This one has me puzzled. Dave Berg was livid on Thursday about an ad by Democrats that showed flag-draped coffins of American soldiers. Denny Rehberg put out a news release asking Monica Lindeen to disavow the ad. Republicans expressed outrage that Democrats would "exploit" the deaths of soldiers to raise money; Democrats pointed out that President Bush had used the flag-draped coffin of a terrorism victim in his own campaign ads.
My naive question: So what? What's wrong with showing pictures of flag-draped coffins? It's not an invasion of privacy, since no one was identifiable. Indeed, coffins are an accepted method of displaying human remains in public.
Is it because the Dems were trying to raise money? If the coffins had been displayed by a company trying to sell flags, or coffins, or better body armor, then I would be on the Republicans' side. But this is a political fight about multiple issues -- one of which is what we are going to do about a terrorism strategy that puts soldiers into flag-draped coffins. Let's not shrink from reality.
Is it a simple matter of taste? Maybe. I haven't seen the ad, thanks to my screwy computer, and the Democrats have now pulled it, so I probably won't. But I also think that excessively good taste in time of war is itself a perversion. Wars that have been as painless and distant as this one has been for millions of Americans ought to be shoved in our faces now and again.
There may be some pain, I suppose, for families of slain soldiers to see those pictures of coffins. But it would be far worse to forget their sacrifices and cut short a needed political debate simply out of fear that feelings might be hurt.
Far more than feelings are at stake in this war. I would hate to think that our political campaigns would be too genteel to remind us of that hard fact.