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Old 04-23-2004, 01:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pictures of coffins coming home from Iraq. Good or bad?

So what do you all think?

I think it should be up to the families to decide whether they want a picture of their dead son or daughter's coffin coming home published or not. They made the sacrifice, shouldn't they decide, not the government?
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's the site hosting the pictures, I took a look this morning, but it looks like it is getting Hammered by traffic:
http://www.thememoryhole.org/

Quote:
The Pentagon lost its tight control over the images of coffins returning from Iraq as about 350 such images were released under the Freedom of Information Act and a Seattle newspaper published a similar photo taken by a military contractor.

After Dover Air Force Base, the main port for returning remains, released hundreds of government photos of the ceremonies, the Defense Department ordered yesterday that no more photographs be released. In addition, two employees for defense contractor Maytag Aircraft were fired after the Pentagon complained about a photo of flag-draped caskets taken by one of them that appeared in the Seattle Times.

In March 2003, on the eve of war in Iraq, the Pentagon ordered an end to all media coverage of ceremonies for the returning remains of soldiers killed overseas. Although Dover already had such a policy, the Pentagon action enforced a military-wide ban on images of flag-draped caskets that dated to late 2000 but had not been followed.

With few exceptions, the ban had remained in force until recent days. But last week, about 350 photos from Dover were released under a Freedom of Information Act request by Russ Kick, a First Amendment advocate who runs a Web site called the Memory Hole (www.thememoryhole.org). Dover recommended that Kick's request be denied, but officials at Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois authorized the release on appeal. After Kick posted the photos, they appeared on other Web sites, including the Drudge Report.

The sudden spread yesterday of the Dover photos of flag-draped caskets returning from Iraq came a day after Tami Silicio and her husband and co-worker, David Landry, were fired for the photo she took at Kuwait International Airport of caskets in an aircraft. The photo was published Sunday on the front page of the Seattle Times.

"We have terminated two employees in Kuwait who violated Department of Defense and company policy by working together to photograph and publish the flag-draped caskets of our servicemen and women being returned to the United States," said William Silva, president of Maytag Aircraft, the Colorado Springs-based military contractor that employed Silicio and her husband.

According to the Times, Silva said the firing decision was made by the company but the military had "very specific concerns" about the photo. The Pentagon has said that only individual graveside services give the full context of a soldier's sacrifice.

Silicio, a cargo worker who often loaded coffins on military planes bound for the United States, shot the photo in early April, as twin uprisings in Iraq led to a spike in American war dead. She snapped a digital photograph of an aircraft packed with caskets and told her best friend that her photograph of coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq would allow parents of the dead to see that "their children weren't thrown around like a piece of cargo."

Losing her well-paid job in Kuwait was something that Silicio had been very worried about before the photo was published, according to Barry Fitzsimmons, a photo editor at the Times. "She has a mortgage to pay, and she really needs the job," said Fitzsimmons, who said he had a dozen phone conversations and exchanged 40 e-mails with Silicio before the photo was published. He and the newspaper's senior editors wanted to make sure she understood the possible consequences of publication.

"In the end, she felt she would be okay and she would be able to keep her job," Fitzsimmons said. "I think there is a little bit of being naive about the whole thing."

Silicio received no payment, but her name appeared under the photo.

Zuma Press, a photo agency, is handling distribution of the photo. Rights to publish it have been purchased by a weekly newsmagazine, according to Zuma.

Although photographs of flag-draped caskets returning from overseas fighting were common in the 1980s and 1990s, the Bush administration has enforced the ban on such images, saying it reflects families' wishes. Critics of the policy said the administration is trying to airbrush the realities of war.

