Home / General / The Dowd Report

The Dowd Report

Comments
/
/
/
280 Views

Are you ready for some treason-in-defense-of-slavery apologia?

President Trump’s personal lawyer on Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — “The
Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” — was a reference to comments Mr. Trump made earlier this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town.

“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”

The contents of the email are at the heart of a roiling controversy over race and history that turned deadly last weekend in Charlottesville, where white nationalist groups clashed with protesters over the planned removal of a statue of Lee. An Ohio man with ties to white nationalist groups drove his car through a crowd, killing one woman and injuring many others, authorities say.

In a fiery news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” for that violence. He said many of those who opposed the statue’s removal were good people protesting the loss of their culture, and he questioned whether taking down statues of Lee could lead to monuments of Washington also being removed.

Here is the very convincing argument:

Most of these false equivalencies rest on an obvious logical error: Washington was a slaveowner, but he is not being honored for his contributions to maintain and expand slavery, which is the only possible reason to celebrate Lee. But the “both men saved America” line is…unique. I can’t wait for Dowd to argue for building memorials to Hitler because his ill-conceived strategy saved the Allied Powers.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Socialist Cubone

    Sure, maybe Lee didn’t save America during the civil war, but think about his contributions to saving America from ruthless Mexican aggression 20 years earlier!

    • Zagarna_84

      Maybe he’s alluding to John Brown?

      I don’t know, I mean, at some point it stops being worth it to try to figure this shit out.

      • solidcitizen

        Maybe he saved America by losing?

        • wjts

          Non-sarcastically, the best explanation I can come up with is that Lee discouraged (or at least didn’t encourage) continued armed/military resistance after the surrender. Which, fine, good for him, but it’s a bit like crediting the arsonist for saving the building by not shooting at the firefighters.

          • mds

            Lee discouraged (or at least didn’t encourage) continued armed/military resistance after

            Yeah, that turned out well.

            • CP

              Yeah, I’m curious now – which is it? Did he actually discourage armed resistance (even if only in a speech or something), or did he simply elect not to take part in it? There are a couple Confederates (actually Longstreet is the only one I can think of offhand) whose post Civil War record constitutes some redemption, but I don’t think Lee was one.

              • wjts

                There was obviously a continuum, with people like Longstreet on one end and people like Forrest on the other. Lee, going by the infallible Wiki, was in the middle. He opposed Congressional Reconstruction and black suffrage, but tried to discourage Southern antagonism towards the Federal government. Mostly, it reads as pleas for white men to come together in a spirit of temperance and comity to forgive old slights. Not admirable, certainly, but better than the Klan.

                • Howard_Bannister

                  And the fact that in this, as in the war, he failed, kind of says something…

                • wjts

                  It says that Lee didn’t have the ability to dismantle a centuries-old system of racial oppression all by himself. You can reasonably fault him for not doing more, but not, I think, for failing.

                • Howard_Bannister

                  …yeah, but the whole “Lee is no different than Washington” thing up top has me feeling pretty vindictively good about emphasizing “and failed at that, too.” So, you know.

                • david spikes

                  How about we just reasonably fault him for being a total traitor and leave it at that?

                • spencer_e9876

                  Well, see, I’m told by someone on Facebook that since they had a difference perception of what it meant to be an American back then, Lee and the rest of the Confederate army and leadership weren’t actually traitors. Men of their times and all that, I guess.

                  Yes, it’s idiotic, but that’s what the man wrote.

                • rea

                  He notably discouraged monuments to the Confederacy

              • Well, to be fair about Longstreet, it’s easier to fit in the US government when Grant is your cousin-in-law.

              • Barry_D

                “Yeah, I’m curious now – which is it? Did he actually discourage armed resistance (even if only in a speech or something), or did he simply elect not to take part in it? ”

                He actually did – read his speech. And he did it for rather pragmatic reasons.

          • MacCheerful

            And yet despite Lee’s tremendous moral authority and saintliness the KKK happened anyway.

          • Bitter Scribe

            As Doktor Zoom said at Wonkette, by that logic you could argue that Adolf Hitler saved America by blowing his brains out.

          • addicted4444

            While having a sniper rifle trained at him about to shoot him if he doesn’t put his gun down.

    • Scott P.

      I think he’s referring to the thesis of “April 1865, the Year that Saved America.” It’s true that Lee chose surrender at Appomattox rather than trying to slip away with a few men. But it ignores the fact that it was clear by then that a guerilla resistance couldn’t defend slavery against Union occupation,and that was the reason they were fighting the war in the first place.

    • david spikes

      He saved it by losing, does it get any nobler than that?

    • firefall

      Well I suppose Lee botched Gettysburg & thus saved America?

  • John Griffone

    Again, that Republican inability to understand context. Washington rebelled against an insane and repressive king who punished the colonies capriciously. Lee rebelled against an elected president who told him he shouldn’t own people.

    • so-in-so

      That king was insane and repressive to an extent justifying rebellion is – disputable. Exactly what Lee did to “save America” is a really good question. Even if you want to go full white supremacist I’d think you’d pick a general who was active in politics or the Klan after the war rather than Lee. Lee’s only really notable action was rebellion, and he lost (the single biggest difference if you want say all slave owners are the same).

