Pentagon appoints panel to scrub Confederate names and symbols
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller appointed a four-member commission on Friday to change the names of military bases that venerate Confederate generals.
President Donald Trump last month vetoed the legislation that directed Miller to name the panel charged with ridding the military of Confederate idolatry. Congress, for the first time in his presidency, overrode Trump's veto by commanding majorities and approved the National Defense Authorization Act.
One of Trump's principal complaints with the act was the provision to scrub the names of Confederate generals from military installations.
"The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars," Trump tweeted in June. "Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!"
Ridding the armed forces of honors - such as streets and barracks named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee - has taken on new urgency within the Pentagon in the last year. Each of the services has moved to ban the display of symbols such as the Confederate Battle Flag, acknowledging that their racist association is offensive and incompatible with the diversity of their forces.
There are 10 military installations across the south from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Fort Hood in Texas that bear the names of generals for the Confederacy who committed treason by fighting against the United States to preserve slavery.
- Tom Vanden Brook
N. Korea threatens to build more nukes
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal as he disclosed a list of high-tech weapons systems under development, saying the fate of relations with the United States depends on whether it abandons its hostile policy, state media reported Saturday.
Kim's comments during a key meeting of the ruling party this week were seen as applying pressure on the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has called Kim a "thug" and has criticized his summits with President Donald Trump.
The Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying the "key to establishing new relations between (North Korea) and the United States is whether the United States withdraws its hostile policy."
Kim said he won't use his nuclear weapons first unless threatened. He also suggested he is open to dialogue if Washington is too, but stressed North Korea must further strengthen its military and nuclear capability to cope with intensifying U.S. hostility.
He again called the U.S. his country's "main enemy."
"Whoever takes office in the U.S., its basic nature and hostile policy will never change," he said.
Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, is unlikely to hold direct meetings with Kim unless the North Korean leader takes significant denuclearization steps.
- Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Live politics updates: Kim Jong Un threatens to expand arsenal