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Were Confederates Traitors? Mothball the Confederate Monuments.

Confederate-Flag

It’s time to put them where they belong — museums and cemeteries.

Robert E. Lee wasn’t a Nazi, and surely would have had no sympathy for the white-supremacist goons who made his statue a rallying point in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

That doesn’t change the fact that his statue is now associated with a campaign of racist violence against the picturesque town where Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. The statue of Lee was already slated for removal by the city, but the Battle of Charlottesville should be an inflection point in the broader debate over Confederate statuary. The monuments should go.

Some of them simply should be trashed; others transmitted to museums, battlefields, and cemeteries. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention, with white nationalists often mustering in their defense. Some discrimination is in order.

There’s no reason to honor Jefferson Davis, the blessedly incompetent president of the Confederacy. New Orleans just sent a statue of him to storage — good riddance. Amazingly enough, Baltimore has a statue of Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of the monstrous Dred Scott decision, which helped precipitate the war.

A city commission has, rightly, recommended its destruction. Will President Trump fire Robert Mueller? 00:08 00:56 Powered by Robert E. Lee, on the other hand, is a more complicated case. He was no great friend of slavery. He wrote in a letter to his wife “that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country” (he added, shamefully, that it was good for blacks — “the painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race”). After the war, he accepted defeat and did his part to promote national healing.

Yet, faced with a momentous choice at the start of the war, he decided he was a Virginia patriot rather than an American nationalist. He told one of President Abraham Lincoln’s advisers: “I look upon secession as anarchy. If I owned the four million slaves in the South I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state?”

He betrayed the U.S. government and fought on the side devoted to preserving chattel slavery. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention. That is a grievous political sin, although he obviously wasn’t the only one guilty of it.

The Civil War was an American conflict, with Americans on both sides. An honorable soldier, Lee is an apt symbol for the Confederate rank and file whose sacrifices in the war’s charnel house shouldn’t be flushed down the memory hole. The Baltimore commission has called for moving a striking dual statue of Lee and Stonewall Jackson to the Chancellorsville, Va., battlefield where the two last met before Jackson’s death. This would be appropriate, and would take a page from the Gettysburg battlefield.

A statue of Lee commemorates Virginia’s losses and overlooks the field where General George Pickett undertook his doomed charge. If you can’t honor Robert E. Lee there, you can’t honor him anywhere. For some of the Left, that’s the right answer, but this unsparing attitude rejects the generosity of spirit of the two great heroes of the war, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Notably, Grant vehemently opposed trying Lee for treason. For supporters of the Confederate monuments, removing them from parks and avenues will be a blow against their heritage and historical memory. But the statues have often been part of an effort to whitewash the Confederacy.

And it’s one thing for a statue to be merely a resting place for pigeons; it’s another for it to be a fighting cause for neo-Nazis. Lee himself opposed building Confederate monuments in the immediate aftermath of the war. “I think it wiser,” he said, “not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.” After Charlottesville, it’s time to revisit his advice.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. © 2017 King Features Syndicate

Trump / Obama Honor Vietnam Veterans – New York Times Insults Them

Vietnam Veterans

Who would have thought that the unifying note in the Time of Trump would be Vietnam? Our country, after all, has been tearing itself apart over ObamaCare, tax policy, Russian meddling, immigration, climate change and the Middle East.

Yet there was President Trump Monday, bestowing the Medal of Honor on a one-time Army medic who was advanced for our nation’s highest award for valor by former President Barack Obama. It seems the two presidents actually agree on something.

And what they agree on is that a modest, retired coach and teacher from Michigan, James McCloughan, now 71, deserves our nation’s highest military honor for deeds done nearly 50 years ago. And in a war on which our own Congress turned its back.

What a deeply satisfying moment.

Not that this is the first time that a recent president has reached back to award a long-overdue Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam. Just last year Obama draped the blue ribbon with white stars on an Army lieutenant colonel named Charles Kettles.

In Vietnam, Kettles had repeatedly flown his helicopter through heavy fire to rescue from an enemy attack 40 of his fellow GIs. It was an incredible display of valor. “Entire family trees,” Obama said, “were made possible by the actions of this one man.”

