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27 August 2010

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Sidney O. Smith III

Stone Mountain? I hiked to the top of Stone Mountain with my fiancee last October to watch the sunset beyond the Atlanta skyline. A State park is there and it is a bit like…well…like a state park.

But watching sunset from atop Stone Mountain is quite an event. It was fairly crowded that late afternoon and the crowd was as culturally diverse those at Golden Gate Park in San Fran on a Sunday afternoon. Actually more diverse, as will be explained below. But lots of Asians. Lots of African Americans. My radar also told me lots of Stoners headed to the top of Stone Mountain too. I think they see sunset atop Stone Mountain as a ritual.

After sunset, we headed into Decatur for dinner in a little neighborhood. We may as well dining in the Haight in San Franscisco sans fog but with a lot more black people around. I never saw any black people in San Francisco. Apparently, as part of the California enlightenment, they were required to live all the way across the bay in Oakland. Oakland, actually, reminds me of Atlanta and I like Atlanta. Ergo…

Lots of misconceptions out there thanks to people like Chris Mathews. I wouldn’t give a damn but the same people spinning these misconceptions are the same ones who are enabling the systematic murder of Palestinians and, in all likelihood, will give us a nuclear war. Pull back the mask and who really and truly has blood on their hands?

My impression is that most of the people at Stone Mountain that evening would agree would agree with me, including the three memorialized in granite. They fought Jacobins then, God knows we need to fight ’em now.

jonst

Try telling Matthews anything, other than what his stocks are doing.

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Smith: the issues pertaining to Stone Mountain were that a group of white supremacists would congregate there for gatherings. The bas relief carving/monument being the obvious draw. Eventually they were discouraged from meeting there and by the late 80s one of the leaders of the group had relocated from the area to Oxford, GA (for those playing at home, Oxford and it's slightly larger neighbor Covington are the sites of the fictional Hazzard County and home of the Dukes of Hazzard, as well as In the Heat of the Night's Sparta from the tv show - both series were filmed there) buying the property and moving in right next door to the home and small farm of my undergrad polisci professor (I went to Emory: two years on the original Oxford campus doing the classic liberal arts core curricula and then the fink two years on the man in campus in Atlanta) who was Jewish. My professor spent many a day openly ruminating about what he could do to torment his new and intolerant neighbor...

Sidney O. Smith III

Ah, Emory.

From JB Stoner to a bunch of stoners, you should give the top of Stone Mountain a look.

Back during the Civil Rights era, Longstreet’s hometown had one the best newspapers around. The editor, a truly great man, was Jewish. From Atlanta originally, educated at Chapel Hill. He and my dad were very good friends and, like my father, he had to stand up to the “klan”, which never represented the majority of people nor even close.

And my guess is that my father and this editor had to stand up to the “klan” more than most.

But one time after dinner, he told my father, “Judge, if the klan only had burned a cross in my yard, I would have won a Pulitzer!”

Very, very funny. And he does make a point. Actually several, if you think through.

I spent some time with this man and I think I know one of the secrets of his success. It’s one I would like to pass on. This Jewish American editor truly loved America, including, yes, even Southerners. I think that this love of people came first. It simply just shined through when talking to him.

Aren’t you a US Army man? What about Hugh Thompson from Stone Moutain? Why aren’t you writing about him?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Thompson,_Jr.

Who stood up for people of another race more than Hugh Thompson? Did Hugh Thompson represent Stone Mountain, Georgia and the US Army?

Patrick Lang

Sidney

"Aren’t you a US Army man? "

Are you talking to me? pl

Adam L Silverman

Mr Smith: I'm a civilian who works for the Army. And I'm pleasantly surprised to see you identified the individual I was referring to.

Sidney O. Smith III

Col. Lang:

My comment was a response to Dr. Silverman.

But I would like very much to know your thoughts about Hugh Thompson, Jr. From my perspective -- and I don’t know the details -- I found Thompson's moral courage simply unsurpassed.

And if I am correct about Thompson, then his actions completely and totally shatter the underlying perceptions that people like Chris Matthews have relied upon to promote their careers. And they continue to spread those perceptions as the American gospel. It basically is a career track that pays well.

I am not saying that JB Stoner did not exist. I am saying that people like Hugh Thompson exist as well. And they have gone unnoticed in the shaping of the American narrative, thus leaving the American ethos distorted and out of balance.

Or, to word differently, odds are sky high that back when Hugh Thompson was wearing the uniform, he would have been called a racist hick in many venues. He would have been associated with JB Stoner. But look at what he did. And many of the same ones who would have called Thompson a racist hick are the very ones who, years later, engendered the carnage in the Middle East. Chris Matthews has played such a role.

William R. Cumming

Disclosure! Never been to Stone Mountain!

Who is represented by the carvings?

Also is Lee's place in military history firm? Is Grant's? Are we still learning from that greatest event in US history or has the learning ended?

Patrick Lang

Sidney

Dr. Silverman is a Department of the Army civilian employee.

