command of white Southerners — who were said to better “understand” Negroes — and confined to substandard housing, segregated transportation systems and even “colored only” seating in movie houses.
The first base the board discusses is Fort Pickett, an Army National Guard base in Virginia.

In case you didn't know, George Picket resigned his commission in the Union Army (he was a Captain) in 1861 in order to fight for the Confederacy (where he eventually became a Brigadier General) and is famous for "Pickett's Charge", an ill-fated attack at the Battle of Gettysburg that resulted in 6,000+ dead Confederate soldiers.

He also oversaw the execution of almost two dozen Union soldiers in 1864. Fearing a war crimes trial, he fled to Canada until General Ulysses Grant stopped the trial's investigation. Is this a good candidate for a US Army base name? A guy who oversaw the execution American soldiers?

Then there's this from the board about Fort Benning, the second military base discussed:
The federal government embraced pillars of the white supremacist movement when it named military bases in the South. Consider, for example, Fort Benning, Ga., which honors a Confederate general, Henry Lewis Benning, who devoted himself to the premise that African-Americans were not really human and could never be trusted with full citizenship.

Benning was widely influential in Southern politics and served on the Supreme Court of Georgia before turning his attentions to the cause of secession. In a now famous speech in 1861, he told secession conventioneers in Virginia that his native state of Georgia had left the union for one reason — to “prevent the abolition of her slavery.”
Gen Benning saw action at the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Antietam, and the Battle of Gettysburg (among others). How many Union soldiers died due to those under Benning's command?

Then there's Fort Bragg:
Among the other Confederate officers honored at Southern military bases are merely undistinguished or flatly incompetent commanders like the irascible Gen. Braxton Bragg — “the most hated man of the Confederacy,” one biographer calls him. Bragg was known for pettiness and cruelty, along with the battlefield failures that eventually led to his being relieved of command.
Bragg commanded troops at the Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Chickamouga, and the Battle of Chattanooga (among others). How many Union soldiers died due to those under Bragg's command?

All three Generals; Pickett, Benning and Bragg, abandoned the United States of America for The Confederacy, fought for the cause of slavery and, in doing so, commanded troops that actually killed Union soldiers.

So on this Memorial Day I have to ask, what would be a good day to discuss the naming of these US Army bases?

I suppose it would be classless to celebrate, for one instance, a general who executed nearly a couple dozen Union soldiers. Or one who believed that African-Americans aren't fully human. Or any one who gave aid and comfort to an enemy (in this case the Confederacy).

But that's just me.