"U.S. sanitizes stain of Death" -- Toronto Star, April 23, 2004
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Thread: "U.S. sanitizes stain of Death" -- Toronto Star, April 23, 2004

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    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Unhappy "U.S. sanitizes stain of Death" -- Toronto Star, April 23, 2004

    Hrmm.. So it's ok to show people flinging themselves off the Twin Towers during 9/11, it's ok to show Diana in her final dying moments.. but it's not ok to pay tribute to those who scarificed themselves in the name of the thing that they are protecting: freedom.

    How ironic and sad is that?

    Source: The Toronto Star

    Photos of soldiers' coffins are off limits
    Woman loses job after policy breach

    TIM HARPER
    WASHINGTON BUREAU

    WASHINGTON—As a mother who had lost a son to a brain tumour, Tami Silicio wanted mothers who had lost sons and daughters in Iraq to know the remains of their loved ones were being treated with respect and dignity.

    So she took a photo of rows of flag-draped coffins being loaded on to a cargo plane in Kuwait awaiting return to the U.S. and had a friend deliver it to her hometown newspaper, which put it on the front page.

    And then she was fired.

    Silicio had breached a policy the Bush administration will not bend — it will not allow photos to be taken of the bodies or coffins of any of the more than 700 soldiers who have been killed in Iraq.

    The media blackout of such photos has sparked debate in this country, with opponents of the Iraq war arguing the Pentagon is trying to sanitize the war by banning photos of a type that were so hugely symbolic of the Vietnam War.

    Silicio's photo was published on Page 1 of last Sunday's Seattle Times after a friend delivered it to the paper.

    Wednesday she was fired, along with her husband, from their jobs with Maytag Aircraft Corp., a Colorado-based U.S. government contractor at Kuwait International Airport.

    The company has acknowledged it fired the 50-year-old Edmonds, Wash., woman after pressure from the Pentagon. It praised the work done by her and her husband.

    The Pentagon would not discuss the specifics of the case yesterday, but a spokesperson reiterated a policy that it says is in place to guard the privacy of bereaved families.

    That policy prohibits photos of the remains of dead soldiers in any stage of their transit home, including loading areas such as Kuwait or their final U.S. destination, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

    The Pentagon is also investigating how a Web site known as The Memory Hole obtained 361 photos of flag-draped coffins and ceremonies from Dover under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The photos were posted on the Web site by its editor, Russ Kick.

    The Pentagon said the photos were taken for historical purposes and should not have been released.

    Silicio told the Seattle Times she was sorry to lose her job and merely wanted families of fallen soldiers to know of the care demonstrated by crews taking their loved ones home.

    As part of her job, she had access to the loading area and often spoke to soldiers accompanying the bodies back to the United States.

    "It kind of helps me to know what these mothers are going through, and I try to watch over their children as they head home," she said.

    Her photo, showing more than 20 coffins, was taken April 7 in the midst of some of the worst fighting of the Iraq war. The Seattle Times did not pay her to use it.

    The National Military Families Association says it stands by the Pentagon edict. "We believe the current policy is sensitive to the needs of the family and we urge everyone else to be sensitive to them as well," it said yesterday in a statement.

    Democrats have accused the Bush administration of manipulating war coverage.

    "These young men and women are heroes and this is the last long ride home," Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, told CNN yesterday. "The idea that they are essentially snuck back into the country under the cover of night so no one can see that their casket has arrived, I just think is wrong."

    The Times knew it was heading into controversial waters.

    "Some readers will object to the image because the press has been largely denied access to take photos of coffins returning from war since the 1991 Gulf War," executive editor Mike Fancher said in a commentary to readers. "Some will see the picture as an anti-war statement because the image is reminiscent of photos from the Vietnam era, when the press wasn't denied such access.

    "But that isn't Silicio's or the Times' motivation."

    The policy banning photos of arriving coffins was established by former president George H.W. Bush, but had been relaxed under president Bill Clinton. It was reaffirmed by the George W. Bush White House on the eve of the Iraqi war.
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    What gets me on this one is that bush used photos of coffins from 9/11 in his campaing ads...so its ok to use the dead for campain ads but not ok to let family members of slain troops know that their children are being handeled with respect and dignaty?
    Who is more trustworthy then all of the gurus or Buddha’s?

