Branches Pressure Esper for Confederate Flag Ban

It's the US flag that's placed on coffins, draft policy says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2020 7:00 PM CDT
Branches Pressure Esper for Confederate Flag Ban
A Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol honor guard folds the retired Mississippi state flag after it was raised over the Capitol grounds one final time in Jackson last week.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A draft policy circulated by Pentagon leaders would ban the display of the Confederate flag in Defense Department workplaces or public areas by service members and civilian personnel. If approved, the policy would bring the other military services in line with the Marine Corps, which banned Confederate displays on its bases in early June. Other military services had been poised to make similar decisions, but they were stalled when Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wanted a review of the matter that would come up with a consistent department policy, the AP reports. Officials said the draft was sent out to service leaders for feedback last week. It was not clear what, if any, input the White House had on the plan. The draft policy does not prohibit the private possession or display of the flag, or showing it in plain view on sites that are not on department property.

The proposed policy states that to do its mission, the military "must cultivate an environment in which we trust one another completely and treat each other with dignity and respect. Unlike the United States flag, the Confederate battle flag tends to promote division not unity, among our people." It concludes that "the flag that we wear on our sleeves today, the flag we drape on the coffins of our people who have given their lives for our nation" is the US flag. Officials said Monday that service chiefs and secretaries meeting with Esper last week expressed frustration with the department's inaction on the matter. And they said they have been hearing from service members questioning why officials haven't acted on a ban. (NASCAR pushes back against President Trump's tweets about Bubba Wallace and the Confederate flag.)

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