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Jim Webb: 'Honorable Americans Fought on Both Sides in the Civil War'

In a Facebook post, he said Americans should consider "the complicated history" of the Civil War.
Image: Jim Webb
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb talks with employees during a tour of the Rippey Wind Farm, Monday, June 15, 2015, in Grand Junction, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Charlie Neibergall / AP

Potential Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb on Wednesday weighed in on the ongoing debate over the Confederate flag, saying that the nation should "remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War."

"This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War," he wrote in a Facebook post. "The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us."

Webb, a former Virginia senator who has said he's exploring a presidential run, wrote that Civil War soldiers included "slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and ... many non-slave holders fought for the South."

The post comes days after most other presidential hopefuls waded into the debate over the flag. On Monday, Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said that the flag should no longer be displayed at the state's capitol, and many GOP candidates announced support for her position.

Webb's stance also is a sharp contrast to that of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who on Tuesday called the Confederate flag "a symbol of our nation’s racist past that has no place in our nation’s present or future."