Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

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Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-10-14 04:36pm

Trump called Robert E. Lee ‘a great general.’ Robert Lee IV disagrees
An indirect descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee said he was “disheartened” that President Trump called his ancestor a “great general.”

Robert Lee IV, a North Carolina pastor who has been openly critical of his great-great-great-great-uncle, accused the president of lying about the legacy of the Southern Civil War general. Speaking in front of 4,000 supporters Friday at a rally in Lebanon, Ohio, Trump declared that Lee was a “true great fighter” and “great general,” and claimed that President Abraham Lincoln once had a “phobia” of Lee, who “was winning battle after battle after battle.”

“He is showing us that he supports an idol of white supremacy and of hatred,” Robert Lee IV said of the president in a video statement he shared Saturday with his 31,000 Twitter followers. “Robert E. Lee fought for the continued enslavement of black bodies. It was for states' rights, yes, but it was for states' rights to own slaves. I find myself saddened by the state of our nation.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the point of his comments about Lee, which were made during an anecdote about Ohio-born President Ulysses S. Grant, was to praise the Union general.

Robert Lee IV caused some controversy after a speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2017, a few days after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville — held to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of the Confederate general — where counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed. Lee, dressed in a black cleric’s shirt and collar, introduced himself as the descendant of the general “whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville.”

“Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head on,” he said. “We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs.”

Lee said later that he resigned from his post at Bethany United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, N.C., after some members raised concerns about the attention the congregation was receiving because of his outspokenness. Some church members were troubled by his comments praising the Black Lives Matter movement, the Women’s March and Heyer, he said in a statement.

Lee is also working on a book about his younger years as a Confederate flag-flying teenager and how he came to denounce white supremacy, he told the News & Observer in a November interview. The working title: “A Sin by Any Other Name: On Race, My Love Letter to the South."

The Confederate general’s legacy has been highly scrutinized, and fights over whether to keep monuments dedicated to him and his part in history have consumed cities throughout the country. Historians say leaders such as Lee and Stonewall Jackson defended the Confederacy, which “existed for one reason, and that was to protect the right of people to own other people.”

But one other descendant who came directly from Lee’s lineage has a less cynical view. Robert E. Lee V, the general’s great-great-grandson and an athletic director at a school in McLean, Va., said many people don’t understand his ancestor’s legacy.

“We were never taught in our family that Robert E. Lee was fighting for slavery. He was fighting for the state of Virginia and for his homeland. He was never fighting to keep the institution of slavery alive,” Robert E. Lee V told The Washington Post’s Mike Semel in 2017.

He also criticized the right-wing extremists who espouse and hide behind his ancestor’s name. Dividing the country was not what his great-great-grandfather stood for, Lee said, adding that after the Confederate was defeated in the Civil War, the general called for unity.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-14 05:08pm

Robert E Lee was a traitor who should be remembered alongside the likes of Benedict Arnold... and Donald Trump. And yeah, Lee may have felt that he was fighting for Virginia, but Virginia was a slave state, fighting for slavery. The Confederate leaders of the time had no illusions about what they were fighting for, and they made it perfectly clear in their own words.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Zwinmar » 2018-10-15 08:32am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-14 05:08pm
Robert E Lee was a traitor who should be remembered alongside the likes of Benedict Arnold... and Donald Trump. And yeah, Lee may have felt that he was fighting for Virginia, but Virginia was a slave state, fighting for slavery. The Confederate leaders of the time had no illusions about what they were fighting for, and they made it perfectly clear in their own words.
He betrayed his oath to protect the constitution, and then actively warred against his former compatriots. It can be argued that Arnold turned back to his true allegiance, he was an officer of the crown, though I don't know if that makes it better, and I am sure his peers always held it against him.

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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Tribble » 2018-10-15 11:21am

Hmmm, technically speaking I suppose from the Canadian (aka Loyalist) perspective, at least Arnold eventually "repented" for his treason, while Washington and Co. stayed full blown traitors to the very end :D
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-10-15 12:02pm

Arnold died poor and despised by both sides, if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by KraytKing » 2018-10-15 12:11pm

Yes, because he betrayed his country (hated by the US) and failed to deliver victory (hated by Britain). Really didn't deliver much of anything; he was caught trying to hand over West Point, if memory serves. If he'd succeeded in averting American independence, then he might have been a hero to the Loyalists, at least, and back in Europe.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by LaCroix » 2018-10-15 12:28pm