"I feel if the administration were more sympathetic they would see that this is a positive thing," Silicio said in an e-mail yesterday. "When our loved ones are coming home, the families want to be there with them through the media, coming the whole way home."
From the Post

I think it is important for all Americans to see the impact of war beyond journalists riding around in tanks.
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i see little reason to hide it...

a democracy is built upon freedom to know things for people to decide and i see little reason for hiding this anyways - and honestly, you'd have to have some sort of morbid interest to really do much about it
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Old 04-23-2004, 02:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Personally I'd prefer not to see them on tv everyday but i also dont think it should be up to the government to decide it.
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i'd prefer they not be seen.

once they're out, there are definitely those who would use them for political purposes. not one of those soldiers consented to having their corpse swing voters.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by irateplatypus
i'd prefer they not be seen.

once they're out, there are definitely those who would use them for political purposes. not one of those soldiers consented to having their corpse swing voters.
And they also did not consent to having their corpses hidden away so that voters did not see the real effect of war.

So many Americans were so damn gung ho for this war - well, dead bodies is the result of war, and they should see it so they know what war REALLY is.

As far as letting the families choose:

#1, all the coffins look alike. How do you as a family member know which one is yours?

#2, it's a news event. Should the families of those in the WTC have been able to tell NBC to stop broadcasting live pictures of the buildings when they were on fire? No.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Its interesting in light of the draft discussion going on in the general discussion forum. The fact that most Americans don't have to worry about having to fight a war (or worry about one of their loved ones having to fight a war) isolates most of us from its consequences enough. We should at least see the consequences of it, lest we become totally separated from the real losses of the war.

Maybe Americans should have to watch Iraqis burying their dead too.

Not that I think it'll make that much of a difference. Few news outlets will report on it once the novelty has worn off, and most Americans will change the channel.
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Oh, I dunno about that. . . Remember, it was the images of our soldiers' bodies lined up on the runways that repeated over and over again that caused the American public to rise up and demand a pullout of Vietnam.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am more bothered by the fact that the pentagon has a ban on such pictures. War sucks, people die. You can't pretend its not happening because you aren't seeing it. I think that the images were very potent and they reminded me that this is very real. Not just another tv show I watch every night.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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there are any number of arguments either way...

i think the right thing to do would to be to ask the soldiers themselves what they would want. if there is a clear majority either way, then i think that should be the policy enforced.

so... yes. i am modifying my original opinion.
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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War is Hell. And Hell is seeing your countrymen come home in boxes. And I think if you could ask those brave men whether or not they would want THEIR countrymen to see their ultimate sacrifice made manifest...
I would think that their answer would be Yes.
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by QuasiMojo
War is Hell. And Hell is seeing your countrymen come home in boxes. And I think if you could ask those brave men whether or not they would want THEIR countrymen to see their ultimate sacrifice made manifest...
I would think that their answer would be Yes.

You're probably right, I'm sure that is exactly how some of them feel.

But I bet there are many others who would prefer that their families not have to see it replayed over and over or that those images not appear on some anti-war demonstrator's sign.
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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the images are just as valid as pictures from the WTC.

cause and effect. i am glad I saw them, they open my eyes even wider.
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm astounded that people should even suggest you SHOULD ban their publication.

Isn't it odd that North Korea, that third part of Bush's infamous Axis of Evil, just experienced a tragic accident, and has not made it public (at least to its own citizens), so bringing down upon itself much criticism for its secrecy... yet the Bush Administration and the Pentagon are also trying to do the same thing in the US; hide the truth through politically motivated censorship.

The Bush Administration gets more and more like Big Brother every day (and I'm not talking about that infantile TV show).


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Old 04-24-2004, 12:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparhawk
Here's the site hosting the pictures, I took a look this morning, but it looks like it is getting Hammered by traffic:
http://www.thememoryhole.org/

Ironically,

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=947

Quote:
DOD Misidentifies Photos of Columbia Crew Remains Arriving at Dover AFB as Being Iraq War Dead
Keith Cowing
Friday, April 23, 2004

If you look at the originating website (www.thememoryhole.org) titled "Photos of Military Coffins (Casualties From Iraq) at Dover Air Force Base" for the controversial photos of war dead being returned from Iraq (loads very slow), you will see that most of the first page of photos are of Space Shuttle Columbia crew remains arriving at Dover Air Force Base on 5 February 2003.

