Washington Post: “Veterans don’t get to decide what ‘respecting the flag’ means” Or Something

Salil Puri, a staff sergeant with the Army’s Psychological Operations Regiment, served in Afghanistan. He is a senior consultant with The Culper Group now. And the Washington Post has given him a platform to rail against our military veteran’s having a voice in the on-going kneeling debate. Sure, he’s entitled to his own opinion. It’s utterly unsurprising that the WP picked this for their leftist viewpoint

Veterans don’t get to decide what ‘respecting the flag’ means


But while most veterans have been measured in their responses, one strand of criticism is particularly disturbing: the notion that kneeling during the anthem is a specific affront to veterans and service members. As Kurt Schlichter, a combat veteran and contributor for Fox News, put it, Kaepernick “is targeting us. He knows what this means to us. He knows how insulting it is. He knows how disrespectful it is, and Nike is empowering it.” In a Facebook group for veterans that I belong to, someone wrote: “Anyone not respecting our flag should be deported. Many veterans and servicemen and women have died and suffered grievous wounds for this flag and anthem and constitution. Have some respect.” This argument isn’t new: Last year the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion chastised the protests as disrespectful.

This reasoning is rooted in a premise that is both wrong and dangerous. If kneeling for the anthem and the flag is a direct offense toward the military, that means veterans have a stronger claim to these symbols than Americans in general do. The argument insists that American iconography represents us more than it represents anyone else.

Yet the flag is not a symbol reserved for the military. It is a symbol of the United States of America, and it belongs equally to all citizens, including Americans who kneel during the anthem, or those who wear flag shirts (which is also in violation of the unenforceable flag code), or even those who burn the flag.

If we accept the idea that the military and veterans have authority over American symbols, we enforce a very narrow minority view of America and the American experience. Our cultural fabric is as rich as it is because the American myth has been interpreted, reinterpreted, criticized, praised and challenged by Americans of all backgrounds. If the military class were the arbiter of taste and ideology with regard to our iconography, we’d have a lot more of “13 Hours,” the bogus and hagiographical Benghazi movie, and a lot less of “Stripes” or “Catch-22.”

This line of thought continues on, with the core meaning being “veteran’s shouldn’t be listened to when they’ve been disrespected.” Puri even trots out the notion that this further divides the military from civilians and creates an “entitlement mentality” in the military.

We are not an elite class of citizen elevated above our neighbors. When we start thinking of ourselves as a warrior caste, removed from the people we defend, we exacerbate the civilian-military divide. We indulgein an entitlement mentality that isn’t healthy, demanding special treatment, such as discounts or restrictions on fireworks that might upset vets with post-traumatic stress disorder. The message is, You’re welcome for my service .

That’s interesting, because we’re supposed to listen to the tiny minority of U.S. citizens who are Offended that police officers arrest them.

We should be able to dislike something without seeing it as a personal affront. We should be able to oppose something without becoming frothy-mouthed and obsessed, as some veterans online have done over Nike’s ads. We should embrace Special Forces veteran Nate Boyer’s insistence that we show compassion for those we don’t agree with, while also acknowledging that everyone is free to boycott and destroy their Nike gear as they see fit.

Again, interesting, as the spokesperson for this wore socks portraying cops as pigs, loves him some dictator Fidel Castro, and gave money to a group that supports cop murderer Assata Shakur, who fled to Cuba. And, perhaps, Puri should be talking to liberals, who see everything as a personal affront. But, in his world, veterans aren’t allowed to have an opinion, nor get upset when NFL players and liberals disrespect them.

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2 Responses to “Washington Post: “Veterans don’t get to decide what ‘respecting the flag’ means” Or Something”

  1. drownedpuppies says:

    It was an Army Special Forces’ veteran, Nate Boyer, who persuaded Mr. Kaepenick to kneel instead of sit. Boyer told Kaepernick that kneeling, although a pretest against police brutality, was also a way to honor the sacrifices of the warriors. Mr Boyer is a white veteran.

    If Kaepernick was white, the far right would be far less agitated.

  2. Nighthawk says:

    I am a vet and I heard this tripe from Nate Boyer and been trying to remember when I, or any of my fellow service members, knelt to a fallen/wounded service member. The ONLY time I can think of is when they knelt in prayer and NEVER when the National Anthem was playing. In fact, by regulation, you must stand at attention and, if in uniform, salute. Anything else would get you at least a good ass chewing and often times, worse. Mr. Boyer is just as wrong as the kneelers, maybe even more so, because he is excusing actions based on a false narrative AND justifying it with a lie.

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