The Pentagon is considering plans to remove “divisive” symbols from US military bases, and the Southern flag is one of the symbols that may be banned, the Secretary of State says.
Ryan McCarthy said that “anything that is a divisive symbol” can be placed on a “no-fly list” – despite Donald Trump’s insistence that displaying the Southern flag be “freedom of speech” and bases in honor of Southern generals should not be renamed.
McCarthy said the Pentagon was about to agree a standardized policy between the different services after the Marine Corps banned the southern flag last month.
One suggestion is to freeze the Confederate flag by excluding it from a list of approved symbols without banning it by name.
The Pentagon (photo) is considering a plan to remove “ division symbols ” from military bases, and the Southern flag is one of the symbols that may be banned, the military secretary says
One suggestion is that the southern flag (pictured) should be quietly removed by excluding it from a list of approved symbols without banning it by name is assumed
“Anything that is a division symbol, we want to get that from our installations and stuff out of our formation,” Army Secretary McCarthy told reporters.
Asked if that would also mean that Confederate flags would be specifically identified as divisional symbols, McCarthy said, “We would have all divisional symbols on a no-fly list, if you like.”
A McCarthy spokeswoman said he did not specifically refer to the Southern flag and that he would refer to the Pentagon under specific guidelines.
Top General Mark Milley said last week that the military should “take a hard look at the Confederation symbols, including basic names.”
The Marine Corps has already banned the southern flag because it can ignite the division and weaken the cohesion of the unit.
Military commands in South Korea and Japan soon followed, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper is believed to aim for a unified policy between the armed forces.
Esper discussed the plan to soften the Southern flag with senior leaders this week.
The proposal lists the types of flags that may be affixed to military installations, silently omitting the southern flag.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy (pictured left during a visit to Poland earlier this week) said ‘anything that is a division symbol’ could be placed on a ‘no-fly list’
Donald Trump (pictured) says flying the Southern flag is ‘freedom of speech’ and bases should not be renamed in honor of Southern generals
Acceptable flags include the U.S. and state banners and the widely displayed POW / MIA flag. Official military division and unit flags are also likely to be allowed.
Officials said on Thursday that there was no guarantee that the latest version would be approved.
The long-standing issue of the Southern flag comes back into the limelight amid the unprecedented global settlement of racism unleashed by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.
Statues of Southern figures are seen by many as symbols of slavery and racial oppression, and several have been demolished in recent weeks.
Supporters of the flag and statues say they represent the heritage of the South and serve as a memorial to the Southern dead during the Civil War.
Last month, Trump rejected the renaming of 10 military bases named after Southern generals and knocked down Pentagon officials who had spread the idea.
The US Marine Corps (file photo) has already banned all public displays of the Southern flag
Trump declined calls to rename the bases on June 10, saying it was “ sacred grounds ” and “ beautiful and legendary military installations, ” where soldiers have been trained for major American victories.
“Our history as the largest nation in the world will not be tampered with. Respect our military! ‘ he said.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is trying to enact legislation to remove the names, saying it was time to demote the generals to “footnotes” in history books.
In a speech on the Senate floor, she emphasized the sinister past of honored generals such as John Brown Gordon, a suspected KKK leader; Henry Benning, a fierce secessionist who feared a “land owned by the blacks,” and Braxton Bragg, a slave owner with a bad reputation, even on the Confederate side.
Many of the 10 men had previously fought for the U.S. military, but defected to the Confederacy when the 11 southern states seceded in 1861.
The 10 bases are all located in the south, most of them in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 elections.
Warren also attacked Trump for resisting the renaming of the bases, saying the president had “chosen a worn-out path of hatred and division.”