You see, that is Deputy NASA Administrator Fred Gregory in the light brown slacks and dark jacket standing to the left of the honor guard. The images in the first 18 rows, and one image in the 19th row, are all images taken on that day.

According to a notice on thememoryhole.org (which is very hard to reach) a FOIA request was sent to the Department of Defense asking for "All photographs showing caskets (or other devices) containing the remains of US military personnel at Dover AFB. This would include, but not be limited to, caskets arriving, caskets departing, and any funerary rites/rituals being performed. The timeframe for these photos is from 01 February 2003 to the present."

The Department of Defense complied with the request but did not differentiate between photos dealing with "the remains of US military personnel" and the remains of NASA (or Israeli) astronauts. As such, a resonable person might well assume that the photos were all of military activities. They clearly are not.

SpaceRef featured several of these photos on 5 February 2003: Deputy Administrator Meets Space Shuttle Columbia Astronauts' Remains at Dover AFB
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Old 04-24-2004, 06:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I just find it ironic how everyone was so offended by the pictures from Bush's first political tv ad with the pics from 9/11, but insist that the American public see what is really going on over there. Trust me, the "American public" is bombarded daily with 600 dead!! 627 Dead!!!. At least 9/11 was cut and dry. There was no ambiguity about what happened; therefore, no political viewpoint necessarily being pushed. Be honest, be upfront - you want these pictures plastered everywhere to push your agenda - that's it. Well i say that's fine, but i think the media should also start showing some of the accomplishments we've made over there - you don't hear all to much about any of that. But anytime something good is said about what we've done over there, or the horrors we've stopped over there - well that's just right wing propaganda.

Trust me, the american public is suffering from no lack of negative coverage about this war. I think it's high time we got both sides of the story.
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Old 04-24-2004, 09:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by matthew330
Trust me, the american public is suffering from no lack of negative coverage about this war. I think it's high time we got both sides of the story.
Huh? I'm unsure what alternative universe you're in, but I see plenty of coverage on both sides, good and bad. I also see a concerted effort of the Bush Administration to supress coverage of the "bad" side of the war through policies like this, and policies like that of a few months ago where they tried to pressure the media into only covering "good" stories by only having their public reps talk about the good side.

The war in Iraq is currently going badly, of course the stories are generally negative. Heck, it's hard to find a positive Iraq story on Fox News.
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Old 04-24-2004, 10:03 AM   #18 (permalink)
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apparently not the same universe as you. Why don't you enlighten me and rattle off a list of things that we have accomplished over there.
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Old 04-24-2004, 11:07 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by matthew330
I just find it ironic how everyone was so offended by the pictures from Bush's first political tv ad with the pics from 9/11, but insist that the American public see what is really going on over there.
Let me rephrase this for you: "I just find it ironic how people who are so offended by the Bush Administration's manipulation of the death of Americans by using images from 9/11 in TV ads are also offended by the Bush Administration's manipulation of the death of Americans by changing policies and banning images of the death of USA soldiers in Iraq."

Not very ironic now, is it?

Quote:
Why don't you enlighten me and rattle off a list of things that we have accomplished over there.
http://www.fair.org/press-releases/iraq-good-news.html

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j101303.html

http://baltimorechronicle.com/041704SinclairTV.shtml

Maybe those aren't the stories you were looking for, but they were among the top hits on "good news iraq" on google.

Like I said, if Fox, a conservative news source, can't find any "good news" in Iraq, how do expect the "liberal" media to find it?

Check the front page of foxnews.com right now or check out
http://search.foxnews.com/_1_2HWJU6C...=1&fastSearch=

In summary, I think the news media is just reporting on the current stories. Iraq doesn't have much good news right now, and Bush Administration suppression of images of dead soldiers is a story in itself.

[edited to be less inflammatory]

Last edited by HarmlessRabbit; 04-24-2004 at 11:17 AM..
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Old 04-24-2004, 11:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Alright, you two...cool off. That's not what this thread is about. If I read the title correctly, it is about images of the dead soldier's coffins coming back from Iraq...not whether they should've even been over there in the first place, or not.
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Old 04-24-2004, 11:16 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill O'Rights
Alright, you two...cool off.
Well, I thought my comments were on-topic, but you're right, the Vietnam comment at the end was probably a bit incendiary.

