An opinion piece first published in The Washington Spectator then republished on Newsweek, calls for the removal of the POW/MIA flag that files from government buildings.
The post, written by Rick Perlstein, the national correspondent for the Spectator, says the flag should come down because it represent racism on the part of the United States for its involvement in the Vietnam War.
“Richard Nixon invented the cult of the “POW/MIA” in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim,” Perlstein wrote.
Perlstein writes that the emphasis on prisoners of war and those missing in action was a political maneuver to divert attention away from alleged American war crimes.
“During the Nixon years, the Pentagon moved them into a newly invented “Missing in Action” column. That proved convenient, for, after years of playing down the existence of American prisoners in Vietnam, in 1969, the new president suddenly decided to play them up.
He declared their treatment, and the enemy’s refusal to provide a list of their names, violations of the Geneva Conventions—the better to paint the North Vietnamese as uniquely cruel and inhumane. He also demanded the release of American prisoners as a precondition to ending the war.”
Perlstein references Mobile native and the late former U.S. Sen. Jeremiah Denton.
… as bad as their torture of prisoners was, rather than representing some species of Oriental despotism, the Vietnam Communists were only borrowing techniques practiced on them by their French colonists (and incidentally paid forward by us in places like Abu Ghraib): see this as-told-to memoir by POW and future senator Jeremiah Denton.
Many on social media are condemning Perlstein and the article.
— Daniel Tamburello (@GO_Tambo) August 12, 2015
Larry Etherington posted on Facebook: This “journalist” is the racist… It is a flag of solidarity for the many men/ women who were or are prisoners of war, or missing in action.
Bert Deus Ex Machina wrore: I’m a proud pinko leftist liberal and I will never support such an idiotic idea as dumping the POW/MIA flag.
However, Perlstein also had supporters:
At one point in the piece, Perlstein compares the POW/MIA flag with the Confederate Battle flag that was taken down at several government facilities across the South after a shooting at a South Carolina church.