At least he got a pretty (but expensive) wife out of the deal (who coincidently was the reason he needed to sell out)
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-15 11:37pm

I understand why they let them go (to avoid a protracted insurgency in the South, though that pretty much happened anyway with the Klan violence during Reconstruction), but even as someone who is strongly anti-death penalty, there are times when I wonder if the world wouldn't be a better place if the entire Confederate Congress, Cabinet, and generalship had been treated to "a short drop and a sudden stop."
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Zaune » 2018-10-16 05:46am

Zwinmar wrote:
2018-10-15 08:32am
He betrayed his oath to protect the constitution, and then actively warred against his former compatriots. It can be argued that Arnold turned back to his true allegiance, he was an officer of the crown, though I don't know if that makes it better, and I am sure his peers always held it against him.
Arnold could also, and not without evidence, claim that he switched sides in response to ill-treatment from his superiors.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Zixinus » 2018-10-16 01:20pm

On the risk on staying on topic, how good a general WAS Lee? I had no real education on the US civil war due to being in Europe, so I don't have the foggiest idea.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by KraytKing » 2018-10-16 01:46pm

He was good, but most relevant, he was charismatic. He was incredibly well-liked by his soldiers and he people of the states both, which led to this general bullshit. If memory serves, Davis was nervous about Lee's influence, but it ended up irrelevant. Something people usually forget: he was a major proponent of forgiving and forgetting after the war.

Lee won early battles, but that was due more to the relative quality of troops than his skill. He also massively overestimated his own warmaking capability and the ability of the South to hold its ground, so he pushed north in Virginia while the Union took Kentucky and broke the Mississippi blockade. It may have been a stroke of genius that just didn't pan out, like if Hitler had failed in France. Or it may have been stupid.

All I know is based on high school education, so take specifics with a grain of salt.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Kane Starkiller » 2018-10-16 02:34pm

sleazy dishonest article wrote wrote:On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the point of his comments about Lee, which were made during an anecdote about Ohio-born President Ulysses S. Grant, was to praise the Union general.
:D As if it wasn't immediately clear from his speech:

It also gave you a general, who was incredible. He drank a little bit too much. You know who I’m talking about, right? So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee. He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, “I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.” And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people. There’s only one problem — they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how. And one day, it was looking really bad. And Lincoln just said, you — hardly knew his name — and they said, don’t take him. He’s got a drinking problem. And Lincoln said, I don’t care what problem he has, you guys aren’t winning. And his name was Grant. General Grant. And he went in and he knocked the hell out of everyone. And you know the story. They said to Lincoln, you can’t use him anymore. He’s an alcoholic. And Lincoln said, I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic. Frankly, give me six or seven more just like him. He started to win. Grant really did. He had a serious problem. Serious drinking problem. But, man, was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general. But Lincoln had almost developed a phobia, because he was having a hard time with a true great fighter and a great general, Robert E. Lee. But Grant figured it out, and Grant is a great general, and Grant came from right here.
In other words the whole fucking point of talking up Lee was to ultimately say how awesome Grant was. Grant was from Ohio. The people from the audience were from Ohio. Ohioans are great. Vote for me. Very standard political stuff.
Leave it to the press to discredit itself by butchering this easily accessible speech to score minor points against Trump. Sad.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-10-16 02:36pm

Lee gets a lot of props mostly because he carefully curated his public image and was very aware of his position as a public person, being essentially the face of the conquered South. As such he basically got a lot of publicity for his whole 'we lost the war, let's be good little Americans again' message. Went along well with the whole Reconstruction thing, the publicity side of it at least.

