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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Pentagon Angered by Soldier Coffin Photos--how hypocritical! (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Pentagon Angered by Soldier Coffin Photos--how hypocritical!
John L
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quote:
I think one would have to be deliberitly obtuse to not admit that there is a difference between the motivations and actions of showing the bodys of infamous slain tyrants and showing the bodys of desicrated civilians or soldiers. Or to realize that the policy of not showing flag drapped coffins might be more than just restricting bad PR. (Not that I saying that is definitly the case, but it could be, unless you are a composer of military policy, can you really know? Anyone in the military here that would wish to weigh in on this?)
Baloney. That's a load of apologist crap, mostly because it completely ignores the effect it has, focusing completely on a "they must have meant well" justification. The plain truth is that this displays a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude. It really is that simple in the end, because the results are what counts.

Mind you, I am not against the war we waged to remove Saddam. I just think the way the current administration has handled it has been total and utter crap.

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Dagonee
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So John, still won't or can't refute the justification for showing Hussein's sons, huh?

Dagonee

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Scott R
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Showing Sadaam's sons was in poor taste; showing the dead US civilians was in poor taste.

Showing the coffins covered with American flags-- I don't see what's so terrible about it. The photos I saw were tasteful and respectful. They were an honor to the dead, IMO.

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mackillian
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I found those coffin photos to be beautiful (in terms of testament and photographic work, not in terms of dead people).
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John L
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What the hell do you want me to refute, genius? There was no need to show those dead photos on American news stations. There is only a thin justification for doing it in the Mid-East. In both instances, it is essentially the exact same thing as hanging a body from a pole—it's meant to display a dead enemy to the people to show people a display of the dead enemy. Whether it's for intimidation or some other psychological warfare is neither a new idea nor justifiable in any moral sense. Using newer technology and making thin excuses does not change what it is.

In other words: there's nothing to refute. The acts speak for themselves.

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Scott R
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Can I touch the vein that's popping out of your forehead?

That is SO cool.

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John L
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I think people read emotion that isn't there. If anything is genuinely annoying, it's that.
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Dagonee
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quote:
What the hell do you want me to refute, genius? There was no need to show those dead photos on American news stations. There is only a thin justification for doing it in the Mid-East. In both instances, it is essentially the exact same thing as hanging a body from a pole—it's meant to display a dead enemy to the people to show people a display of the dead enemy. Whether it's for intimidation or some other psychological warfare is neither a new idea nor justifiable in any moral sense. Using newer technology and making thin excuses does not change what it is.

In other words: there's nothing to refute. The acts speak for themselves.

OK, genius, it's really simple. The Pentagon released the photos so they could be shown in Iraq. The media in the U.S. showed them in this country, which the Pentagon was powerless to prevent once it released them in Iraq.

Dagonee

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Scott R
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Then consider me to be your ten-year-old kid brother, just back from Camp Chocolate and the Soda Fountain Wonderland.

Because I read TONS, SCADS, and BUSHELS of negative emotions in phrases like:

"What the hell do you want me to refute, genius?"
"That's a load of apologist crap"

:pokes Leto's belly:

Did that hurt?

:pokes Leto's belly:

Did that hurt?

:pokes Leto's belly:

Did that hurt?

:pokes Leto's belly:

Did that hurt?

:pokes Leto's belly:

Did that hurt?

:pokes Leto's belly:

Annoying, huh? It's 'cuz I read emotion into your posts that isn't there.

Bottom line, John:

If you don't want people thinking you're angry, don't write angrily.

:pokes Leto's belly again, runs away cackling:

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John L
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He's the one assuming intellectual superiority. I'm just pointing out the results. Making excuses after the fact is apologetics.

Gee, maybe I just won't say exactly what I mean next time. Whatever.