    • Karen

      Washington’s greatest contribution to world history is not leading the Continental Army; it was when he retired to Virginia AFTER leading the army and especially after the end of his second term as President. Until the 1980’s, Washington stood as the ONLY military leader of a revolution who left voluntarily instead of becoming a dictator. Whatever else one can say about the man, that action by itself merits every monument built to him.

      • CP

        Agreed.

        That’s kind of why, in the list of “who was the greatest presidents,” Washington seems to win almost by default: he’s the one who made all those who came after him possible.

        • Karen

          I really do wonder why some RW scholar hasn’t mentioned this? There are very good reasons to keep the monuments to Washington but the RW only mentions “hey, he was a slaveowner too!!!”

          This fact is also what distinguishes Washington from Napoleon. Napoleon made himself dictator and emperor, while Washington retired after two elections. That the RW can’t see that distinction tells us something.

          • Van Buren

            Soon, republicans will be claiming credit for starting the trend of tearing down monuments to slaveowners, because, after all, they changed the name of Washington National Airport to Reagan National Airport.

            • ColBatGuano

              Still just National to me.

          • rea

            Napoleon attempted to reinstate slavery in Haiti after it had been abolished.

        • Shantanu Saha

          Washington made Lincoln, FDR, and Obama possible. OTOH, he also made Trump possible, so that’s a strike against him.

          • CP

            Trump and Bush and Bush and Reagan and Nixon and Hoover and Coolidge and Harding and Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson and… oh bugger.

      • Domino

        Out of curiosity, who was the next person in the 1980s who voluntarily stepped down from power?

        • Hogan

          Daniel Ortega?

    • david spikes

      Lincoln didn’t tell anyone they couldn’t own slaves-he told them they shouldn’t and that slavery should not be allowed to expand.

    • bender

      I believe George III was in sound mind at the time. From what I’ve read, the attempts to collect taxes from the colonies weren’t at all capricious; Parliament made several attempts to find a tax that would’t be seen as onerous before they finally brought the hammer down. The ostensible issue on the colonists’ side was more their lack of direct representation in Parliament. “No taxation without representation.” The Crown’s representatives in America were given directives and had to use their own judgement to carry them out, because of the months’ long delay in communications back and forth.

    • efgoldman

      Again, that Republican inability to understand context.

      I can’t wait until Dowd or some other lawyer tries that shit in front of a judge.

  • Yixing’s Fluffer

    Wait…the GOP is pro-Shaka Zulu and Ramses II now? When did that happen?

    • prufrock
      • kaydenpat

        “So let it be written. So let it be done”.

        • M Lister

          Ramses II was also a slave owner, after all, so pretty cool in the GOP book.

        • Hogan

          Let my people go, you damn dirty pharaoh!

          • kaydenpat

            Moses really held back, didn’t he? Lol.

            • david spikes

              All time best movie line-“Moses, Moses, Moses, you mad, impetuous fool.”

        • dmsilev

          Now replaced with “So let it be Tweeted. So let it be done.”.

          It’s true about history repeating itself as farce.

        • spencer_e9876

          One of my favorite Metallica songs when I was in high school.

          • tsam100

            Me too. Still have it in my semi-regular rotation.

    • Yeah, didn’t Ramses keep the Jews enslaved? How the fuck and in what universe is that supposed to be a positive comparison? He was literally like bad guy #2 in the bible.

      (I don’t know anything about Shaka-zulu)

      • Lord Stoneheart

        I don’t think the pharaoh in Exodus was named? (Plus the historicity of Exodus is well…)

        • It looks like he was traditionally considered to be the Exodus Pharoah (and importantly, in the movie!).

          If he’s going for literary characters, may I have suggested a Ramsey Bolton comparison too.

          • And if he’s going for unwanted characters, let’s hear it for QC-failed Ramses!

            • mds

              … Damnit. There goes my joke comment. Could someone mention the Trojan War now?

              • tsam100

                That’s the one Jesus fought in, right?

                • Captain_Subtext

                  I was thinking of how to bring condoms into the discussion…

                • tsam100

                  I figured, BUT I’M NOT GIVING THAT MDS THE SATISFACTION.

                • tsam100

                  Wow, that came out all wrong

                • tsam100

                  Wow, that too.

                • Captain_Subtext

                  Phrasing people!

        • bender

          Not directly, but the store cities that the Jewish slaves were made to build were called Pithom and Ramses.

      • Yixing’s Fluffer

        Ohhhh, that’s it. He’s one of their anti-Semite history bros, fighting “the globalists” just like Assad.

      • Thom

        They might like Shaka kaSenzagakhona (his real name) since he never raised a spear or gun in anger at white people.

      • M Lister

        Shaka-Zulu was the star in a pretty cool TV mini-series in the 80’s, and while it wasn’t a reality show, it is a bit like being a TV “star”, like Trump. Plus, in the show, Shaka is shown using hair dye (given to him by the British) to look younger, so there is at least another small similarity with Trump. (really, though, this is super unfair to Shaka, I’m sure.)

