Friday, April 23, 2004


The Pentagon's policy of not releasing pictures of flag-draped coffins is ridiculous. Supposedly the policy exists to protect the delicate sensibilities of military families. I'm all for protecting the rights of soldiers and their families, and a good way to do that is to not send them into harm's way unnecessarily. But how do pictures of identical caskets offend military families? In the coffin pictures, no one can tell which soldier is which, what their cause of death was or anything. The coffins just look like anonymous rectangular boxes made of flags.

That's clearly why a lot of people are critical of the Bush administration's decision to continue the no-picture policy. Since no details of anything about any of the soldiers can be detected simply by seeing pictures of the coffins, there must be another reason why the Pentagon doesn't want them seen. And of course that reason is that published pictures of rows of coffins tend to bring home to the public the fact that war kills people and sometimes it kills lots of people and people that you and I know. Most people don't like the thought of their sons and daughters being killed and then begin to wonder whether the reason their loved ones died was valid or not.

Some, if not most, will conclude that the reasons their loved ones died in Iraq were questionable at best and outright lies at worst.

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