No-fly zone: Pentagon effectively bans Confederate, LGBT and BLM flags from DoD property
The Pentagon has effectively banned the Confederate flag at US military sites around the world, without explicitly saying so, in a new policy unveiled on Friday.
A Department of Defense memo has outlined the flags that are deemed acceptable to display in Department of Defense workplaces and common areas – and the Confederate flag is not among those listed.
The LGBT pride flag and Black Lives Matter banners are also absent from the list of acceptable emblems.
A draft version of the policy reportedly banned the Confederate symbol outright, according to Politico, but the published version just details the types of flags which may be displayed, such as those of US states, military services, and flags belonging to allied countries.
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The approved emblems “must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in the memo.
“The decision to not name a specific prohibited flag was to ensure the department-wide policy would be apolitical and withstand potential free speech political challenges,” an unnamed defense official told Reuters.
President Donald Trump views the Confederate flag issue as one of free speech, and criticized NASCAR’s decision to ban it in June. Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota in May, calls to ban the flag and remove statues of Confederate figures intensified as protesters demanded action to tackle racism.
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The controversial flag was used in the Civil War in 1861-65 by Southern states which fought for the continuation of slavery. Today it is viewed by many Americans as offensive, because it is seen as an approval of slavery and a symbol of racism. Others say it is part of the South’s culture and a reminder of those who died in the war.
The ban has exceptions, including displays in museums, on license places, grave sites and in art, where it is clear that the flag is not being endorsed by the DoD.
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