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A smorgasbord of criticism



Responding to Kathy Riedmann and Bob Cuddy's opinion pieces is like confronting a smorgasbord and not being sure which item to feast upon first. So, I'll start with Mr. Cuddy's assault upon our "Inglorious past" (Oct. 19).

One of the hallmarks of the left is a desire to rewrite history. The former Soviet Union used tactics of ancient kings to obliterate opponents as do the Taliban, ISIS, and others: They simply eliminate history, destroying books, historical images, statues, or engravings. They erase images within photographs and then republish the photo absent the latest figure out of favor. Stalin was infamous for using this technique, which also served to let loyal Communist Party members know which historical figure, like Trotsky, no longer existed and should not be referenced. Kim Jong-Un of North Korea also uses such techniques; those misfortunate enough to not get the message in time end up in slave labor camps or face summary execution.

We haven't yet progressed that far but rest assured there are folks out there among the left who would savor the opportunity to put their conservative opponents 6 feet under. It's much simpler than having to resort to reason, logic, or the facts of civil discourse.

Mr. Cuddy defends the concept that Civil War statues should be removed, wholesale, but I wonder if that also applies to the Confederate battlefield monuments, hundreds of them that mark significant episodes on the many Civil War battlefields managed by the National Park Service? Should we only have monuments of Union Army units identified on Civil War battlefields?

I agree with Mr. Cuddy that those who fly the Confederate flag from vehicles, especially those who probably can't even identify what decade the Civil War took place or name even one significant episode of that conflict, suffer from misplaced values.

It's notable that Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of Confederate forces recommended not having monuments erected of Southern leaders from that conflict. His wish was that the wounds of the nation be healed and commemorating leaders of the failed Confederacy would only serve to re-open those wounds.

Most of the battle monuments in Southern communities were erected in the early 20th century by communities attempting to recognize aging Civil War veterans, the vast majority of whom never owned a slave. The veterans themselves had long since reconciled with their military opponents as photos of the last surviving veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg showed Confederate and Union veterans reconciled, a process that took a full generation.

Now we have a new generation opening long-healed wounds. I suspect these people are as ignorant of Civil War history as those who paste Confederate decals/battle flags on their cars. No good will come of this; the Civil War ended in 1865, and the Civil Rights movement completed the full legal emancipation of black America. It's time we stop re-fighting wars already won both on the battlefield and in the hearts and minds of decent Americans. What is to be gained by renewing this conflict other than further dividing Americans along deep ideological faults? If a community wants to take down a Confederate monument, then so be it, but frankly, it's none of my business as a Californian what the people of a South Carolina community wish to commemorate or not.

As to Ms. Riedmann's broadside ("With all due respect," Oct. 19), first I will say that it is a matter of respect to the families of the fallen to wait until facts are in and their loved ones laid to rest. Perhaps not to her, but in my generation we didn't rush to politicize personal tragedies.

In terms of the Las Vegas massacre, motive remains a mystery with many facts not yet disclosed. However, laws or policy made in the heat of an emotional moment make bad laws, which often are of no effect whatsoever on the issue at hand. In time more will be written.

Ms. Reidmann also enthusiastically defends "Antifa." Are you really that naive?

I also get that Ms. Riedmann really, intensely dislikes the president. Stand in line; you have lots of company, and he makes it easy for his opponents. On policy he gets a "C minus." Trump has missed many opportunities to pull people together. As for the Russian "scandals" she referred to: Let's see, over a year of investigations and no evidence of a crime by the president or anyone else has yet to emerge. No matter, I'm sure the special prosecutor will manufacture whatever he needs to justify his "investigation."

In the meantime, what about the real crime that has emerged regarding the Clintons? In my opinion, there's a $145 million "bribe" to the Clinton Foundation that needs to be addressed. It sure seems like it allowed a Russian company, Uranium One, to acquire control of 20 percent of American uranium while Hillary was Secretary of State. I forgot, Clinton is a Progressive Democrat and as such, (as in the case of Harvey Weinstein) all evidence of criminality is irrelevant. More to follow ... . Δ

Al Fonzi is an Army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor atclanham@newtimesslo.com.

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