A far-left author who graduated from the same university where Barack Obama used to teach — the University of Chicago — has written a column published in Newsweek that has many military veterans up in arms and fighting mad. Writer Rick Perlstein argues that, much like the Confederate flag, the POW/MIA banner represents “racist hate” and is a tool of “venal right-wing politicians” who use it to spread a “pernicious myth.” Perlstein says it’s time to take the flag down.
Since the article came out, both the author and the editor of the publication in which it originally appeared, The Washington Spectator, have issued apologies and clarifications. Perlstein, who is the national correspondent for the Spectator, says, in part, “I sincerely regret the use of the word ‘racist’ to describe how the POW/MIA flag distorts the history of the Vietnam War. The word was over the top and not called for. I’m deeply sorry it hurt people— especially people who’ve selflessly served their country.”
The familiar black-and-white POW/MIA flag was created in the early 1970’s as a symbol of national concern about U.S. military personnel captured and held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action. It was officially recognized by Congress and flies in numerous positions of prominence across the country, often right below the American flag, largely in conjunction with the POW/MIA issue related to the Vietnam War.
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The Perlstein piece has touched off a firestorm among veterans and their families. Among the former military servicemen outraged over the article is Pete Hegseth, now a Fox News contributor, who shared his feelings on the show Outnumbered. You can watch Hegseth’s emotional defense of the flag by clicking below.
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Vietnam War Vet Jim Markson describes the POW/MIA flag as representing “one of the highest military traditions and patriotism in this country.” By clicking on the video at the top of this post, you can see the TV news report from WPIX in which Markson honors the flying of the flag that Rick Perlstein has described as “political propaganda used to hide war crimes.”
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