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Pentagon designs forms to prohibit showing of Confederate flags on military facilities

The Pentagon prohibits displays of the Confederate flag on military bases following weeks of wrangling, in a precisely worded resolution that does not include the word prohibition or the specific flag.

The proposal has been characterized by officials as a innovative way to ban the showing of the flag without directly contradicting or frustrated President Donald Trump, who has protected the freedom of the people to show it. The memo outlines the styles of flags that can be exhibited at military bases.

The Confederate flag is not among them — thus prohibiting its showing without singling it out in a “ban.” The AP first published specifics of the regulation.

“We must always remain focused on what unifies us, our sworn oath to the Constitution and our shared duty to defend the nation,” Esper’s memo states. “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”

In the weeks after George Floyd’s assassination, confederate symbols, statues and military base titles have been a political flashpoint. Protesters who oppose bigotry have attacked Confederate statues in many cities. Some state leaders are contemplating pulling them down but in certain places they are experiencing intense resistance. According to an official in the Defense Department who is acquainted with the matter, the choice not to designate a particular banned flag was to guarantee that the proposal remained apolitical and might meet future court concerns focused on freedom of expression. The official said the White House is aware of the current approach and that it automatically takes effect.

Trump has flatly denied the possibility of modifying base titles, and has supported the Confederate flag flying, claiming it’s a matter of freedom of expression.
According to Esper ‘s report, the showing of illegal flags — like the Confederate banner carried during the Civil War — is permissible in libraries, historical exhibitions, art works or certain instructional programmes.
The Confederate flag is now prohibited by the Marine Corps. In early June, Gen. David Berger, the Marine Corps commander, directed his subordinates to ban outdoor displays of the Confederate battle flag.

The flag, which some accept as a sign of identity, “carries the ability to inflame negative emotions” and may undermine the unit unity the needs to be combated, Berger said.
Army authorities quickly followed suit in South Korea and Japan. The current legislation will not change such prohibitions or revoke them.
The other three armed services were also working to enforce identical bans, but stopped after Esper made it clear that he needed a consistent approach for the whole department. So now, they are going to deliver this latest guideline to their troops and staff.

Military officials have been bound in knots around the controversial issue of removing the Confederate flag for weeks,
An early copy of the Defense Department proposal forbid the showing of the Confederate flag, arguing that the ban would protect “the morale of our personnel, good order and discipline within the military ranks and unit cohesion.” That iteration was shelved, and since then officials have been trying to come up with a strategy that would have the same effect that would not cause political chaos. At a Wednesday briefing, Esper addressed the matter with local members, discussing some of the legal concerns involving a number of prohibitions, which some officials claim may be questioned in trial.

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