      • Professor Fate

        Shaka Zulu (1787-1828) as the name implies is the founder of the Zulu Nation which was located in what is now South Africa until it was defeated by the British in the Zulu war of 1879 with the small hiccup of their being defeated at Isandlwana Jan 20th. The worst defeat suffered by the British at the hands of an Native African Army armed mostly with spears. (their were several revolts after that with dire results for the Zulus) Shaka established the Zulu kingdom as a kind of African Sparta with men organized into Regiments all equipped with the same style of weapons.
        This vastly simplifying a very complex story – He was by all accounts brutal as hell but as most of the accounts we have are from Europeans writing years after he died and had axes to grind and help insist that the Zulus needed smashing we can’t be sure how accurate they are.
        Still the connection to Lee is pretty well non existent I should think.

    • Lord Stoneheart

      Nah it’s people who they think the left would like so it’s their way of going “Checkmate liberals.”

      • sigaba

        Ramses II and Shaka Zulu were black. BLACKS OWNED SLAVES; supercheckmate infinity!!!!1

        • bender

          Ramses II was probably brown. He wasn’t a Nubian.

      • tsam100

        OBSCURE REFERENCE. AUTOMATIC WIN. LOL SUCK IT LIBTARDS

      • tsam100

        people who they think the left would like

        Joke’s on you bastards–I don’t know a gotdam thing about ShakaZulu or Ramses the Deuce. CheckM8.

    • CP

      Yeah, that really jumped out at me. Ignoring all the other crap for a second, the fact that the writer views all these other people as commendable moral examples to follow when they were autocratic monarchs is seriously fucked up. (The fact that he honors nonwhite people who are usually villains in conservative narratives is, of course, just weird. Though I assume that’s a “checkmate, libs! Even BLACK PEOPLE did this, and since you think black people never do anything wrong, now you HAVE to approve it!”)

  • kaydenpat

    This nonsense argument only works with slavery. It wouldn’t be attempted with Hitler or the Holocaust.

    • Socialist Cubone

      I’ve seen the right edge ever closer to doing so, usually with regards to the Ukraine famine.

      • Hypersphericalcow

        Wait, what? It used to be the far left that was apologizing for the Holodomor. Now the far right is doing it?

    • Bruce Baugh

      They’ve been doing it when talking to each other where they think nobody else is looking for a good long while. Back in the ’90s, I’d see right-wing BBSers arguing things like “the Holocaust is a filthy Jewish lie but it would have been great if Hitler had killed that many people”. It’s just a matter of time until it pops up in public.

      • Lurking Canadian

        I remember somebody (maybe here?) saying that you could summarize all Holocaust denial as “It never happened and they had it coming”

        • Bruce Baugh

          Yes! That’s the phrasing I was trying to remember.

    • West

      Oh, there’s a whole subgenre of Hitler apologists who use the line of “well, he stopped Stalin from over-running Europe, and Stalin ruling all Europe would have been way worse than the Holocaust, so relatively speaking…..” and other variants thereof. This subgenre is way off on the fringes of the history profession, but it exists.

      I am about 70% confident that Trump will be saying things along this line, by, oh, next Tuesday? I’m 99% confident he’s soon going to be saying some variant of “lots of KKK members are very nice people, and ditto for neo-Nazis”. And then, in his doubling-down after the uproar from that, I won’t be at all surprised if he comes up with a relativizing statement about Hitler. It’s the ultimate “whataboutism”: “Sure, Hitler bad, but what about that Joe Stalin?”

      Whether Trump will actually say it out loud is one thing; maybe he’s got just a wee tiny amount of self-restraint, previously concealed from view, that would stop him. However, I am extremely confident in asserting that he believes it. I think he really is a full-on, pure, absolute racist, Hitler apologist, Holocaust denier, slavery apologist, etc, etc. How the hell has he managed to create an exception in his mind for Ivanka and who she married? Who knows.

      • Lurking Canadian

        “We were on the wrong side of WWII” is part of the catechism of the Pat Buchanan variety of wingnut.

    • Don’t forget that a big part of the Holocaust was forcing Jews to work as slaves in mines and factories. So you see: Hitler was just like George Washington!

  • kdbart

    Might as well erect statues of Benedict Arnold. At least he lead an important victory in the Revolution at Saratoga before turning on his country

    • Thom

      Benedict Arnold, good idea. And since these statue worshippers think that the only way we can remember history is through statues and monuments, maybe we should have a nice statue of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.

      • They’d probably be in favor of that. Oswald killed a Democrat, so he’s likely a hero to an uncomfortably large portion of the GOP.

        • Thom

          But, but, but he (Oswald) was a commie! However, you are probably right.

        • JKTH

          True. The contingent that would say “Kennedy would be a Republican” is dying off/being swept aside.

    • Murc

      And Arnold could at least make the argument he was returning to being loyal to the government he was born under. That wasn’t the reason for him turning his coat, of course, but the argument isn’t risible at least.

    • there’s a statue of Arnold at Saratoga!

      well, it’s of his boot.

      and there is no mention of whose boot it is.

      my hometown, just up the road from Saratoga, actually has a street named after the guy Arnold beat at Saratoga (Burgoyne). but there’s no mention anywhere of Arnold.

    • solidcitizen

      That there is a monument to Arnold is a big talking point for the wing nuts. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_Monument

  • Crusty

    I have no particular reason to give Dowd the benefit of the doubt except that from the little I know of him prior to this incident, he seems less repulsive and less stupid than Trump himself. This is so bizarre and so rotten that I think there’s a slight chance that this was an old man not understanding the forward, reply all and trash functions on his computer or phone? Maybe? He really should go back to having his secretary print out emails and read them to him. Otherwise, what the fuck?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Read the story — it wasn’t accidental. Apparently he’s one of those old guys for whom forwarding moonbatty racist emails is part of his daily routine.