He was a military realist for the most part (there were many bad decisions, but he wasn't alone in this, to say the least) who was aware that he would be on the losing side eventually, pretty much all along though he expressed some hopes early on (IIRC) that if they could sting the Union enough they could come to terms. Apart from that, honestly he was mostly OK. No great tactical achievements from what I recall, just fairly conventional movements, a highly motivated army, and incredibly loyal officers, going up against initially a fairly lousy opponent. Nobody would call, for example, McClellan or Burnside great military minds. So it's somewhat skewed by that.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-10-16 03:05pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-10-16 02:36pm
Nobody would call, for example, McClellan or Burnside great military minds.
That depends on how you define "great military minds". Burnside, sure, he was crap, although he was at least self-aware and intelligent enough to recognise the fact. McClellan, on the other hand, while he was a pretty average field commander, was an inspirational leader and a brilliant organiser. He was the man who forged the Army of the Potomac from a bunch of civilians in uniform into a sword that never broke, even after the repeated bloody nose it kept getting from Lee.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-10-16 03:19pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
2018-10-16 03:05pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-10-16 02:36pm
Nobody would call, for example, McClellan or Burnside great military minds.
That depends on how you define "great military minds". Burnside, sure, he was crap, although he was at least self-aware and intelligent enough to recognise the fact. McClellan, on the other hand, while he was a pretty average field commander, was an inspirational leader and a brilliant organiser. He was the man who forged the Army of the Potomac from a bunch of civilians in uniform into a sword that never broke, even after the repeated bloody nose it kept getting from Lee.
An inspirational leader... who sat on his ass and then made a hash of the Peninsular Campaign (falling prey to such strategic genius as dummy cannons). Then Robert Lee's battle plans were literally placed into his hands before Antietam... and he sat on his hands before fighting the worst stalemate of the war. He had a pathological fear of commitment and rarely, if ever, sent in reserves. Sure, he was a good organizer, but as a field commander, he was pretty lousy.

Then he had the gall to try and run against Lincoln in 1864, after badmouthing him. A prequel to MacArthur, so to speak, but MacArthur at least was a better commander.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-10-16 04:02pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-10-16 03:19pm
An inspirational leader... who sat on his ass and then made a hash of the Peninsular Campaign (falling prey to such strategic genius as dummy cannons). Then Robert Lee's battle plans were literally placed into his hands before Antietam... and he sat on his hands before fighting the worst stalemate of the war. He had a pathological fear of commitment and rarely, if ever, sent in reserves. Sure, he was a good organizer, but as a field commander, he was pretty lousy.
All as I said. When I called him inspirational I meant that literally - his ability to inspire confidence, in both him and themselves, in those under his command.
A prequel to MacArthur, so to speak, but MacArthur at least was a better commander.
Dugout Doug, better than McClellen? :lol: McClellen's two most significant defeats consisted of a a staged withdrawal down, and ultimately from, the Virginia peninsular after standing at the gates of Richmond, and a failure to destroy the AoNV when handed it on a platter. MacArthur's two most significant defeats consisted of abandoning his entire army to four years of Japanese imprisonment, and being driven in utter route half way down the Korean peninsular. The key fault of each commander was the same in both their defeats - an excess of caution on McClellen's part and a complete absence of caution on MacArthur's. The former leads to stalemate, but the latter to catastrophe.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-16 06:15pm

McClellan could have ended the war in '62, if he weren't such a dip shit. Every death after that point is arguably on his head (albeit it may have been for the best in the long run, as a prolonged war lead to the abolition of slavery).

He was also an insubordinate egomaniac who ran against Lincoln in '64 on a platform of making peace with the South by letting them keep their slaves.

He is probably the worst general America ever had (at least at that level) who was not unambiguously guilty of Treason.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-10-16 06:22pm

That would be a dead heat between Burnside and Hooker, I think. At least the latter added a word to the English language.

The best of the Union generals were Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan, while Gideon Pillow was so utterly incompetent that committing treason was the best thing he could've done for the Union.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-16 06:38pm

Burnside was a bad one, yes.

Not too familiar with Hooker's record, beyond his reputation for indulging in... hookers.

I'm surprised you don't list Grant among the best of that era, though.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-10-16 08:49pm

Mediocre general, bad businessman, even worse President(the Tweed Scandal occurred on his watch).

The one battle he planned himself, Cold Harbor, was an utter and complete disaster. Like Lee, his successes came from the abler generals under him(those mentioned in the post above, as well as Gilmore and Roscreans).

Like Eisenhower, later on, his genius lay in his staffing decisions, at least within the military.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by houser2112 » 2018-10-17 08:50am