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    The big difference being that showing pictures of Diana , although horrible, isn't going to turn the populace against the paparazzi (everybody already hates them), nor is it likely to cause large protests across the country....

    I know it seems hypocritical, and it is. War is cool only in video games... and although it isn't the intent of the Government, I rather appreciate not having to explain to my children why they are seeing war casualties on television. I have to do that enough the way it is.... even the morning shows have segments not appropriate for young children.

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    The picture dosn't show bodies, just caskets draped with american flags
    Who is more trustworthy then all of the gurus or Buddha’s?

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    Son: Dad, what are those boxes with the flags on them?

    Me: Umm, they're people that died, and they're bringing them home for a funeral...

    Son: How did they die?.....

    Me:

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    I think that the images are very respectful, and tasteful. I agree with bballad, in that it's nice to know that the soldiers who gave their lives are being trated with the dignity they deserve. In stark contrast to the 9/11 images, etc., these images are not graphic, violent, or distasteful. The photographer should not have been fired for taking/releasing these photos, and the government should stop whining about them going public.

    Anywho, here's the link:

    http://www.thememoryhole.org/war/coffin_photos/dover

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    I don't have a problem with the photos. It's not like Americans are TOO STUPID, to realize there are people dying. Duh. It is disrespecful to secretly snap a photo and parade it around for attention though. The 911 pictures are ironic, since one side states it's hypocratic and sad to not publish them while condemning the use of them in Campagn adds and then complaing about the hypocracy on the other side by not wanting th show them. There is a difference here, the person was a government contractor strictly forbidden to take pictures and they did it anyway and published them themselves, why the hell wouldn't they be fired? The others are public media files taken by news men and cameras, they fall under freedom of press and all that jazz.

    I agree with all other accounts of respect and dignity. Perhaps if the media took a picture and not a cleared government contractor it would be different. I don't get distain when I see the picture, I get pride and tears for the fallen.
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    +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

    Hrmm.. So it's ok to show people flinging themselves off the Twin Towers during 9/11, it's ok to show Diana in her final dying moments.. but it's not ok to pay tribute to those who scarificed themselves in the name of the thing that they are protecting: freedom

    +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

    No none of the above is acceptable but we are still able to protect our honored dead from the ravages of the press. Because we’ve been unable to prevent the first two (for now) is no reason to throw in the other. today you see images that are respectfull, of flag drapped coffins but let the press in there and guarenteed they'll be opening those coffins for some good splatter shots and god only knows what else."to show the true graphic nature of war" (to sell papers). just look at what they're doing to diana.

    just remember, reporters cannot be circumcised for there is no end to those *****s.

    the woman that lost her job deserverd to loose it. she broke a strick company policy endangering the jobs of her fellow workers if the government decided that this company can no longer be trusted to fulfill it's promises, just so she could make a few bucks selling snap shots to the press. whether one agrees or disagrees with the policy it is one of the terms of their contract.
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    To me it is a question of where you draw the line.

    I didn't find the photos offensive, but anything more graphic would be, like the photos of Diana as she was dying.

    Trouble is, this gets very political, as I'm sure that Bush & Blair do not want any images of dead soldiers coming back from Iraq.

    Having said that, I actually agree with what the US & the UK are doing to try and stabilise the country, and hand over power, which incidentally is not the same thing as saying, that with hindsight the war was justified in the first place. What Spain is planning to do is in my view appeasement - if you get attacked by terrorists, then run away, and hope you are not a target in the future ...

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    the fact thats its the standard, no matter what party is in power keeps it from being political. this isnt the current administrations idea although like you say it isn't hurting them but that would be true of whomever was in power. in fact any attack on this policy will only help the incumbant as he stands up to defend it.

    i also see, after re-reading the article, im in error on this womans motivation. but i dont think this should be open to a personal interpretation either. the line is drawn and i dont think it needs to be re-defined.
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

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