      • Crusty

        I guess he’s just gunning for a federal judgeship then.

    • Hob

      Email addresses don’t type themselves – I don’t see how anyone could do this by accident. Plus, his one statement about it so far has been “people send me things and I forward them.”

  • Dr. Waffle

    I’ve learned over the last few days that conservatives learn their history exclusively through statues. Which explains a lot.

    • N__B

      Not true. They also learn history from Facebook memes.

    • Thom

      Exactly. And building all the statues needed to set them straight could revive America’s metalworking industries. MAGA, yeah.

  • amazingly, since last weekend, this has become a standard and well-regarded argument on the right.

    and it works for a lot of people because it fits perfectly with the whole “PC left run amok” meme. “they want to get rid of Columbus! they want to get rid of Christmas! they want to get rid of the Ten Commandments! they want to take away our country and our heritage and our culture and turn it into a gay atheist Sharia communist hell!”

    • CP

      they want to get rid of Columbus [Day]!

      Good Lord, yes.

      they want to get rid of Christmas!

      No, they don’t.

      they want to get rid of the Ten Commandments!

      There’s nothing to get rid of. The Ten Commandments never had any legal force anywhere in this country. Contrary to right-wing opinion, you swear on the Bible (or whatever other document is considered important by you) to uphold the Constitution, you don’t swear on the Constitution to uphold the Bible.

      • Terok Nor

        At least where it comes to religious freedom, the Constitution directly contradicts the Ten Commandments. B

      • so-in-so

        Lord knows, nobody before Moses ever thought murder or theft were wrong!

        • slavdude

          And no other religions do either!

        • CP

          The song “they’ll know we are Christians by our love” is possibly the worst offender here.

          Apparently, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics and atheists don’t love their spouses or children or parents or friends. Who knew?

          • farin

            You didn’t see the tags in the sheet music, apparently.

          • bender

            Jews are not instructed to love their enemies.

    • Yep, I just saw some dittoheads claiming that the left wants to “defund the Washington and Jefferson estates” because we agree with this memo. (presumably because it is so self-evidently true that we cannot possibly argue against it).

  • Crusty

    What’s next? Bin laden saved the World Trade Center? Knocked it down and now we have a shiny new one? Thanks.

    • mds

      Well, it was the Obama administration that finally got bin Laden, so yeah, I halfway expect that he’ll officially be a GOP hero by winter.

      • slavdude

        Or else they’ll start saying bin Laden is still alive. Since the SEALs dumped the body at sea, there’s no concrete proof he’s actually dead.

        I guess that makes him the Elvis of our time.

        • CP

          In his house at R’lyeh dead Osama waits dreaming.

          • slavdude

            I would love to share the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft with this comment.

    • david spikes

      Well it was getting kind of old, run down, shabby, a real dump, sad, the worst.

  • Murc

    Washington was a slaveowner, but he is not being honored for his contributions to maintain and expand slavery, which is the only possible reason to celebrate Lee.

    I’ve seen a lot of people try and argue that they’re just trying to honor Lee for his prowess and skill as an soldier and all that.

    And one, that’s bullshit, and two, even if it were true… the Germans don’t have statues to their famous WWII generals, now do they?

    ETA: … huh, actually, that’s not true. Apparently the Germans have at least one military base named after Rommel and he has a monument and statue in his hometown, as well as a number of streets. And a number of German military officers who also fought in WWII have statues relating to their WWI service, which is of course far more acceptable.

    I didn’t know this.

    • Thom

      This suggests an excellent idea. Why be limited to generals of one’s own country. After all, Lee was fighting for another country. So why not some memorials or the like for say, Rommel. In fact, since Fort Hood was established to practice for tank warfare in Central Europe (someone told me this, I have no idea), we could name it Fort Rommel (though I prefer the idea I suggested yesterday, Fort Elvis).

      • Yixing’s Fluffer

        I honestly wouldn’t mind a statue of Suvarov (or Prince Eugene of Savoy), and if we really want to piss off most of Eurasia we could erect a statue of Subutai.

        • Scott P.

          Chicago has a monument to Italo Balbo.

      • Murc

        After all, Lee was fighting for another country.

        The problem with this is that it involves admitting the Confederacy was an existing nation-state, which most neo-Confederates will regard as an argumentative win anyway.

      • Gator90

        As someone once suggested, if we’re going to honor talented generals who fought against America, how about Vo Nguyen Giap? Let’s go with a winner!

      • kvs

        Chicago has an Italian monument given to the city by Mussolini and named a street after Gen. Balbo, the emissary who delivered it.

        • Darkrose

          I was born and raised in Chicago, and I passed that street all the time. Never knew that. I’m boggled that people are protesting the re-naming because yeah, he was a Fascist, but he was a really good pilot!

