In Defense of Robert E. Lee

PBS television will broadcast a biased documentary on the life of Robert E. Lee, tonight, January 3.
Every “expert” in the broadcast is anti-Lee to a greater or lesser degree.

PBS decrees that the war was all about race and “class” —Constitutional issues and States Rights had little or nothing to do with it.

Your children will be compelled to watch this cow flop in public schools this Spring. On Jan. 3 taxpayer dollars will finance the broadcast coast to coast on “public” television for millions of Americans to imbibe.

This “American Experience” TV documentary, Robert E. Lee, “exhibits no ambivalence about the man or his decision to rebel. He was the picture of valor and yet he was wrong. The film summons forth a smattering of endowed-chair academics and other history professors – Civil War experts all – to explain how Lee backed the wrong side for the wrong reasons. In short, he was a slavery apologist who let his own Old Dominion snobbery and sense of honor lead him to a righteous path of war. ‘He certainly never questioned the values of his class,’ history professor Michael Fellman observes. ‘He would talk about ‘my people’…the white people of his social class, born to rule. His honor is involved in the defense of his ‘people.” —Washington Post, Jan. 1. 2011 (End quote).

“Born to rule,” Prof. Fellman? Tell that to the 17th century white chattel slaves who cleared America’s land and picked the tobacco and worked the sugar plantations before cotton became dominant. Tell that to the Irish, who, according to eyewitess Frederick Law Olmsted, were considered of significantly lesser value in the South than a black slave. Tell that to Lincoln’s Vice-President Andrew Johnson, who despised Lee and the planter aristocracy because he considered them enemies of white people! This was also the view of one of Lincoln’s powerful constituencies, the Free Soil Party. Your racial thesis is as threadbare as your “expert” status. In a fair-minded documentary you would be requited to account for these anomalous and suppressed facts.

Intelligent and rational Southerners like Robert E. Lee knew it was only a mater of time before slavery in the U.S. would expire in the modern capitalist world of high finance and scientism. They fought for the right not to be commissared by a self-righteous deluge of bloodthirsty, crusading nannies who, fifty-five years later, would have as their crowning achievement an amendment to the Constitution banning the sale of alcohol.

Moreover, the Confederacy was heavily favored by the Judaic establishment, both during and after the war; a thesis we put forth in Revisionist History Newsletter no. 54, a fact that must not even be whispered by our otherwise fire-breathing PBS chroniclers of Lee’s otherwise “wrong” loyalties.

Next we turn our attention to an online rant against Gen. Lee by Alan Kurtz, who expresses the equivalent of an Israeli-Talmudic sentiment, ‘Too bad they didn’t put him (Lee) on trial for treason!’ I don’t know what Mr. Kurtz’s background or beliefs are, but this “Vengeance is mine saith the rabbi” style is all too disgustingly familiar as a tribal dance of Israeli partisans, though their own war criminals never seem to be hauled in front of an international court of any kind, except the domestic equivalent of a halachic Beth Din, where lots of wrist-slaps are handed down to IDF mass murderers, like the ones who recently gassed a Palestinian woman, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, to death in a Palestinian village on the West Bank, Dec. 31.

Were the numerous, key Judaic-American personnel who supported the Confederacy, guilty of treason as well? What rabbinic theology propelled their loathing for black people?  Mark Zwonitzer (creator of this PBS documentary), Prof. Michael Fellman, and a flock of other academics will not mention this — they like their careers too much. Needless to say, the PBS media dorks and university toadies do not inspire our confidence.

Something similar to Kurtz’s fevered hate for General Lee is exuded by the Right-wing neocon oracle Victor Davis Hanson; many on the Left second it almost instinctually.

The “They were traitors!” cry at the Confederacy contains an irony: King George III issued a similar slander against the secessionist Founders of our nation. British monarchist Samuel Johnson nullified the whole basis of the American Revolution, by sneering at the patriots as “drivers of negroes” (he had nothing opprobrious to say, however, about the “drivers” of child miners, chimney sweeps and other desperately penurious, virtually enslaved white youth in his native Britain).

Moreover, the fanatical abolitionist party in the North, which posed as pacifist  (until Mr. Lincoln answered their call to crush those ‘insurrectionist devils’ with an army), had been openly guilty of treason to the Constitution up until South Carolina’s secession, a fact about which Kurtz appears to be ignorant.

Before the war, abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison was on record, stating on the masthead of his “Liberator” publication, that “The United States Constitution is a ‘covenant with death, and an agreement with hell.”

