Not, perhaps, since the height of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, have Americans been so divided and their passions so inflamed over issues at home and abroad, as seen when a veteran of the Iraq War confronted protesters at an Iowa intersection recently.

The street-corner demonstration in West Des Moines, Iowa drew the attention of a United States veteran, as a group waved a “fake” American flag upside down to protest the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Observers posted video of the confrontation between the vet who pulled his car to the curb and requested that the protesters “turn the flag around.” 

The footage shows the protesters waving a sign bearing the words: “SHUT DOWN GUANTANAMO” and the audio portion of the footage reveals a voice saying, “You got what you wanted,” as the veteran engages the protesters repeatedly asking that they “turn the flag around.”

The unidentified veteran, who claims he served in Iraq, is heard telling the demonstrators that he respects their right to protest, asking, “Do you know how many people have died for that flag?”

He calls the treatment of the flag, which by now has been thrown to the ground, a “desecration.”

Another unidentified protester wearing a black baseball cap with an undecipherable logo and the words “NAVY SEAL” on the bill engaged the younger veteran, and is heard saying that the flag is “not an American flag – it's an advertising gimmick.”

As the confrontation, which grew heated, but never violent, continued, another observer approached, offering verbal support of the veteran’s stance, but did not confront the protesters.

Bystanders continued to record the confrontation which lasted more than seven minutes, on their phones, even after the veteran left, but the footage records someone asking the unnamed man in the baseball cap  to “explain what just happened to the camera,” suggesting that the event was, in fact, staged to generate a reaction.

“We complain about our people being tortured and things like that, but how can we squawk when that’s what we’re doing?”

When asked if, in fact, he was a veteran, he removed the cap bearing the words “NAVY SEAL,” and turned aside.

President Obama’s vow to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba was one of his campaign promises in 2008 and, in fact, he attempted to do so by Executive Order on the first day of his presidency, January 21, 2009.

Since that time, the president has met with opposition from the American people, concerned about the recidivism rate of those terrorists who have already been released returning to the Middle East to rejoin al-Qaeda.

Congress, heeding public opinion, has consistently refused to grant President Obama the funds to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the United States.

Those restrictions were continued in the $607 billion defense budget bill signed by the president in November.



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