In 2014, Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to two Vietnam veterans. Sgt. Donald Sloat, honored posthumously, clutched an enemy grenade to his breast to save his buddies. The other, Command Sgt. Major Bennie Adkins, slew as many as 175 enemy soldiers while rescuing his comrades and sustaining 18 wounds himself.

Five years ago in a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, Obama formally thanked the long-shunned veterans of Vietnam. And he went further, rightly calling America’s treatment of its Vietnam veterans a “national shame, a disgrace that should never have happened.”

It was Obama who signed the waiver legislation needed to enable James McCloughan to be awarded the Medal of Honor so long after the war (awarding the medal is restricted to the five years after the actions it recognizes). President Trump rose to the occasion, in a powerful White House ceremony.

It honored McCloughan for saving the lives of 10 fellow soldiers during 48 hours of desperate combat on a hill called Nui Yom. “It was as if the strength and the pride of our whole nation were beating inside Jim’s heart,” Trump said.

What a contrast to the way The New York Times is marking the 50th anniversary of Vietnam in 1967, which it calls the year that changed the war and America. It’s running a series riddled with praise for those on the Communist side or those who, while loyal to our side, opposed the war.

One piece celebrates “the women who fought for Hanoi,” meaning Soviet-backed Communists of North Vietnam. “My First Anti-War Protest,” reads another headline in the Times series. Another kvells about “a frontline nurse for the Vietcong.”

There’s a piece celebrating the glories of an antiwar concert. Another is by Joan Baez’s ex-husband, who’d decided “my country was wrong” and chose jail rather than answer the Vietnam draft. The Times series also extolls Muhammad Ali for refusing the draft.

Unless I missed it, though, there’s nothing about Jim McCloughan and the other outsized heroes who were touched by glory in Vietnam. Or about what turn history might have taken had we let the Communists seize Indochina without a fight.

These oversights might be rectified in the new series on Vietnam by documentary film-maker Ken Burns. It is set to be released in September. He and his filmmaking partner, Lynn Novick, have a piece in the Times series on the war.

“If we are to begin the process of healing,” they write, “we must first honor the courage, heroism and sacrifice of those who served and those who died, not just as we do today, on Memorial Day, but every day.”

A preview of their documentary makes clear how wracked with guilt are those who greeted returning veterans with sneers and jeers. One antiwar activist they filmed appears close to tears as she recalls such behavior.

Hence the importance of what Obama and Trump are doing. Let the next step in honoring the courage, heroism and sacrifice of those who served (and sometimes died) in Vietnam be finding a way to acknowledge that theirs was, as Reagan put it, a noble cause.

New York Post Seth Lipsky

TRAVEL ALERT: Aviation Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States

Travel Dale Yeager Blog

The United States and the global aviation community face an adaptive and agile enemy. Terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a “spider web” of threats to commercial aviation as terrorist pursue new attack methods.  Based on these concerns, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working to raise the baseline of global aviation security to keep the traveling public safe, in coordination with our international partners.

Change to Global Aviation Security Requirements

In light of evaluated intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has determined it is necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States.  These measures, both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices as well as heightened security standards for aircraft and airports.

  • Countries: 105
  • Airports: 280 (approximate number as it will vary based on seasonal airports)
  • Total airlines: 180
  • Average daily flights: 2,100
  • Passengers: 325,000 average daily passengers

Enhanced Security Measures and Timeline

The enhanced security measures include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing overall passenger screening;
  • Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
  • Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
  • Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional preclearance locations.

Over the course of the next several weeks and months, DHS/TSA will work with aviation stakeholders to ensure these enhanced security measures are fully implemented.  Those stakeholders who fail to adopt these requirements with certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

International Flights Bound for the United States

These enhanced security measures will help to secure all commercial flights departing from 280 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States.

Acid Attacks In The UK And London Dramatically Increase. Why?

Acid Attacks UK London

The latest acid attacks in north-east London on Thursday, which saw five people being sprayed with a corrosive liquid, add to a growing number of cases being reported in the UK.

 

Last month cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar were left with life-changing injuries after a corrosive liquid was thrown at them through a car window.

 

And in April clubbers in east London were caught up in an attack involving acid, which left 20 people injured.

 

Assaults involving corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012, police figures show.