I was in Germany in 1969 when Sy Hersh's story about My Lai broke in the US press. I told my wife that this had to be an exaggeration and possibly a fabrication. I was just back from VN where I had spent a year walking around , often alone, in remote villages, sitting in barber's chairs while being shaved and getting sick from eating with Vietnamese villagers and montagnards. I just refused to believe it.

Then I saw the photographs in Life (?) magazine and I told my wife that it must be true. Why? Simple. I had never seen fear like that on the faces of the civilian population. Clearly those people believed they were going to be killed. A couple of years later a general officer friend asked me what should be done about Calley et al. I told him that murder was murder and that murder should be punished.

The Americal Division mut have been a thoroughly rotten organization. It was formed from leftovers in an army deprived of its reserve components (National Guard and Army Reserve) by President Johnson's gutless decision not to call those reserves to active duty, The junior officers in the 11th Infantry Brigade were largely people who would never have been commissioned if the Army had not been stretched so thin. Both Medina and Calley are perfect examples. One should not forget that Colin Powell was an assistant chief of staff of the division and investigated the crime. We know now what a principled person he is.

CWO Thompson? He did his duty. What more can I say? pl

Sidney O. Smith III

Col. Lang

Thank you for your views concerning My Lai and Hugh Thompson. Helps me put the pieces of the American puzzle together a bit better. I was just a kid when it happened and it was a confusing event, during a confusing time.

In a less confusing, actually perfect, world, I would like to have Moses Jacob Ezekiel commissioned to do a statue of Hugh Thompson, placed at Stone Mountain, titled “Just Doing His Duty”.

WRC

I have only visited Stone Mountain twice. I would like to go more often to hike to the top to check out the sunset. As mentioned, there is a State Park. You know the type -- laser shows, riverboat rides and so on. Not my scene. But the hike to the top of the mountain…yes.

Three Confederates are carved in the side of Stone Mountain -- Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Dr. Silverman is correct that Stone Mountain was a rallying cry for “militant ethnic nationalists”, beginning with the national -- and I stress national --reorganization of the KKK during the Jim Crow era. Of course, historians have proved that the Jim Crow era was a direct result of the Jacobin reconstruction of the South, followed by extreme economic exploitation. Even the Wallerstein historical school points out that the financial interests of the North exploited the South much as they do to third world countries today, although, if memory serves me correctly, the language the Wallerstein school uses was not a third world country but something along the lines of a lesser developed country. Whatever.

But Dr. Silverman is correct in that regard. And of course, when I say “militant ethnic nationalists”, I am referring to those with such views as JB Stoner (and, possibly, the FM for Israel -- Avigdor Liberman, at least according to a growing body of evidence? If someone can prove otherwise, I will change that reasonable suspicion that racism is at work).


Dr. Silverman

Please keep in mind, that I fully aware that social cohesion in the US, including most certainly in the South, is under great stress and the odds of disintegration are growing. In my opinion, expanding the war in the Middle East, particularly if it escalates to a nuclear war, will lead to the unnecessary deaths of US soldiers and tear the fabric of the US into bits. It‘s already starting.


But back to the present. Did you know that the US Representative for Stone Mountain is black and a Buddhist -- one of the first two Buddhists elected to serve in the House?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Johnson

Don’t Buddhists, at least those from Tibet, believe in the right of secession? (that was joke).

I wish you could have met this Jewish editor of the newspaper from Longstreet’s hometown. An American hero and a spiritual giant. Because of him (and others), Longstreet’s hometown is probably more “tolerant” than other small towns in the South. I will concede that point, so what you write cannot be ignored.

But throughout the years, my father spoke so highly of the editor, that I always saw him as a guiding light of sorts. Keep in mind, I grew up uber Zionist. But for it is worth, I tried to broach the topic of Israel with him two times during a lunch in the late 1990‘s during his final years. But he never would change the subject we were talking about -- Longstreet’s hometown and all its people. He intentionally would direct the conversation away from Israel and back to Longstreet’s hometown. So I never learned his views but could only speculate that the message was “Longstreet’s hometown is what’s important to me.”

But this much I do know. Both the editor and his Jewish wife loved Longstreet’s hometown. How do I know? The editor left the local newspaper, I believe it was in the 1970’s and started a magazine in an “urban market” in a different state. It was very successful and he made a lot of money.

But -- and this is crucially important -- both he and his Jewish wife decided to spend their last years in Longstreet’s hometown. They could have lived anywhere on earth. But they returned, spent some enriching last years and then they both died in Longstreet’s hometown.

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the answers all. I know Davis and Lee graduated from the USMA. Did STONEWALL?


Is it really true that Lee won every battle he fought before Stonewall died, and lost every battle afterwards?

Disclosure: I am not a civil war buff, now WWII buff but have read some. What I find most interesting is WWI and how the die were cast for the rest of the century in that event as the WEST committed suicide.

Patrick Lang

All three were WP as was Samuel Cooper, the adjutant general. This skewed personnel decisions somewhat, especially in the cavalry. Lee needed Jackson. that is for sure. He needed someone who could be relied on to act promptly and aggressively. pl

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