By Tom Piatak
We are told ad nauseam that Confederate monuments should come down because we don’t honor those who lost in war and because we don’t honor those who killed Americans. We don’t honor “traitors,” either.
But a large monument is going up in South Dakota that honors someone who lost in war — he was killed after he surrendered to the United States Army — and who killed many Americans before he surrendered. One reason we build monuments to Crazy Horse and Robert E. Lee is because we want the descendants of those who fought under both men to feel that they are no less American than the descendants of the Union soldiers who defeated them, albeit after defeating the U.S. Army in some memorable encounters.
That is a wise policy, in my view, and one we will regret walking away from.
No less a man that President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept a portrait of Robert E. Lee in the Oval Office, such was his admiration for the man. Ike was not alone in his admiration of Lee. Now cheap politicians who could never match the achievements of the lowliest private under Ike or Lee, much less the achievements of those great American generals, vie with each other to see who can be the shrillest in their denunciation of the man who led the Army of Northern Virginia in such a way that it won the admiration of most of those it fought and who surrendered it in such a way that it made national reconciliation possible.
There’s something wrong with this picture.