Confederate names being removed from US military bases: Republicans and Democrats clash

The US Senate Armed Services Committee has decided to rename military bases names after confederates, amidst a wave of anti-racism movements following the death of George Floyd. Conservatives, including Trump, have opposed this. Meanwhile, colonial statues are being torn down around the world.

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The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment aiming to remove Confederate names from military bases, prompting heated reactions from conservatives. Liberals, meanwhile, are celebrating the plan.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I filed an amendment to the annual defense bill last week to rename all bases named for Confederate generals. It’s long past time to end the tribute to white supremacy on our military installations,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said of her amendment.

Conservatives voice disapproval for removal of confederate names from US military bases

If put into action, the measure would require that military bases rename all posts and assets – streets, equipment, etc. – which are named after Confederate officers or honor the Confederacy in any way. The bases would have three years to complete the task.

“Seriously failed presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars. Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!” President Donald Trump tweeted about the effort on Thursday.

Other conservatives have similarly expressed their opposition to the measure, which comes amid growing calls to take down historical monuments across the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“Don’t try to change our history, explain it. The ups, the downs, the achievements, the failures, the triumphs, the obstacles, the scars, the battles, the peaks, and the valleys. ALL OF IT,” tweeted Fox News contributor Dan Bongino.

Though Warren’s effort passed the Republican-led committee, some expressed opposition. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), for instance, slammed Warren’s plan as “historical revisionism.”

Warren, Biden in support of removing confederate names 

“The names affixed to our military installations must honor the diverse heritage of leadership and sacrifice in our country’s history,” Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said. “I fully support Senator Warren’s bipartisan effort to form a commission to rename Defense Department facilities named after Confederate leaders in the next three years, and look forward to implementing the commission’s work as president.”

The former vice president’s support of the Senate panel’s move to remove Confederate names on military assets is yet another stark contrast he is drawing on racial issues with President Donald Trump, who said Wednesday he opposes any effort by the US military to rename the nearly one dozen major bases and installations that bear the names of Confederate military commanders.

Warren, who has been floated as a possible vice-presidential pick for Joe Biden, has earned praise from her own side of the political aisle for leading the charge.

Anti-racism protests on the rise

Warren’s measure comes just as protests across the nation targeting historical statues are flaring up. Confederate statues and monuments have found themselves in the hot seat again, with many prominent Democrats calling for their removal.

The trend has grown in recent years, with states like Texas removing dozens of Confederate monuments since 2015, and over 100 total around the country being taken down, according to Southern Poverty Law Center.

The New Zealand city of Hamilton on Friday tore down a statue of the colonial military commander after whom it was named, joining a growing list of places worldwide that are reckoning with their past.

A crane hoisted the bronze sculpture of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from the town square Friday morning after requests from local Maori and threats from anti-racism protesters to topple it.

Read more: New Zealand removes statue of controversial coloniser 

Hamilton City Council acknowledged the statue’s extraction was part of a push to remove memorials “which are seen to represent cultural disharmony and oppression” sparked by global anti-racism protests.

“I know many people -– in fact, a growing number of people –- find the statue personally and culturally offensive,” mayor Paula Southgate said.

“We can’t ignore what is happening all over the world and nor should we. At a time when we are trying to build tolerance and understanding… I don’t think the statue helps us to bridge those gaps.”

Statues and monuments to figures involved in Britain’s colonial past and the international slave trade have also become increasing targets for activists over the last week.

Their targeting has prompted calls for a re-examination of the country’s historical legacy.

Read more: Boris Johnson defends statues as anti-racism protests swirl out of control

On Sunday, crowds in southwest England toppled a statue to a local slave trader and philanthropist, Edward Colston, and threw it into the harbour, prompting calls for others to be removed.

But while recognising the “legitimate desire to protest against discrimination”, Johnson said in statement issued on Twitter: “We cannot now try to edit or censor our past.

RT with additional input by GVS News Desk