Confederates, Al-Qaida are the Same: Terrorists - WashingtonWatch's Blog

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Confederates, Al-Qaida are the Same: Terrorists


After reading the hundreds of e-mails, Facebook comments and Tweets 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 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 13.”

Sherry Callahan said that supporting the Confederate 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 familiar 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?

When you make the argument that the South was angry with the North for “invading” their “homeland,” Osama bin Laden has said the same about U.S. soldiers being on Arab soil. He has objected to our bases in Saudi Arabia, and that’s one of the reasons he has launched his jihad against us. Is there really that much of a difference between him and the Confederates? Same language, same cause, same effect.

If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young, Muslim radicals, who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings? They say they are defending the honor of their ancestors by trying to rid the world of evil Americans.

If the Sons of Confederate Veterans use the vicious nature in which people in the South were treated by the North as a talking point, doesn’t that sound exactly like the Taliban saying they want to kill as many Americans for the slaughter of innocent folks in Afghanistan? Defenders of the Confederacy say that innocent people were killed in the war.

Hasn’t the same argument been presented by Muslim radicals in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and other places where the U.S. has tangled with Muslim terrorists?

We can’t on one hand justify the honorable actions of Confederates as the duties of valiant men in the South, and then condemn the Muslim extremists who want to see Americans die a brutal death. These men are held up as honorable by their brethren, so why do Americans see them as different from our homegrown terrorists?

The fundamental problem with extremism is that when you’re on the side that is fanatical, all of your actions make sense and you are fluent in explaining away every action. Of those you oppose, every position is a personal affront that calls for you to do what is necessary to protect you and your family.

Just like radical Muslims that have a warped sense of religion, Confederate lovers have a delusional view of what is honorable. The Muslim terrorists are willing to kill their own to prove their point, and the Confederates were just as willing in the Civil War to take up arms against their fellow Americans to justify their point.

If you’re a relative of one of the 9-11 hijackers, that man was an out-and-out terrorist, and nothing you can say will change that. And if your great-great-great-granddaddy was a Confederate who stood up for Southern ideals, he, too, was a terrorist.

They are the same.

As a matter of conscience, I will not justify, understand or accept the atrocious view of Muslim terrorists who view their actions as representing a just war. They are reprehensible, and their actions are a sin against humanity.

And I will never, under any circumstances, cast Confederates as heroic figures who should be honored and revered. No, they have been, and forever will be, domestic terrorists.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the forthcoming book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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