Robert E. Lee Is No Hero

It's time we honor the ones who were right: Richard Cohen
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2011 11:12 AM CDT
This image shows Civil War Generals Ulysses S. Grant, left, and Robert E. Lee in a piece titled " 'Let Us Have Peace' The Golden Anniversary, April Ninth, 1865 - 1915."   (AP Photo/New-York Historical Society)

(Newser) – Robert E. Lee was a brilliant general, but he "commanded a vast army that, had it won, would have secured the independence of a nation dedicated to the proposition that white people could own black people and sell them off, husband from wife, child from parent, as the owner saw fit," writes Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. Yet this man has become legend, with streets and schools named after him all across the South. It's time to remember who Lee truly was—someone "loyal to slavery and disloyal to his country"—and recognize that we cannot admire such a man.

Lee owned slaves and fought to keep them, and he didn't do it because of "crushing social and political pressure" to choose state over country. No, many of Lee's own family members remained loyal to the Union, notes Cohen; he compares Lee to Germany's Gen. Rommel, who fought exceptionally well, but on behalf of Hitler. Lee "deserves no honor—no college, no highway, no high school. In the awful war (620,000 dead) that began 150 years ago this month, he fought on the wrong side for the wrong cause. It’s time for Virginia and the South to honor the ones who were right." Click to read the entire column.

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