Politics

The Department of Defense released a new policy Friday banning Confederate flags on military bases

PHOTO CREDITS: DAVID GOLDMAN/AP 

On Friday, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a new policy which significantly limits the flags which can be flown by service members or DoD civilian employees in public locations, common access areas, and DoD workplaces (USNI News). ~

The policy lists nine types of flags that are approved for display across the Defense Department, a list which ranges from state flags to the POW/MIA flag to military service and unit flags. The list, though not specifically banning the confederate flag, notably does not include the Confederate battle flag as an acceptable type of flag to fly, a de facto ban of the symbol on military bases (Fox News). While the early drafts of the policy specifically banned the Confederate flag, there were concerns about violating freedom-of-speech laws (AP News). Despite this, portions of the military – including the Marine Corps, and US Forces Korea – have made explicit bans against the flag, some as early as this spring (Politico). The new policy is noted not to affect these bans (Fox News). ~

Amid the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality and racial justice spurred from the recent death of George Floyd, there has been a renewed focus by some on banning the Confederate flag (Politico). This focus has included recent bans to the Confederate battle flag to certain degrees around the country, including the removal of the symbol from the Mississippi state flag. According to AP News, supporters of banning the Confederate flag say it is a hate symbol against African Americans and represents treason against the United States. Those who oppose banning the flag say the flag is a symbol of more than just a “nation” that supported slavery, but also a representation of southern heritage (Fox News). ~ 

President Donald Trump has shown support for those who would like to fly the Confederate flag, saying that bans of such are violations of freedom of speech (AP News).The military, however, states that the flag, “carries the power to inflame feelings of division,” and can weaken the unit cohesion required by combat (Fox News). The military is still looking into removing other divisive symbols, as noted by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy (AP News). ~

ARTICLE: DANIEL ENGLAND

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