Editing now, sir.
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:20 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The more I think about it, the more it seems like disrespect. If one of my family members died in Iraq I'd want the world to see it. Not to say how bad the war is, but so that others could maybe understand the sacrifice. The nation should be honoring our dead, not hiding them. I also wouldn't want a public ceremony to be made into a spectacle by people with an axe to grind. That would be equally disrespectful. Hmm...
But you know, I'm not in that position, so maybe I'd feel different if it actually happened.

I guess to go off topic myself, since they're hiding the dead, it makes me wonder what else they're hiding.

Last edited by Wax_off; 04-24-2004 at 02:30 PM..
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:09 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wax_off
The more I think about it, the more it seems like disrespect. If one of my family members died in Iraq I'd want the world to see it. Not to say how bad the war is, but so that others could maybe understand the sacrifice. The nation should be honoring our dead, not hiding them.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

How dare we ignore the brave men and women who gave their lives for us? How dare we shuttle them by all hush-hush so no one has to see what real sacrifice looks like?

I think hiding them is an attempt to downplay the casualties of this war, and THAT IS SICK.

Last edited by analog; 04-24-2004 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 04-25-2004, 03:21 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog
Couldn't have said it better myself.

How dare we ignore the brave men and women who gave their lives for us? How dare we shuttle them by all hush-hush so no one has to see what real sacrifice looks like?

I think hiding them is an attempt to downplay the casualties of this war, and THAT IS SICK.
Yup....what he said.
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:02 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I see no problems with the pictures. It's not like they have big banners on them with the soldier's names.
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:07 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I love this:
Quote:
But news organizations widely took the pictures from the Web site last night, as they became one of the biggest news developments of the day. Two networks, ABC and NBC, made the availability of the pictures, along with the firing of Ms. Silicio, the lead item on their newscasts. Numerous newspapers said they planned to use one or more of the photographs on their front pages today, as The Times did.

Among the national television news organizations, only the Fox News Channel had no plans to use any of the photos or explore the issue of why they had been barred from use in the news media, a channel spokesman said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/23/national...&partner=GOOGLE
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:19 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I have no problem either way. We do not need to see the pictures to make it real or to drive home the impact of the deaths we've suffered.

Reading the stories behind the men and women who died, hearing the pain in families voices, looking for names of friends and relatives in the list of KIAs, knowing I have friends there all make it real to me.
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:59 PM   #28 (permalink)
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onetime2 I would normally agree, however I don't know if that applies to everyone. I fear that the majority of Americans believe that since we have won the war, fighting has stopped.

One of the great things about freedom of press is that it allows us to question our government. We can NEVER allow ourselves to lose this. I am not one who believes that "the government is out to get us," however I will never be one who takes everything they say to be the unquestionable truth.

I ask everyone here to always keep an open mind while questioning all that comes before you.

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Old 04-26-2004, 02:54 PM   #29 (permalink)
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There is a huge difference between hearing that 16 men were killed, and seeing 16 flag drapped coffins. Americans should make the most informed decision possible regarding the conflict, and that includes seeing the ugly truth from time to time.
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Old 04-26-2004, 02:58 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Old 04-26-2004, 11:15 PM   #31 (permalink)
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It is a well known and obvious fact that people tend to react to the grim images they see on the television. These images will inevitably empower some, or frighten others. With today's technology and advancements in the news media, we've seen news reporters riding with tanks to battle, enabling us to witness bodies drug through streets, children battered and bruised, and other upsetting images very graphically portrayed. As more of these images are shown, I believe a lot of people will witness the upsetting but realities of war. What we should be focused on more is the principle, rather than the outcome. The more I find out about why we are at war, the more I agree with what is going on.

And for those who compare this war with Vietnam, the soldiers are much better trained and prepared than they ever were back then. The war (in terms of the death toll) is not nearly as catastrophic a loss, and we are operating under a much stronger cause.

