Marie Harf, a former State Department spokeswoman, was taken to task Thursday during a panel discussion about the recent assault on the county’s statues and did her best to clarify her stance after comparing the current situation in the U.S. to Iraq during the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Harf said that one of the first things the U.S. military did after invading the country was to help Iraqis topple statues of the murderous dictator. She said that the statues “were symbols of oppression” and “symbols of a leader who killed so many of his own people, had imprisoned them, had tortured them. And so symbols really do matter.”
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She likened the campaign against Saddam to the current push to eradicate Confederate statues during the country’s unrest. Like many liberal commentators, Harf offered no solution on how to handle these statues but called for a “process.”
Mollie Hemingway, another panelist, incorrectly stated that Harf explicitly compared George Washington to Hussein and Harf called her out on it. But Hemingway clarified her stance and said that Harf was clearly on the side of protesters who, this week, called for the removal of Washington (a slave owner) and Abraham Lincoln (due to a D.C.’s statue’s depiction of him standing over a freed slave).
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The debate over the removal of statues from statehouses and the Capitol have sparked violent protests in places like Washington D.C. and Madison, Wis. The Washington Post reported that U.S. Marshals were told to be prepared to “provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments.”
The reported move comes after protesters attempted but failed to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson at Lafayette Square Park, which is the shadows of the White House. President Trump condemned the effort and the next day activated the National Guard to protect federal assets in the district.
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Protesters have been accused of lacking knowledge in the statues that have been targeted. One of the statues toppled was in Madison and depicted Hans Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died fighting for the Union during the Civil War. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that his general once called him “the bravest of the brave.”
He died “leading a charge” against the Confederate army in Chickamauga, Ga. The paper said there is a memorial where he was struck in the stomach by the fatal bullet.