The Republican-led U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted to require the Department of Defense to rename military bases named after Confederate generals, setting up a clash with President Donald Trump, who opposes that change and promised a veto.
The importance given by Trump to keeping bases like Fort Bragg in North Carolina as they are was underlined by the decision of press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to read out the tweet and to give printed copies of it to White House reporters.
Each US state gets to pick two statues to send to the Capitol complex, where the Senate and House are situated.
He was a career U.S. Army officer who fought in the Mexican-American and Seminole wars before joining the Confederacy.
A 2019 Military Times survey found that more than a third of troops who responded have seen evidence of white supremacist and racist ideologies in the military, a significant increase from the year before, when only 22 percent reported the same.
For decades, these issues have arisen occasionally within the military only to return to obscurity with little lasting effect. The president nearly certainly knows a change would be unpopular with elements of his far-right base, whom he's eager to please in an election year.
"To suggest that these forts were somehow inherently racist and that their names need to be changed is a complete disrespect for the men and women who saw the last piece of American land they saw before going overseas and losing their lives", McEnany said. reporters, adding that the posts are "known to the heroes within him, who trained there, who were deployed from there".
The amendment about the Confederate base names adopted by the Senate committee on Thursday is within an annual bill that sets policy for the military - one that, because of its size and importance, passes almost every year.
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There are 10 Army bases in the US named after Confederate generals who fought for the South during the Civil War. Some of those bases were named after prominent confederate army generals. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, there are more than 1,700 such symbols across the United States, including more than 700 Confederate statues.
"We must recognize history is important, but we must come together and have some sort of open discussion about race", the official told Fox News on Monday.
The word comes from several reports, including Politico, The Hill, and CNN, indicating the Army has reversed its stance on renaming at least 10 installations who were named by notable military officials from the Confederate Army.
The Pentagon sent Rep. Clarke a letter calling potential name changes "controversial and divisive", and the proposal stalled.
One comment on Gen. Petraeus's LinkedIn site, from an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve who served in Afghanistan, said that the world was shocked when Islamic State destroyed ancient statues and historical artifacts. "They must be removed".
"Let's not forget that most of these forts were named after your fellow West Point graduates", wrote another critic. Should he be erased from history? Lee had advised against his memorialization, fearing it could be a source of discord.
"The irony of training at bases named for those who took up arms against the United States, and for the right to enslave others, is inescapable to anyone paying attention", Petraeus wrote in an essay published on Tuesday by The Atlantic.