        • wjts

          I lived in Chicago for eight years and I have mixed feelings about the Balbo Monument. The monument itself is a ~2,000-year-old Roman column which, frankly, I think is really fucking cool in the same way I think all the historic stones embedded in the Tribune Tower are really fucking cool. That said, no public monument in the U.S. should display an inscription like this one:

          QUESTA COLONNA
          DI VENTI SECOLI ANTICA
          ERETTA SUL LIDO DI OSTIA
          PORTO DI ROMA IMPERIALE
          A VIGILARE LE FORTUNE E LE VITTORIE
          DELLE TIREMI ROMANE
          L’ITALIA FASCISTA SUSPICE BENITO MUSSOLINI
          DONA A CHICAGO
          ESALTAZIONE SIMBOLO RICORDO
          DELLA SQUADRA ATLANTICA GUIDATA DA BALBO
          CHE CON ROMANO ARDIMENTO TRASVOLO L’OCEANO
          NELL’ ANNO XI
          DEL LITTORIO

          This column
          20 centuries old
          was erected on the shore of Ostia
          port of Imperial Rome
          to protect the fortunes and victories
          of the Roman triremes
          Protector of Fascist Italy Benito Mussolini
          gives to Chicago
          [this] exultant memorial symbol
          of the Atlantic Squadron led by Balbo
          that with Roman daring flew across the ocean
          in Year XI
          of the Fascist Era

          Ideally, I think what I’d like is to keep the memorial but change the plaque to something like:

          This column, originally presented to the City of Chicago by Benito Mussolini as a symbol of fascist triumph, is rededicated by the people of Italy and the City of Chicago as a symbol of friendship between nations and a monument to the Italian heritage of this great city.

          • bender

            Keep the original plaque and add a plaque with the wording you suggest. In this instance, the very sight of the column is not an affront to people passing by, and the original plaque is part of the historical context.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      Lee’s aggressiveness worked well against McClellan’s hesitancy, but he never changed his strategies. He used the same massed infantry when going up against artillery at Gettysburg…which was a bold move.

      • Shantanu Saha

        He had no excuse. He saw what his own troops did to the Federals who charged up Marye’s Heights, yet he sacrificed a fresh division doing the same thing, against the advice of his best subordinate.

        So I guess his contribution to “saving the Union” was being a dumbass high on his own farts.

        • Scott P.

          Grant did the same at Cold Harbor, so it was a widespread affliction. Heck, it lasted through much of WWI.

          • Breadbaker

            Grant could expect fresh troops. Lee was diminishing a wasting resource. Grant foreshadowed WWI; Lee acted like Napoleon in Russia.

        • CP

          He had no excuse. He saw what his own troops did to the Federals who charged up Marye’s Heights, yet he sacrificed a fresh division doing the same thing, against the advice of his best subordinate.

          This is the part I always found mind-blowing about Pickett’s charge – haven’t you done this enough times to Yankee troops to realize what a terrible idea it is?

          • so-in-so

            Minor point, you have to have an alternative. Nobody really developed an alternate tactical approach until 1917. One problem being, how do you control troops you can’t see? Using cover to move in small groups was called “Indian fighting”, but was only used in skirmishing.

          • rea

            He thought Gaine’s Mill showed how to win a battle–he was obsessed with trying to pull off that kind of grand assault again.

      • Scott P.

        I am not sure what you mean by ‘didn’t change his strategies’. Post-Wilderness, his approach to Grant was quite different than before.

      • witlesschum

        I found the argument that his biggest failure as an army commander was not understanding the political aspect of the war really interesting. (Made by a military historian named Bevin Alexander in a couple different books I’ve read.)

        The guys says Stonewall Jackson argued repeatedly that invading the north shouldn’t be about defeating the Union Army directly, but about convincing the northern people that they didn’t want to fight anymore by destroying property and occupying cities to demoralize the people supporting the war’s continuation. Battles would be fought only in support of this, whereas Lee’s strategy seems to have been more about beating the north on the battlefield to convince the government to make peace so getting into battles was the end goal.

        If this sounds familiar, it’s because Sherman had a similar realization and used it and similar tactical military insights to what Jackson suggested against the Confederacy later, but supposedly Jackson wanted to do to something similar starting in 1862. It hinges on whether the northern people would have actually reacted to the Confederate occupation of say, Philadelphia, by screaming that they wanted out of the war, rather than being like “Oh, NOW it’s on.”

        Basically, we’re really, really lucky Lee was a very competent, but conventional soldier of his time.

    • I think that the statue at W&L in Lexington that he’s buried under could be reasonably argued to be honoring his service as President of that institution. He’s asleep in it and not mounted for battle.

      But even that one he’s in his confederate military uniform. So, even in the best case they have that it’s not about protecting slavery, it stretches the imagination.

      • Murc

        You know, I’ll be honest. He’s buried under it? Okay, sure. We can leave that one up. Lee gets ONE monument that is also his gravestone. Sure. We can be magnanimous.

        But that’s it.

    • Taylor

      Rommel was rehabilitated in popular culture by The Desert Fox, which suggested he had some role in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. This probably had more to do with Cold War politics than actual historical fact though. More likely he may have been aware of the plot without being personally involved in it.

      Is there a statue to Guderian anywhere?

      • This is taken from Wikipedia, so take it for what its worth:

        The strongest evidence that points to the possibility that Rommel came to support the assassination plan was General Eberbach’s confession to his son (eavesdropped by British agencies) while in British captivity, which stated that Rommel explicitly said to him that Hitler and his close associates had to be killed because this would be the only way out for Germany.[267][268][269] This conversation happened about a month before Rommel had to commit suicide.

