Rumsfeld Admires War Criminal

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To the Editor/
The New York Times:

Your
"Political
Points
" article in the 23 May Sunday New York Times,
reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reading Grant,
the biography of the Civil War general, Ulysses S. Grant, as a
morale booster.

But if
Rumsfeld is going to adopt Grant as a role model or source of
inspiration, he (and you) should be aware that Grant's policies
and actions included the following:

  • Ordering
    the expulsion on 24 hours notice of all Jews "as a class"
    from the territory under his control (General Order # 11, 17
    December, 1862), and forbidding Jews to travel on trains (November,
    1862);
  • Ordering
    the destruction of an entire agricultural area to deny the enemy
    support (the Shenandoah Valley, 5 August, 1864).
  • Leading
    the mass murder, a virtual genocide, of Native People, mainly
    helpless old men, women, and children in their villages, to
    make land available for the western railroads (the eradication
    of the Plains Indians, 1865–66).
  • Overseeing
    the complete destruction of defenseless Southern cities, and
    conducting such warfare against unarmed women and children (e.g.,
    the razing of Meridien, and other cities in Mississippi, spring,
    1863).

Contrast
these well documented atrocities (and many others too numerous
to list) with the gentlemanly policies and behavior of the Confederate
forces. My ancestor Major Raphael Moses, General James Longstreet's
chief commissary officer, was forbidden by General Robert E. Lee
from even entering private homes in their raids into the North,
such as the famous incursion into Pennsylvania. Moses was forced
to obtain his supplies from businesses and farms, and he always
paid for what he requisitioned, albeit in Confederate tender.

Moses
always endured in good humor the harsh verbal abuse he received
from the local women, who, he noted, always insisted on receiving
in the end the exact amount owed.

Moses
and his Confederate colleagues never engaged in the type of warfare
waged by the Union forces, who routinely burned, looted, and destroyed
libraries, courthouses, churches, homes, and cities full of defenseless
civilians, including my hometown of Atlanta. My ancestors may
have lost the war, but they never lost their honor.

Perhaps
Rumsfeld should be reading the memoirs of General Lee or Major
Moses, instead of the bio of a war criminal like General Grant.

Sincerely
yours,
Lewis
Regenstein
Atlanta,
Georgia

May
27, 2004

Lewis
Regenstein [send him
mail]
, a Native Atlantan, is a writer and author.

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