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John L
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quote:
OK, genius, it's really simple. The Pentagon released the photos so they could be shown in Iraq. The media in the U.S. showed them in this country, which the Pentagon was powerless to prevent once it released them in Iraq.
And this changes what I pointed out how? Putting the dead on public display is still intimidation by way of treating the dead with no respect. Like I said, your justification is weak.
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Scott R
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quote:
He's the one assuming intellectual superiority.
Mama, Papa's eatin' matches!

Okay, that was childish, but John, for Heaven's sake, you're an adult. Supposedly. I mean, you could be a 14 year-old cheerleader, this is the internet. . .

Okay-- you CLAIM to be an adult. I'll take your word for it.

When you claim people are adhering to apologist crap (in those terms), you have lost all room to ALSO claim that THEY ONLY are claiming intellectual superiority.

quote:
I'm just pointing out the results.
Pointing out the results of. . . his assuming intellectual superiority? Che?

What are the 'results--' you berating him? This makes sense how? This furthers the discussion in what way?

I don't understand. I'm ten, and on a sugar high, :poke, poke:, so maybe that's it.

quote:
Making excuses after the fact is apologetics.
Apologetics, explanations. . . what's the difference? I guess that would depend on what side of the fence you're sitting on, wouldn't it?

quote:
Gee, maybe I just won't say exactly what I mean next time. Whatever.
Civilization means tempering exactly what you mean to say, and expressing your opinion in socially acceptable terms.

Thus, I don't say, "Tom Davidson's a pathetic waste of human flesh, and I wish fire ants would chew him a new craphole in his skull."

I say, "Tom, I disagree with you point of view."

Listen up, chilen's. They's lots to learn, hear?

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John L
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Thanks for the lesson. I'll take it into consideration.

In the meantime, I meant what I said.

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Boothby171
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So, I just want to make sure that I understand something...

The pictures that the US Government allowed to be shown were, for the most part, disgusting and tasteless, and showed a reckless disrespect for human remains.

The pictures that the US Government DID NOT ALLOW to be shown (in fact, pulled from public access after letting them out in the first place) were respectful and in good taste.

And if any of you out there think that this sort of thing is not within the US Government's control, you've got a

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US Government
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Please disregard the previous post.

It is not true. The US Government has no control over the Internet, or the media, or anything, really. We're really very, very weak. You don't have to worry about us at all. Just pretend that we're not here. It's OK.

Please go back to your normal, everyday tasks.

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PaladinVirtue
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[ROFL]
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Ela
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Good one, Steve.

quote:
Showing Sadaam's sons was in poor taste; showing the dead US civilians was in poor taste.

Showing the coffins covered with American flags-- I don't see what's so terrible about it. The photos I saw were tasteful and respectful. They were an honor to the dead, IMO.

quote:
I found those coffin photos to be beautiful (in terms of testament and photographic work, not in terms of dead people).
I totally agree, on both counts.
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John L
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Is it historic irony that Saddam's sons were displayed dead on television, when around 40 years ago the Baathists displayed the then-president Kassam's dead body on television as "confirmation" of his death?

We actually stooped to tactics of the Baath Party. We must be proud.

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Farmgirl
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Did I miss it?

Did nobody in this forum thread mention that it turns out these photos (in controversy) were NOT actually of soliders from Iraq?

NASA says some 'Iraq' photos are shuttle victims

They were actually stock images of space shuttle Columbia's crew..

Farmgirl

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Ela
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Yes, but not the ones discussed above, FG. The ones that were the shuttle astronauts included one casket covered with an Israeli flag, as one of the astroanuts was Israeli.

Some news organizations accidentally selected the one of the astronauts to publish, not all.

quote:
"Many news organizations across the country are mistakenly identifying the flag-draped caskets of the space shuttle Columbia's crew as those of war casualties from Iraq," NASA said.
(Added emphasis mine)

[ April 26, 2004, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: Ela ]

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Farmgirl
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I had originally looked at the ones on MemoryHole, which came under fire for posting them.

quote:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said up to 73 images posted on a Web site, www.thememoryhole.org, that media organizations used were mistakenly identified as photos of casualties from Iraq.
To me, 73 images is a lot more than one.

