POW/MIA Flag Racist? Newsweek Writer Rick Perlstein Says Its Time To Take Down The Vietnam War Era Flag

Tara Dodrill

The POW/MIA flag is a symbol of racism, Newsweek writer Rick Perlstein claims. The prisoner of war and missing in action flag comments made by the writer in his "It's Time To Haul Down Another Flag Of Racist Hate" article, quickly sparked backlash and went viral.

Rick Perlstein's POW/MIA flag racism claims include statements allegedly that the emphasis placed on searching for Vietnam War prisoners and those missing in action was merely an attempt to deflect attention away from war crimes and deceptions.

"That d****d flag: It's a shroud. It smothers the complexity, the reality, of what really happened in Vietnam," the Newsweek writer said. "It memorializes Americans as the preeminent victims of the Vietnam War, a notion seared into the nation's visual unconscious by the Oscar-nominated 1978 film The Deer Hunter."

"You know that racist flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage? It's past time to pull it down. Oh, wait. You thought I was referring to the Confederate flag. Actually, I'm talking about the POW/MIA flag. I told the story in the first chapter of my 2014 book The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan: how 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."

Another excerpt from the POW/MIA flag racist Newsweek article follows.

"These prisoners only existed because of America's antecedent violations of the Geneva Conventions in bombing civilians in an undeclared war; third, because, 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. And finally, our South Vietnamese allies' treatment of their prisoners, who lived manacled to the floors in crippling underground bamboo 'tiger cages' in prison camps built by us, was far worse than the torture our personnel suffered."

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