In a clear FU to President Trump, the Pentagon announced that it is banning the confederate flag and other racist symbols at military installations around the world but without actually using the word “confederate.”
The new policy sidesteps Trump’s decree that the U.S. shall not remove the names of confederate generals despite the fact that the military figures were defending the institution of slavery and are now considered traitors to America. Military brass is said to determined to strip the confederate base names if Trump loses the November election. Sixteen percent of service members are African-American.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper is apparently trying to finesse the issue without attracting the ire of the president, who has made defending racist symbolism a central part of his reelection campaign. In his release, Esper made no mention of the word “confederate,” and instead listed guidance as to the kinds of flags that are acceptable on military installations, automobiles, badges, and signs. Only flags that honor states and territories, military services, and other countries and are allies of the United States are allowed, apparently leaving out pride flags or Black Lives Matter symbols for that matter, at least between now and January, when Trump would leave office.
The Modern Military Association of America, the nation’s largest LGBTQ military and veteran non-profit organization, condemned the denigration of the rainbow flag:
“It’s absolutely outrageous that Defense Secretary Mark Esper would ban the Pride flag — the very symbol of inclusion and diversity,” said MMAA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane. “In what universe is it ok to turn an opportunity to ban a racist symbol like the Confederate flag into an opportunity to ban the symbol of diversity? This decision sends an alarming message to LGBTQ service members, their families, and future recruits.”
“The Pentagon must immediately reconsider and take swift and appropriate action to ensure the Pride flag and LGBTQ Pride Month observances are not threatened. If Secretary Esper refuses to reconsider, we call on Members of Congress to take action.”