Yesterday on the House floor, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) argued that the United States needs to immediately authorize funds for the war in Iraq. “Congress needs to quit talking about supporting the troops and put money where our mouths seem to be,” said Poe.
To make his case, he quoted “successful Confederate general” Nathan Bedford Forrest, but left out the fact that Forrest was also one of the original Grand Wizards of the Ku Klux Klan.
Forrest was a fucking badass. Civil War writer/historian Shelby Foote called him, with Lincoln, one of the two “authentic geniuses” of the war. He had immense personal courage and his innovations in cavalry/mobile warfare are still studied. He started the war as a civilian who knew nothing about the military, and educated himself to become one of the most creative and consistently successful officers in the war, and a persistent thorn in the Union’s side.
Aaand he helped found the KKK and made millions trading slaves in the antebellum South. Life is complicated. =/
It probably plays all right in the South. edit: Well, with some people. I actually read about some protests that were raised over a statue of Forrest somewhere. It does seem odd to enshrine a man who bought and sold human beings for a living, but then, we deify men who owned human beings, so…
That was in Nashville, and the statue is the most brazenly inflamatory physical object I’ve ever seen. It’s on private property at the intersection of two highways right near the biggest mall in the city. It’s about 1.5-2x scale of him on a horse and it’s surrounded by like 15 enormous confederate flags.
edit: Here we go. I lived there at the time, and it was pretty controversial.
It’s still there, and it’s fugly too. Not because of who it is, but because it’s brass and silver and just looks tacky as all hell. It’s actually off the interestate (I-65), so you see it if you are headed south out of Nashville.