        I think it safe to say the Rommel was not happy with the direction that Hitler had taken Germany. Whether or not that translated into an actual assassination attempt is still a topic of debate.

        • CP

          #NeverHitler!

      • slavdude

        IIRC, one of the barracks buildings at one of the bases for the German military is named for Rommel.

    • Van Buren

      Of course, Rommel was implicated in an assassination plot and committed suicide to save his family from retribution, so there is context why Germany would honor him.

  • For people who are exactly the same, I’m surprised that:

    One won while other was a loser.
    One appears on our currency while the other doesn’t.
    One was president; the other never won an election.
    One was a general in the US Army; one never rose above Colonel.
    Etc.

    • M Lister

      This is even leaving aside the fact that Washington had at least two more nuts and at least 29 more dicks than Lee, according to this educational classic that I totally trust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7iVsdRbhnc

      • I kind of want him to do a Lee one actually (JFK and Bible stories and China,IL were all great.). I trust it would not pull punches.

  • M Lister

    This is all garbage of course, but I’m curious – does west point really teach either Washington or Lee’s battle tactics? At least in any serious way? I mean, I suppose I can see the point in sort of generally explaining some things (Big arm comes head long into smaller one. Smaller one splits in two and hits the big one from the sides – see, battle of Marathon) but this sounds a bit dubious to me as anything very serious. Does anyone know?

    • N__B

      Washington’s escape from New Jersey is a model for us all.

      • Drew

        Hey!

        • CP

          New Jersey did give us the heroine of the best superhero comic currently in print (Kamala Khan). So there’s that.

      • M Lister

        Well, as the great comic book villain Egghead once said, “Unlike death, one can usually return from New Jersey”.

    • wjts

      I suspect it’s probably true, at least in the big-picture way you describe.

    • Scott P.

      I know Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign has been a centerpiece of the curriculum since the War.

      • M Lister

        Maybe so! (My question was a real, not rhetorical one), but I don’t see how Stonewall Jackson’s tactics being taught helps show anything about this particular talking point.

    • rea

      Well, not their tactic, which are obsolete. The y something to teach us at the operational and strategic levels, though.

      • bender

        From what I’ve read, Washington didn’t win much on the battlefield, which isn’t surprising since his opponents were better trained and more experienced. He was an adequate but not great tactician. Washington excelled in keeping up morale despite terrible supply problems, occasional surprise attacks, and not wasting his men.

  • Downpup E

    Trump has no concept of loyalty to the US. This week’s celebration of traitors is completely consistent with his entire approach to the Presidency as his personal property, and his demands for personal loyalty rather than public service, for anyone.
    It all just paints it in technicolor.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/898169407213645824

  • humanoidpanda

    This story kinda buries the lede: Trumps lawyer i is getting “information” about Comey from some internet weirdo.

    Obligatory:
    https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/5cac2a0e-103d-489a-8199-f363c612809f

    • they’re all internet conspiracy junkies. i’m sure they all met in the AceOfSpades comment section.

    • BigHank53

      Be interesting to see how citing an internet weirdo works out in front of a judge.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        Given that the Blue Book is now like 650 pages, there probably is a formal citation for ‘internet weirdo’ in it somewhere.

  • Amadan

    It’s more than a little terrifying to me that so many of these Gobi Shi’ites have Irish names:
    – Flynn
    – Bannon
    – Dowd
    – O’Reilly
    – Conway
    – Ryan
    – McConnell
    … particularly when most of their ancestral stock back here where the misty rains sweep o’er the glens would queue up to apply the Hurley of Loving Correction to their Most Secret Places, given the opportunity.

    • West

      “…apply the Hurley of Loving Correction to their Most Secret Places…”
      This is brilliant.

    • Van Buren

      Sean Hannity feels left out.

      • Amadan

        Crap! Forgot him! (How often does one get to say that they regret forgetting Sean Hannity?)

        … and Joe Walsh

        … and if I think of any more, I’ll have to emigrate to Albania. Mirupafshim, humbës!

    • My stepfather is Irish on his father’s side and Jewish on his mother’s. And is still a Trump-supporting racist.

  • George Washington fought against tyranny to form a nation based on democracy. Lee fought against that democracy to form a nation based on tyranny. Clearly they are the same.

    • SomeTreasonBrewing

      In many languages word order doesn’t matter so much, so….THERE!

  • DN Nation

    I like people who weren’t weren’t captured didn’t lose a war.

    • rea

      Well, Washington was captured–by the French, in 1754. They released him after he signed a document admitting a war crime.

  • Crusty

    Something that’s coming out and that I’m kinda surprised about- Trump and his ilk are hardcore moral relativists- Washington and lee are the same, Putin’ a killer- you think our country’s so innocent, there are lots of killers, many sides, etc. I thought that was for squishy, godless liberals.

    • I thought that was for squishy, godless liberals.

      Trump has taught us one very important lesson: “conservatives” don’t actually care about most of what they scream about. what’s really important to them is that they can scream at liberals about something.

      • M Lister

        especially if the “something” is minorities, or women, or gays, or things like that. Or people having fun not hurting anyone. That sort of thing also gets yelled at.

    • CP

      I’m not. Not at all.

