Not-So-Grand-New Flag


The reviews from "vexillologists"–that is, flag-design buffs–are in, and the new Iraqi banner is a turkey, they say.

"This is not a good flag," said David Martucci, president of the North American Vexillological Association. "I think most people in this community agree on that."

He and his colleagues don't like its awkward asymmetry, with three thick bars along the bottom representing the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (in blue) and the Kurdish people (in yellow). And they aren't fond of the white background, which they deride as a "crest on a bed sheet" design.

Most of all, they don't like the flag's symbolism.

"My feeling is that a lot of people in Iraq will feel that they're turning their back on the traditions of the country," Mr. Martucci said, "and that does not bode well for the future."

Well, it depends on the traditions, doesn't it? If they're turning their backs on systematic torture and degradation, maybe the new colors–even if they are suspiciously reminiscent of Israel's–might be seen as a nice change of pace.

And of course, it matters far more what Iraqis think than what Mr. Martucci believes (alas, I wasn't able to find any sort of report on what the country's residents feel about it all).

Here's a pic of the new flag.

Update: Reader JJB points us to Iraqi comments on the flag over at USA Today.

And here's a reminder, courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (totally annoying registration required), of how flag disputes continue to roil Americans.

NEXT: Last Word on The Passion

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There also seems to be some Iraqi grumbling that the words “Allah is great” has been deleted from the new flag. But they kept the crescent, though. Is it just me, or are these people pretty fucking obsessed over their stupid desert god? Someone on this site suggested that we carpet-bomb them with porn. I love that idea for so many different reasons.

  2. It only looks to those who pursue “first order” thinking that we can’t do anything right.

    This flag thing was designed to be disliked. The idea is to take the wacky Iraqi’s natural passion for arguing, and channel it into something relatively harmless. The flag is intentionally designed as a scapegoat. Plus, this will enable us to print newspaper polls, and even distribute ‘Net-ready computers to the Iraqis so they can vote on their favorite design. The idea is to keep them occupied. (Pun not intended).

    (They should have never included the crescent; it’s not that common, and leaving off Islamic symbols would be a very good thing.)

  3. Fatmouse,

    If I misunderstood your post (as I’m not thinking clearly when I’m in my “sarcastic hick” mode), I apologize in advance for my thickness.

  4. “Is it just me, or are these people pretty fucking obsessed over their stupid desert god?”

    It’s likely that they’re more offended that infidel American puppets were responsible for the removal, than the removal itself.

    Wacko, so it’s a feauture, not a bug?

  5. I like Wacko’s thoughts. Instead of dropping porn, we should drop issues of People on Iraq, so they can argue over who should be … The Swan or whether or not American Idol is rigged.

    Mr. Nice Guy, we’re pretty obsessed over our desert god out here too. Could you imagin the outrage if we removed “In God We Trust” from our money or if someone dared to try to change the Pledge of Allegiance.

  6. Light blue and yellow?

    Are they supposed to be the Sweden of the middle east or the Ukraine? Are those traditional Iraqi colors? (as opposed to Arab green red black white)

    I don’t know what would be good. How about green in the middle of the rivers to represent the fertile cresent or the marsh arabs? Maybe a green moon or green or red field?

    I agree that ditching the Baathist/Arab nationalist color scheme is a good idea, as is removing Saddam’s handwriting “Allahu Akbar”.

    How about Royal Blue Stripe, Yellow Stripe with Green Cresent, Royal Blue Stripe? Maybe people would confuse them with Honduras though. And that would be too much focus on Kurdistan.

  7. Why do I suspect that the sudden appearance of this (ghastly) flag is because somebody in the CPA just realized that the Olympics are coming up in a few months?

  8. amr:

    In order to be totally inclusive, I think the flag should include red moons, yellow stars, green clovers, blue diamonds, and purple horse-shoes. I think that’s something the Iraqis can really go after.

  9. the infidels be after me lucky charms!

  10. Is it just me, or are the Kurds not actually located between the Tigris and the Euphrates? I think rule 1 for flag designers should be, if attempting a geographic metaphor, bloody well get the geography right.

  11. I know! I’ll put on this vest and blow meself to kingdom come!

  12. I like the flag suggestions on At least that site treats this issue with the respect it deserves…

  13. has some great flag proposals.

    Damn you jon, for beating me to it.

  14. I think the asymetry of the stripes might be from cropping the bottom of the flag; in the link provided, the crescent appears to be cropped at the top, too.

    Why would they pick a light blue symbol on white? That’s just asking for it. Good thing conspiracy theories don’t get much play over there.

  15. For Iraqi comments on the flag from 4/26/04 USA Today –

    My personal (sarcastic) opinion – I’m sure all those US soldiers in Iraq are glad they’re fighting a war so that a crescent symbolizing Islam is put on the new national flag of Iraq.

    Fucking brilliant move.

    Not that 9/11 and Iraq are in any way connected (other than in Bush’s worldview), but why did the hijackers fly planes into the WTC and Pentagon (and the field in Pennsylvania)? It wasn’t exactly because they were Unitarian Universalists.

  16. Last night on NPR they had a bit about the flag and public reaction to it. Accoring to the report and the three or four Iraqis they interviewed, no one except the Governing Council likes it. The Iraqi people hate the fact that the flag design was sprung upon them without public notice or opportunity for thier input. They also reject the symbolysim in the flag (why do the Kurds get a special symbol of their own? What about the other peoples of the country?) As far as the Iraqis interviewed are concerned, this is yet another example of the imperialist US forcing its will upon the Iraqi people without first considering their thoughts/desires/opinions.

    In short, they hate the new flag and the way it was forced on them.

    Based on the report, it’s easy to understand why the Iraqis would resent and reject the new flag. What was the Governing Council thinking? How stupid can they be?

  17. It seems to be a real break from the red, black, white, and green color scheme used by most of the other nations of the middle east. Here’s a nice site with a clickable map that lets you see other flags:

    Here’s a story with a better picture too:,1,2969538.story?coll=chi-news-hed

  18. The colors blue and white are traditionally associated with Judaism. Sooner or later some Arab conspiracy theorist is going to have a feld day with that.

    What, are we TRYING to do everything there as stupidly as possible? Not only are we ignoring pressing issues in favor of symbolic ones, but we use the wrong symbolism, to boot.

  19. Well, if any Iraqi newspapers blame it on the U.S., they oughtta better shut em down right quick!

  20. Excuse me, Les, but your retarded lefty nature seems to have hampered your ability to type. Allow me to rephrase your statement.

    “Well, if any Iraqi newspapers blame it on the U.S., declare that those responsible should be killed and give out their names and addresses along with tips on when they’re most vulnerable – they oughtta better shut em down right quick!”

  21. This is offered up as the new flag of Iraq.
    It is pale. It has colors that look like they
    have already run. Gone are the red,
    black, and green of Arabic Islam. In their
    place, a prefaded banner looking nowhere
    nearly at home as when flying from a
    halyard of the Love Boat. Also
    available as a dish towel, steward’s insignia,
    and knee length tube sock.

  22. The picture of the flag does look bad, it looks like it might be a picture of the flag printed on paper with an inkjet, rather than an actual flag though.

    If they did the crescent moon in green, people would probably object less.

  23. Hell, Fatty, I ain’t no red, but I shore would — ahem! hack! cough!

    That’s better. I’d appreciate a link demonstrating that the newspaper in question was recommending murder and providing a hit list. Brener’s stated reason for the shutdown only mentioned articles that “incited hatred” not murder.

  24. I don’t know Fatty, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what he’s saying.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.