The $858 billion Pentagon budget, passed as part of the Senate Republican sellout Porkubus-Omnibus inflationary spending bill, along with the previous year’s Spendorama, will once again pit Gens. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant against one another.

Never mind their desire to live in peace following the surrender on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House. Congressional iconoclasts and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in a petty and vindictive act, will be sending Gen. Lee to the dustbin of history at West Point Military Academy over the Christmas break.

“The Commission’s thorough and historically informed work has put the Department on a path to meet Congressional intent – and to remove from U.S. military facilities all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy,” Austin’s memo reads.

And General Grant, 157 years after the end of the Civil War, has now been promoted to General of the Armies of the United States. He joins George Washington and General John “Black Jack” Pershing with that rank. This promotion and great honor were buried somewhere in the tens of thousands of pages the public — and most in Congress — never gets a chance to read before spending bills are voted on these days.

“Grant’s exemplary leadership on the battlefield could only be overshadowed by his commitment to a more just nation for all Americans during the Reconstruction Era,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. Missouri Republicans Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Amy Wagner joined as co-sponsors.

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Gen. Lee was a superintendent at West Point before the war, and his portrait in Confederate uniform will be removed from the library, as will a brass triptych. Stone busts of both Lee and Grant will be removed from Reconciliation Plaza. Lee will be locked in storage; Grant will go to Grant Hall. The plaza was created by graduates of the two classes of 1861 to bring reconciliation between the men of the class who fought in the war. Twelve members of that class died fighting for the Union, nine for the Confederate states. One of the plaques in the plaza reads, “Once Divided — Now United.”

Scratch that. Once divided — always divided. It is claimed some of the officers surrendering at Appomattox to Grant had attended his wedding. In another battle, he accepted the surrender of a close friend who had helped him in the past. Many of these men had fought side by side in the Mexican American War. All very complicated for the comic book progressive mind, where all is black and white, with no shades of gray allowed.

And no, Lee was not a traitor, as liberal historian H.W. Brands explains in detail here.  No one was brought to trial. The courts never even ruled. Lincoln refused to consider it a war, which would have recognized a sovereign government, even though all was settled on the field of battle. And Grant promised at the surrender, “Officers and men will be allowed to return to their homes not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.”

Maybe it is fitting to remove Grant and Lee from the plaza at their West Point alma mater because the progressive hypocrites who run the show in Washington and at the Pentagon want to destroy the memory of those they hate. This was something both Lee and Grant energetically repudiated after the war. The post-Civil War generation wanted a strong, united country. Today, as the bond between those who govern and those who are governed grows weaker and more disunited, reconciliation is not a living part of the progressive vocabulary. Wreck the past to rule the future is the watchword.

While they are at it, maybe the progressives should remove the monument to Benedict Arnold at the Saratoga Battle Field. Never mind that he helped win the battle that helped win the war by bringing the French to the American cause. Or maybe remove all mention of progressive President Woodrow Wilson, no friend of racial justice, or President Harry Truman, for bombing civilian populations with nuclear weapons. As Gen. Curtis LeMay said to Robert McNamara while they were planning the raids on Japan: You know if we lose this thing, we will all be tried as war criminals.

To the victors goes the history. When it comes to hating people who are now dead, progressives have a wide field to work with. So many imperfect people, so little time. The only law that can never be repealed is that what goes around comes around. Will the day come when all pro-abortion politicians will be erased from history for the bloody work they are doing today? Be careful what you wish for, progressives. Your grandchildren may take a similar historical vengeance and erase you.

As for the U.S. military, sadly, you lost a major war last year. You are now involved in a “supporting” role in a war with Russia that hasn’t exactly proven to be a stunning success. Your recruitment is so poor, you are offering $50,000 enlistment bonuses, even as the Army has cut its force size by 12,000 in order not to be too embarrassed by enlistment shortfalls.

Maybe you should stick to knitting. Cosmetic changes to burnish your public image while you are perceived to be less than effective in your core mission do not inspire confidence. Leave refighting the Civil War to historians and history buffs. Emulate the great General Grant, who knew the importance of inspiring men by winning battles and projecting strength.

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