Farmgirl

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Ela
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One image contains, in many cases, more than one coffin, and that is what I meant. Sorry for not being more clear. 73 out of greater than 300 is not a majority of the images. The article that appeared in the NY Times yesterday stated that some news organizations accidentally selected images that were of the astronauts. It did not state that all the images in question were of the astronauts

[ April 26, 2004, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: Ela ]

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Ela
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Leonard Pitts had a good article on this subject in Friday's Miami Herald:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/leonard_pitts/8554045.htm

quote:

LEONARD PITTS JR./COMMENTARY

Hiding coffins is about politics, not sensitivity

We used to know them by name.

Maybe you remember. American soldiers were fighting in Afghanistan, and every time one died, we learned his name. Not only that. Reporters told us about his life, introduced us to his newly bereft widow and suddenly fatherless children. Made us feel the weight of that singular death.

You had to know it couldn't last. Had to know that, as the casualty count mounted, it would become impossible to know the dead as individual men and women. At some point, they would become ''casualties'' in much the same way raindrops become a thunderstorm. And death would lose the ability to hurt us in the way it did when we knew their names.

Then one sudden day, you open your paper or your browser and find yourself facing row upon uniform row of coffins, all draped with American flags, the red, white and blue of them so crisp and vivid it is almost painful.

And hurt falls on you like rocks.

As you're no doubt aware, the Pentagon was angered last week when pictures of coffins containing the remains of American soldiers turned up online and in newspapers. This was the work of two people. One, a Tucson writer and webmaster, obtained several hundred such pictures -- mistakenly, the Defense Department says -- through a Freedom of Information Act request. Separately, a woman working for a Pentagon contractor photographed coffins in Kuwait. She and her husband, another employee, were both fired.

PRIVACY AS RATIONALE

The government's stated reasoning is that its photo ban protects the privacy of grieving military families. It's an argument that is, to put it mildly, difficult to accept at face value. One is at a loss to understand how anyone's privacy is infringed upon by photographs of anonymous coffins.

No, the administration's true concern seems transparent. Namely, that casualty photos will galvanize opposition to the war in Iraq.

The fear grows from the Vietnam experience, of course, from the conventional wisdom that holds that media coverage of returning casualties, body bags on the six o'clock news, soured the public on that war.

Which is the truth, but not the whole truth. What really soured people on Vietnam was the slow-dawning realization that it was a bad war -- that our commanders were lying and our men dying in a place they ought never to have been. It wasn't as if the images of body bags revealed any of these things. They only underscored the cost.

That is what casualty photos have done since the day Matthew Brady first trained his camera upon the Civil War dead. They remind us of the ruinous price of war. So there is always something somber and sacred in those pictures.

Would a steady diet of them turn public opinion more firmly against the Iraq war? The question misses the point.

INDIVIDUALS VANISH

Whether one supports or opposes this or any other war, we all come to the same place, eventually. Meaning that place where it is no longer possible to know the dead by name, to feel the weight of individual loss. This is only human nature. We lose sight of water drops in the cascade of rain.

So photographs of the honored dead are valuable because they remind us what it means when we use that word ''casualties.'' Reminds us that we're talking about a life lost. About a man shot through the eye, a woman whose body wound up in pieces. About a mother's tears, a widow's fears, a child whose sleep will never be quite as secure again.

For all the administration's claims that its photo ban honors the private pain of military families, the truth is that we honor those families more when we share, to whatever small degree we can, the loss they have sustained.

And when we are made to stand reverent before the awfulness of war.


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aspectre
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"It is not like this a new policy, it was also the policy of previous administrations."

Nope, only one other than Dubya's. For purely political reasons.

[ May 03, 2004, 01:15 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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On the local news a few days ago they showed a soldier's coffin coming in to the airport and being put in a hearse, and they talked about his life while showing it. I didn't see anything offensive about it at all. They were honoring his service to the country.
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PaladinVirtue
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"Nope, only one other than Dubya's. For purely political reasons."

