April 11, 2010

CNN Commentor: Confederate Soldiers Were All Terrorists

How horrible it must be to view your world through a prism like that that blinds CNN's Roland Martin. The poor man is so conflicted by his own bigotry that he can't tell the difference between Confederate soldiers of the Civil War and al Qaeda terrorists.

When you make the argument that the South was angry with the North for "invading" its "homeland," Osama bin Laden has said the same about U.S. soldiers being on Arab soil. He has objected to our bases in Saudi Arabia, and that's one of the reasons he has launched his jihad against us. Is there really that much of a difference between him and the Confederates? Same language; same cause; same effect.

If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young Muslim radicals who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings?

If the Sons of Confederate Veterans use as a talking point the vicious manner in which people in the South were treated by the North, doesn't that sound exactly like the Taliban saying they want to kill Americans for the slaughter of innocent people in Afghanistan?

Defenders of the Confederacy say that innocent people were killed in the Civil War; hasn't the same argument been presented by Muslim radicals in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places where the U.S. has tangled with terrorists?

We can't on the one hand justify the actions of Confederates as being their duty as valiant men of the South, and then condemn the Muslim extremists who want to see Americans die a brutal death. These men are held up as honorable by their brethren, so why do Americans see them as different from our homegrown terrorists?

Implied Roland Martin's bizarre comparison is a direct parallel between Fort Sumter and the 9/11 terror attacks.

Does CNN really want to stand behind this view?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 11, 2010 03:08 PM

CNN's rating are so low, not too many people even know about this except those die-hards who still live in a cave and haven't discovered other cable news! But it is still an outrage, and this will (or should) hurt their ratings even more, at a time that they need to do something POSITIVE.

Enough of that, I am outraged that it was even said, no matter who or where. My grandfather, his brothers, uncles, and great grandfather all served in WWII, WW1, Civil War... They were ALL generals, colonels, have multi-purple heart awards, just to name a few. I can't take it when people actually believe this - they aparently had no one in their family serve who could tell them stories of what they went through to keep us free and safe. My grandfather wouldn't even tell me some of them, but he didn't particularly enjoy the beach much if that tells you anything.

I guess I shouldn't let people like this bother me since they are simply showing their ignorance. Like I said at the beginning, at least there aren't many people who saw it!

Posted by: Jennifer at April 11, 2010 04:09 PM

Well the CNN guy is making a much more nuanced argument than saying that Ft Sumter = 9-11, and you know that of course, you're just going for full outrage mode to try and frame the conversation.

However, you have to realize you leave yourself open to this sort of thing when you call Iraqi men who fire upon the US Army in Baghdad terrorists, but want to call the men who fired upon the US Army at Ft. Sumter heros.

Posted by: Jim at April 11, 2010 04:20 PM

Evidently, CNN has abandoned anything like a mainstream audience in pursuit of MSNBC's four or five nutjob viewers. Wonder how long their parent company can keep footing the bill for their losses.

Posted by: Dr. Horrible at April 11, 2010 05:02 PM


Whoever is using the term terrorists in the way you describe is obviously using the wrong term. Insurgents or rebels (since they are against their own country also)would be proper phraseology until they set off the bomb in a market to kill civilians in order to make civilians fear their actions. Then they are terrorists because their actions are not targeted at opposing military forces or industrial capacities for the production of war material. In this vein (and the laws of war at the time) the better example of terrorism in the civil war would be "Sherman's March to the Sea" in which the civilians were purposely targeted.

South Carolina had formally seceded (thus meeting the standard of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence). Federal troops were not in Ft. Sumter when South Carolina seceded. On 21 Dec 1860 (just after the secession) an eeditorial in the "Philadelphia Press" stated:

"The government cannot well avoid collecting the federal revenues at all southern ports, even after the passage of succession ordinances..."

On Christmas night 1860, a small garrison of 100 men were moved from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter. As Lincoln stated in his inaugural address, taxes were foremost in his mind. He would collect the taxes. (please note that the tariff on goods imported to the south was the primary source of funds for redistribution to the north such as the fishing subsidies for New England). On April 12th, 1861 (the inaugural address was 4 March), South Carolina conducted an artillery bombardment on Ft. Sumter that killed absolutely no one. When the troops in Ft. Sumter ran out of ammunition shooting back, they surrendered the fort and South Carolina shipped them home.

So, I fail to see much of anything to compare.

Posted by: RRRoark at April 11, 2010 06:05 PM

Unfortunately, CNN will stand behind this ass, Roland Martin... For the record, it wasn't a Civil War...It was a war between the states...BTY...who said it was over???

Posted by: dgj at April 11, 2010 07:03 PM

Good reply. To add to it. Secession is legal via the Constitution. SC excerised its right to withdraw from the contract made with the other states. The only thing that historians disagree on is the method used to secede. So for a parliamentarian step, 600,000 or more people lost their lives.

As to Sumter, Lincoln actually sent three different sets of ships to invade Charleston harbor. This was the catalyst that set off the war, much as when Hitler said that Poland tried to invade Germany in 1939.

