The death of George Floyd in police custody and the ensuing protests are sparking changes in law enforcement, media, and business—and now the US armed forces. Earlier this year, the US Army said it had no plans to scrap the names of any of its 10 bases named after Confederate leaders—ie, Fort Bragg, Fort Lee, and Fort Hood, to name a few—even though at the time it was announcing it would no longer allow images of Confederate flags at these sites. Now, however, in the wake of Floyd's killing, military bigwigs say they'll entertain a conversation on a possible renaming. "The secretary of defense and secretary of the Army are open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic," an Army spokesperson said in a statement Monday for Mark Esper and Ryan McCarthy, per Politico.
The statement added, however, that "each Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a significant place in our military history. Accordingly, the historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies." Still, as Politico points out, even these individual histories aren't stellar: As an example, it cites Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, "a major slave-owner and ... largely considered to be one of the most incompetent generals of the Civil War." One person who agrees the military sites should be renamed: former CIA chief and retired Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned in 2012 amid an affair scandal. "We do not live in a country to which Braxton Bragg, Henry L. Benning, or Robert E. Lee can serve as an inspiration," he writes in an op-ed in the Atlantic. "Acknowledging this fact is imperative." More from him here. (Read more US Army stories.)