November 28, 2008

Civil War sensitivity must run both ways

I read with interest the editorial "A Civil action" (Nov. 21) which seems to confuse the "Stars and Bars" with the Confederate Battle Flag.

The Stars and Bars is actually the first Confederate national flag. Mostly, it flew over Confederate government buildings during the war.

The battle flag is the one depicted in the photo next to the editorial. Unfortunately, that flag has often been usurped by hate groups that share nothing in common with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The editorial seems to take particular umbrage at the display of the Confederate Battle Flag. But would the writer feel the same way about the display of an early American "Stars and Stripes" flag that flew over our "slave nation" from 1776 to 1863?

And it is important to note that the Robert E. Lee holiday, traditionally celebrated in January, preceded the holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by about 90 years.

It is only through unfortunate serendipity that the King holiday is celebrated at about the same time.

And, as to the issue of sensitivity, that train runs both ways.

Perhaps members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy would be more apt to display "sensitivity" if they were occasionally shown some.

Lou Fritz, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Hopkins right to oust Southern sympathizers

I am one Johns Hopkins alumnus who could not agree more with the university's decision to suggest the unreconstructed Confederate sympathizers take their party off campus ("A Civil action," editorial, Nov. 21).

Two of my great-grandfathers and one great-great-grandfather served as Confederate officers.

While I am eternally grateful for the role they played in producing my grandparents, parents, sister, cousins and all our descendants, the fact is that they were traitors to their country. Were it not for Abraham Lincoln`s wise decision to put the war behind us, heal our wounds and move on, they might well have been hanged, as those in more radical circles proposed to do to Confederate officers after the war.

And now, after 143 years, perhaps it is time that we put the Civil War or what some call "The War of Northern Aggression" behind us.

To the sons (and daughters) of the South, I say: You lost. Get over it.

J. Wistar Huey III, Ellicott City

Hussein's brutality justifies Iraq war

One letter-writer questions whether clergymen have demanded that politicians who supported the war in Iraq should be asked to confess their sins ("Clergy must work with new president," letters, Nov. 22).

I would remind the writer that, prior to the U.S. initiative in Iraq, brutalization of innocent men, women and children was common there, rape rooms were sanctioned by the Saddam Hussein regime and parents were routinely separated from their children to be slaughtered in anonymity.

Innocents were pushed off buildings, shoved into acid baths, electrocuted and tortured in ways unimaginable to the sane mind.

Mr. Hussein's sons had plans to continue his reign of terror for generations to come.

Misinformation and discombobulated thinking aside, the politicians who supported the Iraq effort have the moral high ground.

It's my hope that those Americans who are so blatantly misinformed regarding the situation in Iraq prior to the U.S. intervention will find a way to expand their sources of information, and their minds, in the coming year.

Michael P. DeCicco, Severn

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