What exactly does this mean? I didn't see anything in the link about that policy and Bush Sr.? And though I do not have a link, yet, to offer evidence, wasn't it said earlier in this thread that this policy was also followed under the Clinton administration?
Look, feel free to hate it if you wish, call it hypocritical, but at least be fair about this policy and quit pretending it as some kind of new conspiracy by the current administration.

[ May 03, 2004, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: PaladinVirtue ]

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Boothby171
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Paladin,

Please show us the links, then, to other non-Bush administrations that banned the photographs of the coffins (or even the body-bags, if you like) of the incoming war dead. Please also make sure that you provide sufficient political context to refute the initial premise (the premise that the current administration's ban on these photographs is purely political, and not "sympathietic.")

Thank you, we appreciate your work.

Steve

[ May 03, 2004, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: ssywak ]

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aspectre
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Never said it was new.
Bush began the ban on photographs.
The ClintonAdministration ignored it.
And Dubya reimposed the ban just before the invasion of Iraq.

[ May 04, 2004, 07:08 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Boothby171
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My work here is done.

Point proven.

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Dagonee
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How is your work done? All you've proven is that one argument put forth by one person against your point was wrong. You seem to have a really low threshold of proof.

Dagonee

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aspectre
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Close family members are not allowed to take photographs of returning caskets containing their own loved ones.
Which negates Dubya's contention that "the purpose of the ban is to protect family members".

[ March 28, 2005, 01:02 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Kwea
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No, it doesn't. No cameras allowed means just that...none allowed for anyone, beacue if you allow cameras there sooner or later thre will be photos of a family there to see a son or daughter.

Not that I agree (or disagree) with the ban....I just hate poor arguments on way or another.

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aspectre
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Not at all. If the ban is "for the sake of the families", then nearest kin should be able to waive that ban for their own kinsman. If they capture images of others who don't want such photographs taken, then that is a completely&totally different issue.

[ March 28, 2005, 01:28 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Kwea
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Not true, for any number of reasons..the most obvious of then being that just because you are related to someone who died there doesn't mean you are a good person who would respect the dignity of privacy of others.

By having a complete ban on cameras, you remove the temptations of the Jerry Springer relatives, who might be tempted to attempt to profit from said pictures.

A full ban is the only real way to protect them from the prying eyes of cameras. God knows the paparazzi have proved themselves to be out of control more than once.
Kwea

[ March 28, 2005, 01:28 AM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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aspectre
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Basicly, you are trying to argue that if some people have accidents or drive irresponsibly, then driving should be banned for everyone.

And we aren't talking about paparazzi, commercial photographers, or even just any ol' relative in this instance. We are talking about nearest kin.

[ March 28, 2005, 01:39 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Kwea
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You are making even less sense than usual.

I didn't know that was possible.

What I am saying is that there are very good reason to ban cameras, even if you don't agree with them. Trying to use a logical fallacy to prove a point doesn't work.

It is like saying that since the price of tea in China has gone up, no one in China drinks coffee. The two things have nothing in common, besides faulty logic.

Also, in case you don't know...there are these tings called traffic laws..I suppose you disagree with those too? [Big Grin]

Driving has some positive effects..taking pictures of dead soldiers families grieving for their dead children is disgusting.

Either allow them for everyone, or don't...seems pretty even handed to me, all things considered.

[ March 28, 2005, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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aspectre
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So your argument is "I believe the ban is good, therefore its existence needs no justification."?

Yeah, there are driving laws. And if you break them, you are prosecuted and justice is dispensed.
Similarly, the ban could be worded to protect those who don't want to be photographed, who don't want their kinsman's casket to be photographed. While still allowing people who don't break those specific portions of the ban to take photographs.
Just as we allow responsible people to continue driving.

With digital cameras, there is no reason whatsoever that photographs could not be screened immediately inregard to compliance.

[ March 28, 2005, 02:03 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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