      The conservatives I know are hardcore moral relativists. Even if they don’t call themselves that way. The most blatant version of this I’ve ever read was my Bible-thumping cousin getting into an argument on Facebook where he argued that if liberals were allowed to defend the value and truth of science and reason by using nothing but science and reason, then Christians should be allowed to defend the value and truth of the Bible by using nothing but the Bible. “We all have a ‘Bible,’ i.e. something we hold to be true and the foundation of all our reasoning, and it’s important that people tolerate ours as well.” Of course, in other contexts, he also insisted that the Bible was the absolute and inerrant word of God and that other people’s ‘Bibles’ were idols. But when pushed to defend why his Bible should be treated specially, he fell back on “waaahhhh, you should tolerate me, mine is good for me and yours is good for you!”

      And I mention this because while that’s an especially blatant and ridiculous moment… it seems to always be how this works. Conservatives want their point of view and their point of view only to be taught, and they say it loud and proud, but when challenged, they can’t actually coherently explain why they should be the only ones represented, so they instantly fall back on “oh, but why can’t you just be tolerant and accept that mine is best for me?” Even though that’s not actually what they want or what they were just arguing for.

      (Also, they’ve heard liberals saying it – in completely different contexts, in which the tolerance argument actually did apply – so they assume it’s an all-purpose talisman that they can use to invoke immunity/protection, and if we don’t grant it, they have their proof that we’re all hypocrites. Bonus!)

      • Alex

        always always always, when conservatives accuse liberals of something, it means that they’re already doing it.

        they’ve spent decades complaining about “moral relativism” on the left, ergo….

  • Beer Hunter

    Do you ever get the feeling that Trump is basically daring the responsible adults (such as they may be) in his party to take him down, but they just continue to display their weakness and fecklessness?

    • The Party of Strength, Family Values, and American Virtues folding like cheap lawn furniture before a sham like Trump.

  • mnuba

    Both saved America.
    Neither men were any different from Napolean, Shaka Zulu, Alexander the Great, Ramses II, etc.

    So, Shaka Zulu and Ramses II…also saved America? I’d love to hear more, honestly.

    • Hogan

      Why else would we have all these statues of them?

      • wjts

        There were, briefly, an awful lot of statues of Rameses II in Denver when I was a kid.

        • Denverite

          Nowadays the Ramses play up in Ft Collins.

        • slavdude

          I think I remember that one. Sheesh, I’m getting old.

          • wjts

            It ran for quite a while. I went several times. As a young nerd, it blew my mind.

    • N__B

      The script for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2 just writes itself.

      • Captain_Subtext

        I think it would have to be titled “The Group of Old Fat White Racists.” The script would be the same :).

    • slavdude

      Napolean – now you can have your French conqueror without worrying about adding to your love-handles! Neat!

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    Many Americans are finally equating Nazis and confederates, cities are tearing down Confederate monuments, even National Review is backing it. Are we finally having a national conversation about race–thanks to the pigshit ignorance of Trump?

    • Many Americans are finally equating Nazis and confederates,
      And, unfortunately, the white ones seem to be supporting the Nazis and Confederates.

      cities are tearing down Confederate monuments,
      And the same folks above are bitching madly about this.

      Are we finally having a national conversation about race–thanks to the pigshit ignorance of Trump?

      Possibly, but from what I’m seeing, we’re losing.

  • FOARP

    Personally I have no problem with comparing Lee and Washington. But then I’m British.

    (yes, yes, we have our own skeletons in the wardrobe)

    • sibusisodan

      Eh. They both took up arms against legally constituted authority, but the nature of that authority, and what each wanted to do/did with the power they won make them incommensurable in my view.

      Washington was a reasoned rebel fighting for a moral good who used power judiciously and then gave it up.

      I just can’t get fussed about parsing the legalities of the US revolution, given all that.

      • FOARP

        Eh, I’m (mostly) kidding around here. Obviously the rest of the world (and probably a lot of Americans) doesn’t fully get the idea of Washington as a hero beyond all criticism.

        • Joe Paulson

          Don’t worry. We have people criticizing him around here.

    • Denverite

      William the Conqueror and the Bonnie Prince Charlie

      • FOARP

        You mean William the Bastard (though he did sack a town when they pointed out his paternity issues)? Charlie was an old soak as a well. I think there are statues to them both, though, somewhere in the UK.

  • ochospantalones

    The deficiencies of the argument aside- What on Earth does any of this have to do with the Russia investigation? Is anyone on Trump’s legal team doing actual legal work related to the investigation?

    Sekulow is out there promoting the administration’s stance on North Korea (based on his experience as a lawyer for evangelical nutjobs?) and FOIA-ing DOJ about Loretta Lynch. Dowd is spamming right wing media with FW:FW:Fw:RE:FW:FW garbage about Charlottesville. Is anyone anywhere actually reviewing documents, interviewing people, or conducting any sort of relevant legal research?

    Say what you will about Kushner, he seems to have at least hired a real legal team and let them do their jobs. I guess he must pay his bills.

    • Denverite

      Is anyone anywhere actually reviewing documents, interviewing people, or conducting any sort of relevant legal research?

      As for the first part, they aren’t really interested in knowing who was in cahoots with the Russians and what they did. As for the legal research part, I’m sure they read Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 and decided to call it a day at that point.