Here's a great link I found on casualties in previous wars http://www.civilwarhome.com/casualties.htm. In the three days of the battle of Gettysburg, for instance, over 50,000 human casualties were reported, which is nearly the amount of lives taken in the entire Vietnam war. We will be in Iraq for as long as it takes to rebuild the nation, however, I believe it will be a much shorter time span than that of Vietnam.
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Old 04-27-2004, 04:23 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by skyscan
onetime2 I would normally agree, however I don't know if that applies to everyone. I fear that the majority of Americans believe that since we have won the war, fighting has stopped.

One of the great things about freedom of press is that it allows us to question our government. We can NEVER allow ourselves to lose this. I am not one who believes that "the government is out to get us," however I will never be one who takes everything they say to be the unquestionable truth.

I ask everyone here to always keep an open mind while questioning all that comes before you.

Peace be with you always.
I suspect there are very few Americans who don't know people are still being killed there. There are plenty of reporters in Iraq and around the world who, on a daily basis, discuss virtually every move made there. If people don't know about it then they probably won't know about the pictures of caskets either.
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:24 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I'm guessing he really means in the form that people have lost sight of it and have put in the back of their minds.
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:33 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zeld2.0
I'm guessing he really means in the form that people have lost sight of it and have put in the back of their minds.
I guess I just don't believe that the pictures would be all that impactful for a significant amount of time. If people are determined to go on with their lives without thinking about the Iraq situation, these pictures will, at best, make them pause for a second to look at them before going back to their day to day toils.
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:33 AM   #35 (permalink)
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good and bad don't enter into it. i'm sick and fucking tired of moral manipulation.

journalism is supposed to be objective: if it happened, report it. if you got a picture, show it. tell the story, tell the truth, but don't tell me what's right and what's wrong. if anybody needs to be sent down to guantanamo, it is all the asshat pundits that cover up the facts with endless bullshit so they can fill airtime around the commercials because gathering news and reporting it from the field is more expensive than showing four fuckwads sit in a studio and tell you what to think because you can't get the original information.

bodies come home in boxes, if you don't want to see them, don't look. but don't pretend that reality doesn't exist.

my question is, why do people say it is uncool for a site to show the flag-draped coffins, but the same people say it is cool for W. to use a video clip of a flag-draped stretcher being carried out of the WTC wreckage in his campaign ads?

my hypocracy meter just pegged again, i have to go vomit.
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Old 04-29-2004, 08:00 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ^Ice_Bat^
The more I find out about why we are at war, the more I agree with what is going on.
Please elaborate what you are finding out and where you are finding it. I have only heard hypocracy, conflicting rhetoric and political backsliding.

Quote:
In the three days of the battle of Gettysburg, for instance, over 50,000 human casualties were reported, which is nearly the amount of lives taken in the entire Vietnam war. We will be in Iraq for as long as it takes to rebuild the nation, however, I believe it will be a much shorter time span than that of Vietnam.
Do you mean American lives lost in the Vietnam conflict, or total casualties?

The Civil War was rather unique in that the weapons technology was far beyond the tactics employed, and medical science at the time was downright primitive.

I expect the citizens of the United States will never accept casualty figures in thousands again in any armed engagement on foreign soil. We are not used to seeing our own blood and have come to consider ourselves invincible.
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:00 PM   #37 (permalink)
Cherry-pickin' devil's advocate
 
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Gettysburg when they say 50,000 casualties - casualties as in killed and wounded. Given that 2/3 of all deaths were the result of poor medicine, disease, and infections, one can realize that comparing the Civil War to modern war in technology is a bit of a mess.

World War I (unsure on this one but for sure by World War II) was really when the number of casualties from battle outnumbered those from disease and other reasons.

By World War II such a great % of those woudned survived - modern medicine supposedly can save 98% of those compared to the past when you were shot, it was amputation, and even if done, you still had a high mortality rate.

And if you want to play by numbers, look no further than the first day of the Battle of the Somme when the British lost something around 60,000 men in the first day alone
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