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Jim Webb: "Honorable Americans Fought On Both Sides Of The Civil War"

Possible 2016 presidential candidate addresses Confederate flag controversy, saying flag was used for racist purposes, but "our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect."

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Former Democratic Virginia senator and possible 2016 presidential candidate Jim Webb weighed in on the controversy over the Confederate Battle Flag Wednesday, saying it was used for racist purposes but that "honorable Americans fought on both sides of the Civil War."

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Webb wrote: "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. 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."

"But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South," Webb continued. "It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery."

"This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect," he concluded.

Webb previously declined to comment on the Confederate flag, and is the last of the likely 2016 candidates from both parties to stake out a position.

Webb previously said he would announce his presidential intentions by the end of June.

CJ Ciaramella is a Washington editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.

Contact CJ Ciaramella at cj.ciaramella@buzzfeed.com.

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