      • ochospantalones

        This seems to be 100% accurate.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      I think it’s Mother Jones that has an article about all the times Trump’s law firms have sued him for nonpayment.

    • dcavea

      Yeah, I think Trump’s team rapidly discovered that there is, in fact, no good legal defense for Trump. So doing legal research wouldn’t do any good for him.

  • Mondfledermaus

    Lee and Washington cannot be the same. Washington won that makes him a Founder Father. Lee lost , that makes him a Traitor that should have been hanged for his crimes.

  • Denverite

    When he says that “there literally is no difference between the men,” do you think he’s imagining a zombie-Washington scenario, a vampire-Washington scenario, or some sort of reincarnation scenario?

    • mds

      Well, if Washington / Lee were a vampire, Abraham Lincoln would have hunted him down and killed him, rather than have allowed him to lead the Confederate forces. So I’d have to go with zombie / fountain of youth / Highlander / mutant.

      • Denverite

        I mean, on the one hand, Lee looks nothing like the portraits of Washington, suggesting a reincarnation theory. On the other hand, we don’t have any photographs of Washington, so the portraits could be a coordinated misinformation effort by the Freemasons to make us think that they were different people. So you could be right.

        • mds

          Hmm, Washington was a Mason, but Lee ostensibly wasn’t, while Beauregard was. And the latter wasn’t just a Mason, but a Knight Templar. How deep does this conspiracy go?

      • econoclast

        I don’t know if the book is any good (the movie is bad), but the metaphor of Southern plantation owners as vampires is terrific.

      • According to the new documentary All of Their Strengths, he could be a Zombie/Vampire Hybrid, whom Lincoln could not possibly have beaten!

        • mds

          Okay, a zombie/vampire hybrid is just silly.

          • Frankly, not the silliest in that game (try Zombie/Angel Hybrid for silliness :-) )

            • mds

              [Frantically pages through esoteric pathology and practical theology texts]

              … Well, if you consider Yeshua in his divine form to be a sort of boss-rank angel, or at least constructed out of the same substance (e.g., illiaster), then you could say that the Resurrection resulted in a zombie/angel hybrid. So it’s not really all that far out there. (Okay, yes it is.)

  • arangalanga

    Who the heck is Napolean?

    • mds

      Napoleon after his Weight Watchers endorsement.

  • Charles S

    If the argument being forwarded by Dowd is any indication of the quality of Trump’s legal advice, the orange baboon will be behind bars within the year.

  • Crusty

    Is the word “literally,” like, literally the most improperly used and abused word in the English language?

    • CP

      Well, I think the dictionary actually changed the definition of “literally” so that “figuratively, with great emphasis” or something like that was one of its possible meanings.

      I literally cried when I heard that.

      • Crusty

        My head literally exploded.

        • CP

          That is literally the most tragic death I’ve ever caused. Sad!

      • econoclast

        I’m never letting go the original meaning of “literal”. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

        • CP

          My condolences to your starship collection…

          • everstar

            They broke all their little ships.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        Over the last century or so the North American definition of “nonplussed” has come to mean the opposite of the British definition of “nonplussed.”

      • Alex

        They didn’t “change” the definition recently. It’s been used as an all-purpose intensifier since at least the 19th century.

    • everstar

      I literally refuse to use the word “literally” in that sense.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’m just going to cite Dickens and Joyce and drop the mic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai_VHZq_7eU

      • N__B

        I literally can’t believe you’d post that.

  • searcher

    There’s a point to be made that fears that Britain would abolish slavery in the colonies was a major cause of the Revolution, and so Washington was in fact committing treason in defense of slavery.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that Lee was committing treason *against* us, the United States. Washington was rebelling to *form* the United States, Lee was rebelling to destroy it. That his traitorous admirers today don’t have a problem with it is telling.

    • Hogan

      The British campaign to abolish the slave trade is generally considered
      to have begun in the 1780s with the establishment of the Quakers’ antislavery committees, and their presentation to Parliament of the first slave trade petition in 1783.

      • Denverite

        My understanding is that there is some question whether a 1772 English court anti-slavery decision played a role in the southern colonies’ decision to declare independence.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_v_Stewart

        • Hogan

          Huh. I crouch corrected.

  • Justin Runia

    I, for one, welcome the embrace of empathy and moral relativism by conservatives of all stripes.

  • everstar

    Both saved America.

    There’s a William T. Sherman on the line for Mr. Dowd. He says it’s regarding someone called General Grant?

  • david spikes

    So Washington and Lee were exactly like a 14th century b.c.e. Egyptian pharoah. Who knew?
    Also identical with a 3rd century b.c.e. alcoholic homosexual who conquered the world-I love wingnut history.

    • so-in-so

      The best part is you get to make it up as you go along…

  • dcavea

    Besides every other crazy thing about Dowd’s argument, how on Earth did Lee “save America”? By rebelling against it?

  • wherewhich the werewitch

    At some point I hope we all say, “well actually, this is a *great* reason to stop venerating Washington. Sure! Let’s dismantle ALL our monuments to slaveowners!”

    Not because it would make them sputter and lose their shit to hear it said, but because it’s actually the right thing to do. If the Washington Monument is taken down in my lifetime I’ll fucking daaaaance. Yeah, there’s a lot to do before we get there, but let’s get there.

It is main inner container footer text