As to terrorist, Lincoln was the man on this. His actions can only be compared to Hitler, Stalin and the Japs.

Posted by: David at April 11, 2010 07:10 PM

Also don't forget that Lincoln was an ardent supporter of secession and self-determination... when he was in Congress and the subject was Texas' right to those. Like almost every politician, though, once living up to his alleged principle would have cost him something, he dropped it like a hot potato. "Honest Abe," indeed.

If most of us tried to "preserve" our marital unions like Abe tried to "preserve" the Union, we'd be executed.

Posted by: Dr. Horrible at April 11, 2010 07:59 PM

There's one huge difference Mr. Martin and others here seem to miss: The North and the South were - supposedly - part of the same country. We here in the U.S. are not part of the same country as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. The North invaded the South as one group of countrymen attacking another. They were supposed to be our brothers, we were all supposed to be on the same side. That's not true of our occupying troops. So while the Muslims could have a point, it is not at all the same point the Confederates made with respect to the North.

Sumter was fired on b/c Lincoln broke his promise and tried to reinforce the fort. He had given his word to South Carolina reps that the fort would not be reinforced, lying through his teeth all the time b/c he'd already sent the reinforcements. SC warned Lincoln that the fort would be fired on if he tried to reinforce. So it's clear Lincoln baited the South into firing. The firing on the fort was not an act of terrorism. In fact, the people of Charleston fed the soldiers inside the fort when their rations ran out, and relations b/w the city and the fort were amiable. The attack on the fort was bloodless - no one was hurt and it was over very quickly.

As an aside, anyone who says secession isn't legal has never sat down and thought things through, or read his/her Constitution. Secession is exactly what we did when we declared our independence from Great Britain. If that was legal, so is any other act of secession.

Posted by: KSterling at April 11, 2010 08:32 PM

KSterling I commend your accuracy of the events that started of the War of Northern Aggression however at the point the Confederate States seceded they were in fact sovereign nations. When they formed the CSA they then became one sovereign nation. So they were in fact no longer "countrymen" no more than France, Italy, and Spain are "countrymen" even though at one point they were all under the Roman rule. I hate to seem to nit pick but this is a point that is often glossed over, that Lincoln invaded a sovereign nation that had legally seceded from the United States.

If American Troops in Afghanistan were like the US troops during the War of Succession then they'd go around robbing the Afghan people, destroying their homes and crops, villages, and infrastructure. Martin has his head placed firmly in his posterior. Confederate Troops stuck to rules of engagement and Lee flatly refused to engage in the tactics used by US commanders against the civilian populace.

Posted by: Scott at April 12, 2010 07:41 AM

Thank you Bob. This just reaffirms that CNN are nothing but shills and hacks hawking to the lowest common denominator.

Posted by: Gus Bailey at April 12, 2010 12:10 PM

Scott, you make a good point. However, the "countrymen" part is relevant, because it was Lincoln's call for troops that pretty much decided several states in favor of secession. They felt that if their countrymen were willing to invade fellow states, then they wanted no part of the United States any longer. This is the case for Va. NC, and Tennessee, which seceded after the Lincoln's call for troops (in response to the firing on Sumter). Also, because so many soldiers on both sides had family members fighting for, or living in, the other side, it felt to many, if not most, soldiers that they were fighting their own countrymen. Certainly they were all former countrymen. The distinctions you make, while technically true, were not part of the Southern, or Northern, psyche at the time of the firing on Sumter. The state of the nation, and of the Confederacy (which was so fledgling at the time that it had no real structure) was in rapid flux. Certainly the Confederacy had no real ability to defend its borders, and had no governmental structure in place except on paper - and even that was minimal. At the time of the firing on Sumter, representatives from several Southern states were negotiating with Lincoln in hopes of restoring the Union.

Even after the war had gone on for years, people on both sides continued to think of people on the other side as their fellow countrymen. And in fact that was part of the rhetoric, on both sides, when the war ended.

The various states, whether in the North or the South, sprang from the same initiating event (ie, the Revolutionary War), spoke the same language, and had similar cultures. The comparison of North and South as being equivalent to France and Spain is inaccurate, b/c those nations have no common origin, no common language and no common culture.

Posted by: KSterling at April 12, 2010 01:55 PM

Good points. I might point out that the Yankee army was really not populated by Northern men. About half the arm were immigrants and another quarter were freed slaves.

Posted by: David at April 12, 2010 07:41 PM

Pretty laughable that CNN would take this tack. I'm not sure they really want to go there, considering the conduct of some Federal units on Southern soil during the war. I studied under James McPherson - definitely no Southern apologist - and the reading materials for his civil war class detailed some pretty graphic instances of Union troops' vandalism, pillage, and rape. These atrocities were often perpetrated against the blacks whom the Northerners were supposedly "liberating". But, no, it's the Southerners alone who wore the black hats in CNN's warped world...

Posted by: Nine-of-Diamonds at April 12, 2010 09:46 PM