WASHINGTON—President Obama inflamed his critics yet again, following the White House’s announcement Tuesday that the president would award the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing for his actions during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Those incensed at the moved have denounced Obama for honoring “a criminal from the War of Northern Aggression.”

“President Obama’s decision to award this nation’s highest honor to a traitor against heaven-ordained constitutional government is merely the latest move in his war on traditional American values,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a statement. “Lt. Cushing fought an illegal and immoral war of imperialism on a sovereign nation. To give him the same honor we award to service members who fought in Iraq is downright disgraceful.”

The lieutenant was killed defending against Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Cushing, an artillery commander, refused to abandon his position despite severe wounds and the loss of most of his batteries, and was killed during the assault. Congress granted a special exemption last December for Cushing to receive the award.

“Lieutenant Cushing was complicit in the destruction of the Southern way of life, the trampling of states’ rights, and the devilish expansion of the oppressive leviathan known as the federal government,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. “Time and time again, it seems this president will stop at nothing to tarnish American business and property values.”

“I was not surprised to hear of President Obama’s decision to bestow the Medal of Honor upon Lt. Cushing, given his well-established contempt for states’ rights,” wrote former Representative Ron Paul in an op-ed on LewRockwell.com. “The distance between commemorating Yankee imperialism and enacting government-run healthcare is not large.”

Former Rep. Paul has long been a critic of the federal government’s actions during the Civil War. In 2007, he claimed that Lincoln’s motivation in fighting the war was to “get rid of the original intent of the Republic.” He has also claimed slavery had nothing to do with the war.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee waded into the debate, as well. “This president has consistently shown his contempt for America’s culture, history, and its heritage,” said Huckabee on his program Wednesday night. “First goes around Congress to retrieve a deserter, and now he honors one of Lincoln’s jackbooted storm troopers. Is our commander-in-chief a fool, a traitor, or both?”

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