Sunday, July 16, 2006

Those flag-draped coffins

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.

10 comments:

Shane C. Mason said...

What are the republicans trying to shield us or the fallen soldiers from? Do we believe that they would want people to go to the polls uninformed? To be informed means that we need to understand what is happening. We can hear the words "2 soldiers were killed" everysingle night, but until we see a symbol like a coffin that we can use to associate what these words really mean, then we are uninformed.

dekwkg said...

Let's see--What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I agree with you, Mr. Crisp, on this one.

Vince said...

The video is available on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UurfouWoqs

Anonymous said...

Ya simply gotta understand the Repub chickenhawk mentality. Ya see, for them, dead soldiers are just numbers! That's all, just numbers. Numbers that must be unloaded at night, in the dark, quickly and silently, with no reporters or pictures allowed. Course, to the families of those soldiers, they were a little more than numbers! But the thing that I find hilairious is that if you really want to honor the sacrifice, SHOW THE SACRIFICE! In other words, show the coffin of a real, live dead soldier! When chickenhawk denny talks about a number, that is NOT honoring the soldier. That is the coward's way out. Guess that's why denny and bergy boy use it! The true cost of the war is never known, for the ultimate sacrifice is hidden from view. And always will be as long as the screeching of the chickenhawks rules out decency. And what the chickenhawks lack in valor, they make up for in volume!


Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers, and Vietnam Vet

Pete Hansen said...

Well, I for one, whether using the flag draped coffins of our service men and women for political capitol or not, believe that every media outlet in the country should show a pictures of the coffins being returned everytime they bring one, or more, back. Maybe, in this way, the true cost of this or any war, would be brought home to the American public in a more personal way rather than the easily disregarded or abstract numbers as is used now. I believe in the saying, "Every man's death demishes me." Especially those caused by war! And, in addition, pictures of the returning wounded should also be shown as an enlightening perspective of exactly what war and it's human cost,is all about.

Mark T said...

What concerns me most is the Bush Administration's ability to keep photos of coffins out of public view. They ban reporters, bring them in under cover of darkness, and hurl flak at anyone who runs them. Pretty slick. They recognize that photos have propaganda value, and are dedicated to the proposition that they be in control of propaganda. With the American media, it ain't hard for them to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Someone recently pointed out that our fearless "leader", georgie boy, attended the funeral of kenny boy lay, but has YET to attend the funeral of even ONE American soldier! Now, if chickenhawk denny and his pal bergy want to get their knickers in a knot over sumthin', WHY NOT THIS? How is kenny boy to be more revered than an American soldier?.........I think we all know the answer to that one.

LK

Anonymous said...

I thought Berg gave his notice?

Steve T. said...

Kralj - you got your georgie boys mixed up.

That was George Bush SENIOR. But I suppose you'll believe what you want.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd like to see ANY bush at a soldier's funeral! How bout Babs. Oh, I forgot myself. She "can't worry her beautiful mind about dead soldiers"! Them bushes! They should'a just followed grandpa Prescott to Germany with Hitler!

LK