November 11, 2009
With the tragedy that has struck Fort Hood, with the swirling talk of ethnicity, religion, and the mission of defending democracy and freedom it might be an opportune time to consider a new more appropriate name for the fort.
In 1942, in the midst of a war with the avowedly racist Hitler regime, the American government set up a new military base in Texas and named it Fort Hood after an avowed racist and a military failure. His ideology was reactionary and he was no strategic thinker, so you have to believe some pretty dull bulbs made the decision. General John Bell Hood of the Confederate Army lost an arm (Gettysburgh) and a leg (Chickamauga) fighting against the American government of Abraham Lincoln. Gen. Hood wrote a letter to U.S. General Sherman that ended: "...you make negroes your allies and desire to place over us an inferior race... Better to die a thousand deaths than submit to live under you or your government and your negro allies."
Lincoln and Grant were wise not to be vindictive toward soldiers of the defeated Confederacy. But it is damned outrageous that 77 years after the slaves were freed a new U.S. fort was named for a man who led bloody attacks on the American army.