April 12th, 2010
05:32 PM ET

Were Confederate soldiers terrorists?

Program Note: Tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET we'll be digging deeper into the controversy over celebrating the Confederacy.[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.confederateflag.jpg]

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Roland S. Martin.

Roland S. Martin | BIO
CNN Political Analyst

Based on the hundreds of e-mails, Facebook comments and Tweets I've read in response to my denunciation of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's decision to honor Confederates for their involvement in the Civil War - which was based on the desire to continue slavery - the one consistent thing that supporters of the proclamation offer up as a defense is that these individuals were fighting for what they believed in and defending their homeland.

In criticizing me for saying that celebrating the Confederates was akin to honoring Nazi soldiers for killing of Jews during the Holocaust, Rob Wagner said, "I am simply defending the honor and dignity of men who were given no choice other than to fight, some as young as thirteen."

Sherry Callahan said that supporting the Confederacy is "our history. Not hate; it's about heritage and history."

Javier Ramirez called slavery evil, but prefaced his remarks by saying that "Confederate soldiers were never seen as terrorists by [President Abraham] Lincoln or U.S. generals on the battlefield. They were accorded POW status, they were never tried for war crimes. Not once did Confederate soldiers do any damage to civilians or their property in their invasion of the north. The same is not true of Union soldiers."

Realskirkland sent me a Tweet saying, "Slavery is appalling, but was not the only reason for the CW [Civil War]. Those men, while misguided on some fronts stood up for what they felt was right. They embodied that American ideal that the states have a right to govern themselves. THAT is what a confederate soldier stood for."

If you take all of these comments, don't they sound eerily similar to what we hear today from Muslim extremists who have pledged their lives to defend the honor of Allah and to defeat the infidels in the West?

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion • Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Hilda Hignojos

    All this really amounts to is equal time. African-americans have Black history month and these people want thier time also. This is going to lead to nothing but problems.

    April 13, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  2. Billy Whalin

    No they were not terrorist, considering what the north side did as well.

    I respect the rights to honor all falling dead that were in the civil war.

    That includes the black americans that fought for their rights that they believed in.

    This war was not just about slavery but seperation from the government to have the right to create their laws and rights to maintain their own government.

    I think that we would of been better off considering what our government does to our rights.

    Win or lose they were all fighting for what they believed in so should we condem the dead like they are doing now to our military?

    No we shouldnt.

    I love America but I do not agree with our governmet.

    April 13, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  3. B.Kelley

    It is my belief that if we can not dedicate a month to remember a group that played a vital role in our history,as with the confederate soilders,without offending the other parties involved. Then anytime we celebrate America's great move west or Custer's last stand,we should look at what those events did to the American Indians that were involved . I feel that the American Indians were treated far worst than the African Americans ever were but there seems to be no worry about their feelings. I think it should be fair across the board.If we have a Black history month, then we should have an American Indian month and a Confederate history month. We must remember our history no matter if it's good or bad or who was hurt. African Americans should know that they were not the only group in history treated wrongly and quit acting as if everyone else owes them something for it.

    April 13, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  4. Karie

    What I learned in my college U.S. History class is that Lincoln couldn't care less about freeing the slaves, and that he was very determined to keep the Union together. The Confederate states resented the Federal Government's interference in their way of life, and felt their Constitutional "state's rights" had been violated. Slavery was an underlying issue for the war, but Lincoln's insistence that the Union be kept together was the main reason.

    I live in California and feel that slavery of any person is wrong.

    April 13, 2010 at 6:07 am |
  5. Zac Wyrie

    The biggest issue behind the civil war was unfair taxes not slavery. Lincoln himself had slaves, slavery was just a scapegoat to back up millatary force against the south. I'm sure thoes of you who think that the CW was over slavery probably also think that the kkk was always a race thin when in fact Mr. Forest started the clan to protect southern war widdows.

    April 13, 2010 at 6:01 am |
  6. Shane Shobar

    Why does the media continue to fuel the whole racism issue? A huge mistake by many was to begin labeling Americans as African Americans, Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans etc.
    I firmly believe that if you are an American Citizen, then you are just that, an American Citizen.
    If the media insists on these labels, then what about the German Americans, Polish Americans, Swedish Americans etc. Enough is enough. And as far as the Confederate flag, get over it, it is a part of American history (like it or not). Our history books have been altered and continued to be re-written just so somebody’s feelings don’t get hurt.

    April 13, 2010 at 5:56 am |
  7. Celtic2

    Let me answer the ridiculous question this way. It was not the Confederate Army that invaded the North, it was the Union Army that invaded the South. It was not the Confederate generals who intiated acts of "total war". It was the Union Army with Lincoln's approval. These acts included burning homes and farm buildings, confiscating some or all of the livestock and stores of food from the southern civilians, and many documented reports of raping slave women and hanging male slaves who were NOT willing to join the Union Army when asked. A great many southern towns were shelled and/ or burned. Thousands of women, children, and noncombatant males were killed by Union artillery and rifle fire. Homes were routinely looted. I NOW ASK YOU: Who were the real terrorists?

    April 13, 2010 at 3:47 am |
  8. Jimmy Stone

    I support the Sons of Confederate Soldiers. Soldiers don't make policy we follow it. As like Robert E. Lee I serve my state first then my government in Washington DC. Why do people constantly down play the confederate history? I'm proud to live here. I have family that fought with Nathan Bedford Forrest and I also have family that served with General Washington at Valley Forge. I don't agree with slavery, but my history won't get run over. As soldier who has been to Bosnia once and Iraq twice I'm tired of hearing people put Confederate soldiers down. I love my history and respect the men that served which includes African Americans that served in the Confederate Army!

    April 13, 2010 at 3:08 am |
  9. Allen

    Well this is a very complicated discussion because what Southern Americans believe in confederacy is totally different from what Northern Americans believe about confederacy. As we all know, yes the root of the civil war was to free the slaves in the south, but to southerners its so much more than that. It was a war where the people stood up to goverment and didn't let the goverment control their lives. That's why they say we're rebals from the south. I'm an Assyrian- American and I have meny friends whom you can say represent confederacy and come from the south. And let me tell you they are the most nicest, most honnest people I've ever meet. They have welcomed me in their homes as if I was part of the family. That's what true confederates are about. Honesty, trust and freedom. Not those racist colts you have them confused with. We have a name for that it's terrorists.

    April 13, 2010 at 2:50 am |