PONTIAC, Mich. – A county executive refused an order from the governor to fly flags at half-staff in honor of fallen troops, saying the order politicizes the war in Iraq (search).
Instead of lowering flags, government should be building support for the troops who are fighting the war, said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson (search), a Republican.
"His feeling is that lowering the flags to half-staff really politicizes the war and promotes opposition to the war," Patterson spokesman Robert Dustman said.
The executive order made in December by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm (search) states that flags should be flown at half-staff from the day of the death or notification of death of an active-duty Michigan soldier until the day of interment.
A Granholm spokeswoman said the governor issued the order out of respect for the dead troops, but that the state will not force local governments to follow it or penalize those who don't.
"The federal statute provides for half-staff when ordered by president or governor, and it's also general flag etiquette to follow the law as it relates to the flag," spokeswoman Liz Boyd said. But, she said, "we're not the flag police."