 

The vast majority of cases were in London.

 

It is legal to purchase strong acid but there have been growing calls for regulations to be tightened in the wake of recent incidents.

 

The National Police Chiefs Council lead for corrosive attacks, Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton, told the BBC Asian Network that reported acid attacks had seen a significant rise in percentage terms, but that compared with knife crime the number of incidents were “tiny”.

Takeaway restaurant owner Imran Khan was attacked while out delivering food in Barking, east London, in November.

 

He was confronted by a group of youths who demanded money and food while hurling racist abuse at him. When he got back into his vehicle they squirted a corrosive liquid in his face.

Mr Khan says the pain “overtook everything” and he feared he would be left completely blind.

He was saved from long-term damage by a quick thinking shopkeeper who washed his face with clean water at the scene of the attack.

 

He says the attack affected him “big time” leaving him feeling unsafe in public, especially after dark.

 

Weapon of choice

Attacks in London in 2016-17

Crimes using “corrosive substances”

 

208

Violence against the person

 

38

caused serious injuries, 1 was fatal

 

118 robberies

 

10 of which left victims with serious injuries

 

2 sexual offences, including 1 rape

Source: Metropolitan Police

Getty Images

Metropolitan Police figures obtained by the BBC show men are twice as likely to be victims of acid attacks in London than women after being linked to a number of gang crimes.

The vast majority of cases never reach trial.

 

Dr Simon Harding, a criminologist and expert on gangs at Middlesex University, says acid is becoming “a weapon of first choice”.

 

“Acid throwing is a way of showing dominance, power and control, building enormous fear among gang peer groups,” he says.

 

Gang members know there are advantages in using acid to hurt someone rather than a knife because “the charges are more serious if you are caught with a knife and the tariff for prison sentences are much higher”.

 

Dr Harding added that “acid is likely to attract a ‘GBH with intent’ charge while using a knife is more likely to lead to the attacker being charged with attempted murder”

 

“There’s no specific offence of throwing acid. It’s a harder offence to prove because there is rarely any DNA evidence and its much easier to dispose of a plastic bottle than it is a knife.”

Dr Harding says the government needs to attack the problem on three fronts.

 

He says acid is too easily available, sentencing needs to be brought into line with knife crime and a programme of education is required.

 

“Gang members do respond when they realise a victim of an acid attack may never work again or may need 15 or 20 plastic surgery operations.”

 

Physical and emotional damage.

 

“This is a horrendous crime, it maims, it disfigures,” ACC Kearton explains.

 

“What particularly disgusts me about this crime is that it’s premeditated, no-one carries acid around on the streets for any other reason than using it for this reason.

 

“The intention behind this is for someone to live with this for the rest of their lives.

 

“That is lasting physical and emotional damage, its sometimes why some people choose this as a form of attack.”

 

Asked what can be done to stop it she says: “To have an acid in a different bottle to the one it was purchased in can be an offence, we can also regulate volumes of sale, we can regulate ages at which people can buy it.”

 

Jaf Shah, from the London charity Acid Survivors Trust International says the phenomenon isn’t new and dates back to the Victorian times in Britain, but says the recent figures are shocking.

“The recent spike in attacks means the UK has the highest number of reported acid attacks per capita in the world.”

 

He is among those calling for regulations on the sale of acid to be tightened.

 

What does the law say?

 

There are no age restrictions on buying household bleach or drain cleaning products containing acid in the UK.

 

There are rules which limit the sale of certain substances under the explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) rules aimed at businesses who sell or supply such chemicals in bulk.

The Met said it was working with retailers to raise awareness that people might be buying corrosive substances to use as weapons.

 

But Jaf Shah wants the government to make it compulsory when purchasing corrosive chemicals to pay by card that is traceable to an individual and to make acid available only under licence.

 

Labour MP for East Ham Stephen Timms has tabled an adjournment debate for Monday in the House of Commons on the rise in the number of acid attacks.

 

About a third of last year’s acid attacks in the capital took place in the London borough of Newham, which is in his constituency.

 

Mr Timms says he is “most concerned about sulphuric acid” and that carrying a bottle without justification should be treated as an offence, like carrying a knife.

 

George Mann BBC News