But when a friend of mine decided to forward me this article--one of the worst (as in dumbest) interpretations/analyses of the Civil War--he had to know that it would get my goat. Way to go, Dan.
The author's thesis is that the secessionist movement in the South was pretty much the same as militant Islam today, and the Confederacy as an organization was akin to Al Quaeda.
The argument is one based entirely on analogy with such gems as
When you make the argument that the South was angry with the North for "invading" its "homeland," Osama bin Laden has said the same about U.S. soldiers being on Arab soil.I guess this means that any people who resist an aggressive neighbor's unprovoked invasion are as vile as Al Queda.
Charles De Gaulle and the Free French resistance? They were a bunch of religious fanatics who unjustly opposed Nazi occupation.
Metacomet, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse--they had no reason whatsoever to resist the invasion of their homeland.
But the author is not being merely hyperbolic. "Same language; same cause; same effect," he says.
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?Did you catch that? The author actually claimed that Confederates and Al Quaeda's terrorists "say the exact same thing as their rationale." His exact words include "say the exact same thing." Remember Pickett's speech just before the charge at Gettysburg: "Up men, and to your posts. And let none of you forget that you are humble servants of Allah!"
The only analogy that can honestly be built here is that both Confederates and Muslim terrorists who have committed atrocities had grievances. This does not make them one and the same.
And then there's this bit of absurdity:
Just as radical Muslims have a warped sense of religion, Confederate supporters have a delusional view of what is honorable. The 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.
This whole article is worse than an exaggeration. It is one of the most dishonest analogies that I have ever seen a serious so-called journalist make. If you want to know the Confederate rationale, take a look at each Confederate State's Declaration of Secession. You'll find that they are remarkably like the United States' Declaration of Independence. You know, the document written by Thomas "Osama bin" Jefferson.
Confederate soldiers were not taking arms against their fellow Americans to justify their point. Confederate soldiers were taking arms against an aggressive foreign power that was hell bent on conquest. In this respect they were (if we want to draw an analogy) most like the colonists who, under Yassir Washington, seceded from and fought Great Britain.
Reading this article from CNN.com makes me angry, baffled, and sad. Then again, it is CNN. Perhaps they're so desperate for ratings that they really are unabashedly "jumping the shark."
Next week on CNN.com: Parents who insist on good hygiene for their children are like Nazis.
(Hint: Both forced reluctant people into the showers).