Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rick Perlstein's Auto de Fay

An article published by The Washington Spectator is causing a stir after its author claimed the American POW/MIA flag is a racist symbol, “useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage.”
The Spectator’s national correspondent Rick Perlstein argues that the flag, which is meant to honor U.S. military personnel taken as “prisoners of war” or soldiers “missing in action,” is nothing but a cult invented by President Richard Nixon “in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim.” (Washington Times)

I believe Mr. Perlstein  inflammatory article was intended to stimulate a more nuanced and reflective review of the complex political issues surrounding America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The belligerent tone reflected in many comments clearly indicates that our wounds, both the physical and the emotional, on this the 50th anniversary of the war remain unhealed. I believe our righteous anger would be better expressed in reexamining those policies that led to such a tragic loss of blood and treasure. Simply stated, the article was intended to stimulate renewed thought on a subject of profound significance to all veterans. "Those who fail to learn from history," wrote George Santayana, "are doomed to repeat it."