Captain Seafort wrote:
2018-10-16 04:02pm
MacArthur's two most significant defeats consisted of abandoning his entire army to four years of Japanese imprisonment
The guy was an asshole, for sure, but he was no coward. Roosevelt ordered him to evacuate Corregidor.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-10-17 01:33pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-16 06:15pm
He is probably the worst general America ever had (at least at that level) who was not unambiguously guilty of Treason.
If he was so incompetent, how did the US win the war? The army that won it was the army McClellen created. As I said, as a field commander he was nothing special, but there were many far worse, and his skills as an organiser should have earned him far more respect than he's been given over the last century and a half.
houser2112 wrote:
2018-10-17 08:50am
The guy was an asshole, for sure, but he was no coward. Roosevelt ordered him to evacuate Corregidor.
Regardless of is qualities (if any) as an individual, he was the guy whose decisions led to one army getting obliterated in the Philippines and another getting badly mauled in Korea.
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by houser2112 » 2018-10-17 03:03pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
2018-10-17 01:33pm
houser2112 wrote:
2018-10-17 08:50am
The guy was an asshole, for sure, but he was no coward. Roosevelt ordered him to evacuate Corregidor.
Regardless of is qualities (if any) as an individual, he was the guy whose decisions led to one army getting obliterated in the Philippines and another getting badly mauled in Korea.
I was only responding to your assertion that he abandoned the troops, which I felt was unfair. I wasn't touching his command or organizational qualities. But, since we're going there, that same article says this:
As early as 1907, U.S. naval and military planners had concluded that it would be impractical to repel an invasion of the Philippines. The best that could be hoped for was that the garrison could hold out on the Bataan peninsula until help arrived. In the 1920s it was estimated that they could do so for about 60 days. By the 1930s, the planners had become decidedly pessimistic in view of the increased capability of aircraft, and by 1936 they were agreed that the Philippines should be written off. But in July 1941, this decision was abruptly reversed, and it became the policy of the U.S. government to defend and hold the Philippines. This was based, at least in part, in the belief that Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers could deter or defeat an invading force.
I wonder if the US had decided to earnestly defend the Philippines after all earlier than 5 months prior to Pearl Harbor, that the battle would've had a better result than "clusterfuck". As such, I don't think it's fair to lay blame on him for this, either.

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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-17 07:05pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
2018-10-17 01:33pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-16 06:15pm
He is probably the worst general America ever had (at least at that level) who was not unambiguously guilty of Treason.
If he was so incompetent, how did the US win the war? The army that won it was the army McClellen created. As I said, as a field commander he was nothing special, but there were many far worse, and his skills as an organiser should have earned him far more respect than he's been given over the last century and a half.
My point is that "nothing special" is seriously understating it. He could have ended the war two and a half years earlier, potentially (and spared hundreds of thousands of lives), if he'd had half the backbone that he had ambition and ego.

And the US won the war because of a) the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln, b) the managerial skills of Secretary of War Stanton, c) the military leadership of Grant, and 4) the overwhelming industrial superiority of the North.

To say that McClellen's army won the war is also a serious overstatement. It was under Meade that the Army of the Potomac smashed Lee at Gettysburg, months after McClellen left, and it was under Grant that the Army of the Potomac finally took Richmond and cornered Lee. It was also under Grant that the western armies took Vicksburg and split the Confederacy in two, and under Sherman (and, indirectly, Grant), that they took Atlanta, eviscerated the underbelly of the South, and probably gave Lincoln the political capital needed to push him over the top in '64 (which killed the South's last chance of a negotiated political settlement that allowed them to keep their slaves).
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


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Captain Seafort
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Re: Great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E. Lee calls out Trump

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-10-18 02:33pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-17 07:05pm
And the US won the war because of a) the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln, b) the managerial skills of Secretary of War Stanton, c) the military leadership of Grant, and 4) the overwhelming industrial superiority of the North.
The second and fourth I agree with, although the fourth should be first and leaps and bounds ahead of anything else. The first and third are vastly overrated. Lincoln's political existence was the trigger that set off the war in the first place, and if he'd been allowed to follow his instincts in the winter of 61/62 the Trent Incident would have turned into a war, and the crushing of the US by the Royal Navy. Grant was certainly competent, but all he did, fundamentally, was realise that even if he lost every battle, and lost two or three times as many men as Lee in the process, he could absorb those losses while Lee couldn't, so it was still a net strategic victory so long as he didn't leg it back to DC every time, as his predecessors tended to do. It wasn't exactly the work of a military genius.
To say that McClellen's army won the war is also a serious overstatement. It was under Meade that the Army of the Potomac smashed Lee at Gettysburg, months after McClellen left, and it was under Grant that the Army of the Potomac finally took Richmond and cornered Lee. It was also under Grant that the western armies took Vicksburg and split the Confederacy in two, and under Sherman (and, indirectly, Grant), that they took Atlanta, eviscerated the underbelly of the South, and probably gave Lincoln the political capital needed to push him over the top in '64 (which killed the South's last chance of a negotiated political settlement that allowed them to keep their slaves).
Using McClellen's army. He was CGUSA during the critical period when the US army was expanding from about three men and a dog into the force of hundreds of thousands that was needed to fight the war. It was his ability as an organiser that created that force.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe - Albert Einstein

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