Garrison regarded the Constitution, with its tolerance of slavery, as illegal, having no force of law. At an 1854 anti-slavery rally, Garrison publicly burned a copy of the U.S. Constitution. The abolitionists even advocated that Northern people should secede from the United States and then, Garrison declared, the Northern states should proceed with “a revolution.”

Delighted that Lincoln’s Union Army was going to war against the South, “to purge this guilty land with blood,” in the words of the terrorist John Brown, Garrison put aside his pacifism and scorn for the Constitution, and supported the fratricide. In December 1861, he discontinued the Liberator’s masthead declaration, “The United States Constitution is a ‘covenant with death.”

So who are the “traitors,” Mr. Kurtz? I guess it depends on which side is the winner.

Victor’s justice is a flimsy basis for the moral superiority which Kurtz, Hanson and other Lee-haters bring to the public discourse concerning this still open, national wound.

–Michael Hoffman
Sources: Tom Chaffin: “The Messianic Schoolmaster” (NY Times, Dec. 29); Henry Mayer, “All On Fire, William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery”; Paul Finkelman, “Garrison’s Constitution, The Covenant with Death and How It Was Made,” Prologue Magazine (Winter 2000);  Hoffman, “They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America.” Hoffman, “Judaism in the American South after the Civil War” (Revisionist History Newsletter no. 54).
Robert E. Lee – America’s Greatest Traitor
By Alan Kurtz
December 30, 2010

On January 3, 2011, the long-running PBS American Experience series will unveil its latest piece of celluloid statuary, devoted to the greatest loser in American military history. Not that surrendering his army after leading it to defeat has sullied Robert E. Lee’s historical reputation. On any honor roll of America’s generals, Lee’s name is sure to ride high. But it should also top the dishonor roll of our worst traitors.

Upon graduating from West Point in 1829, Robert E. Lee was commissioned a second lieutenant and pursued a career in the U.S. Army. He distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War, and in 1852 was appointed Superintendent of West Point. In 1859, Lee commanded the forces that captured abolitionist John Brown, and in 1861 was promoted to colonel. That same year, three days after his home state of Virginia voted to secede from the Union, Lee resigned his U.S. Army commission and took charge of Virginia’s militia. In 1862, Lee assumed command of the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia. In 1865, he was promoted to general-in-chief of Confederate forces, which he surrendered 68 days later to General Grant.

Among the ten Civil War battles with the most killed, wounded, captured or missing soldiers, Robert E. Lee led the Confederate forces in six, resulting in total casualties (both sides) of 188,661. Only two of those battles are considered Confederate victories. When it was over, the Civil War left 618,000 dead, far more than American combat losses in World War I, World War II and Vietnam combined.

Treason is the only crime specifically defined in the U.S. Constitution. Article III Section 3 declares, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Congress further clarified the definition (18 U.S.C. §2381). “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years ….” (Emphasis added.)

America’s first high-profile traitor was, like Robert E. Lee, a general. Benedict Arnold held that rank in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. After being exposed for plotting to surrender the fort at West Point, he defected to the British.

…During Robert E. Lee’s time, other notable traitors included Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth. Following the war, Davis was indicted for treason and imprisoned, but the case was dropped after President Andrew Johnson proclaimed, on Christmas Day 1868, a full pardon and amnesty to everyone who participated “in the late insurrection or rebellion, for the offense of treason against the United States.” Robert E. Lee also thus avoided prosecution as a traitor…

Obviously, proving treason in a court of law is damnably difficult, which probably explains why prosecutors have all but stopped trying. The court of public opinion, however, is an altogether different venue.

Isn’t it time to reexamine Robert E. Lee’s role in American history? His defenders claim that, upon resigning his U.S. Army commission on April 20, 1861, Lee no longer owed allegiance to the United States. That is absurd. Lee never formally renounced his citizenship, and after the war wrote to Pres. Johnson seeking “full restoration of all rights and privileges.” Yet this was a man who levied war against the United States, adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. In other words, a traitor by constitutional definition.

So how do we remember Robert E. Lee? Amazingly, instead of reviling his memory, we revere it. His one-time home, a Greek revival style mansion overlooking the Potomac, directly across from the National Mall in our nation’s capital, surrounded by Arlington National Cemetery, has been designated as a National Memorial, and is operated by the National Park Service. Notice how many times the word “national” appears in that sentence! Robert E. Lee did more than anyone else to tear this nation apart, yet we honor him as a national hero…


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