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Liberals now claim POW/MIA flags are 'racist' and should be memory-holed with the Confederate flag

POW MIA flag

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(NaturalNews) The Left-wing extremist attacks on traditional American culture and attempts to rewrite or simply bury history are advancing apace, as the latest salvo is launched against the "racist" POW/MIA flag, which one mainstream media writer now thinks should go the way of the Confederate flag.

Writing in something called The Washington Spectator, an organ of "The Public Concern Foundation" – whatever that is (considering the organization's stated website listed on this page won't open) – "historian" Rick Perlstein, called the POW/MIA flag a "racist" symbol "useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage."

In his lengthy, sometimes rambling August 10 piece, Perlstein charges that the black-and-white flag, meant to honor U.S. military personnel who are taken as "prisoners of war" or soldiers who have gone "missing in action," is little more than an invented cult by President Richard Nixon "in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim."

Selective history from a 'historian'

"Downed pilots whose bodies were not recovered—which, in the dense jungle of a place like Vietnam meant most pilots—had once been classified 'Killed in Action/Body Unrecovered,'" Perlstein wrote. "During the Nixon years, the Pentagon moved them into a newly invented 'Missing in Action' column. That proved convenient, for, after years of playing down the existence of American prisoners in Vietnam, in 1969, the new president suddenly decided to play them up."

(History moment: For the record, the Vietnam War was initiated by two Democratic presidents – John F. Kennedy, who ordered thousands of U.S. troops to South Vietnam as "advisors," and his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who dramatically escalated U.S. involvement. It was eventually ended by Nixon.)

"[Nixon] declared their treatment, and the enemy's refusal to provide a list of their names, violations of the Geneva Conventions—the better to paint the North Vietnamese as uniquely cruel and inhumane. He also demanded the release of American prisoners as a precondition to ending the war," Perlstein continued.

"[T]hese prisoners only existed because of America's antecedent violations of the Geneva Conventions in bombing civilians in an undeclared war," he wrote. "[O]ur South Vietnamese allies' treatment of their prisoners, who lived manacled to the floors in crippling underground bamboo 'tiger cages' in prison camps built by us, was far worse than the torture our personnel suffered."

Forced to apologize

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a Navy fighter pilot who was shot down and held prisoner for six years by the North Vietnamese, would probably disagree with Perlstein, given the horrendously torturous and brutal treatment he received in captivity. Also, American troops were committed to Vietnam via congressional action (the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) and by order of Johnson – something Nixon had nothing to do with.

Perlstein went on to lament the impact that the flag has had on American culture and how it symbolized the suffering of American troops – as it should (why would anyone want to dedicate a flag to an enemy at the time?).

"That damned flag: it's a shroud. It smothers the complexity, the reality, of what really happened in Vietnam," he concluded. "We've come to our senses about that other banner of lies. It's time to do the same with this."

At this stage, considering today's Vietnam is more of an ally than an adversary, attacking – selectively – key American leaders during that period, as well as any of the symbolism that originated from the war, seems more like hateful discourse directed at political opponents than it does as a useful academic exercise (Perlstein is a historian, apparently).

And in fact, this wasn't lost on readers – or on Perlstein and the publication. After posting the initial article, both Perlstein and the publication's editor, Lou Dubose, issued an apology over use of terms like "racist" to describe the flag, following heavy criticism.

So much for principled academic journalism.







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