Why Hasn’t President Obama Lowered ALL Flags After Chattanooga? There’s A Good Reason (VIDEO)

If there’s one thing the American right loves, it’s symbols. This summer, the symbol du jour appears to be flags. Not long ago, righties were in a tizzy over removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol. Now, following the murder of four marines and one sailor in Chattanooga, the right is stirring up another flag controversy.

“WHY WON’T PRESIDENT OBAMA LOWER FLAGS FOR CHATTANOOGA ATTACK? WHITE HOUSE WON’T SAY,” screams the headline on Breitbart.

The Gateway Pundit’s headline reads, “Obama STILL Has Not Ordered Flags Flown at Half-Mast for Servicemen Killed in Chattanooga Terror Attack.”

Then there’s this meme, making the rounds on Facebook:

11745792_881845975186127_8676106038440616661_nFox News Insider features an interview with Tennessee congressman Scott DesJarlais, one of many in congress who really should not be throwing stones. DesJarlais says that the president must lower the flags to honor the victims. Host Stuart Varney asked DesJarlais if the president won’t lower the flags because he won’t “acknowledge domestic Islamic terrorism.” DesJarlais agreed that seems to be the problem.

After being badgered by Republicans for several days, President Obama ordered the flag on the White House lowered just after noon on July 21. Flags at the Capitol had already been lowered. But this doesn’t appear to be good enough for some, who still want the president to order all flags lowered to half staff. According to CNN, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said:

“The President should… order flags flown at half staff across the country, and he should do so immediately.”

Here’s the likely reason the president has not ordered all flags lowered.

Huntsville, Alabama, TV station WHNT looked into the protocol surrounding lowering the flag. They found that while guidelines call for flags to be lowered following the death of a government official, past or present, there is nothing that requires it following an act of violence, although the president has the authority to do so. President Obama has ordered flags lowered following some past shootings — Sandy Hook, for example. But he did not issue an order for flags to be lowered following the recent shooting in Charleston (the meme above is incorrect about that).

But it really isn’t required, or necessarily proper for all flags to be lowered in this instance. The reason? The servicemen who were killed died in the line of duty.

Snopes says that when a serviceman is killed in the line of duty, it is customary for flags in his or her hometown, even in his or her home state, to be lowered. That has happened in this case. And governors in some states have ordered flags in their states to be lowered. But it is not standard practice for flags to be lowered on a nationwide level to honor the death of an active duty member of the military. Other mass shootings which resulted in an order from the president to lower flags involved civilian deaths.

Given the American fondness for conflict, imagine what it would look like if all our country’s flags were flown at half staff following each and every military death. Take a look at the site icasualties and you will quickly see that honoring every military member who died in the line of duty by lowering the flag for just one day would mean that our flags would have flown at half staff for most of the past 14 years. As Snopes observes, to avoid having the flag at half staff most of the time, the president would have to choose which deaths to honor, and then we’d have an entirely different moment of outrage from the right.

Here’s a brief video from WHNT about lowering the flag:

Featured image via Desktop HD Photos