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Impeach Bush

Flag draped caskets
April 23, 2004
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Posted on Fri, Apr. 23, 2004

(KRT) - The following editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday, April 23:

Last week, the Seattle Times ran the image that Americans haven't been allowed to see before: the flag-draped coffins bearing the remains of American soldiers killed in Iraq beginning their journey home.

In past conflicts, pictures of coffins returning to Delaware's Dover Air Force Base were published frequently, both out of respect for the fallen fighters and to illustrate the costs of war. But under the administration of President George H.W. Bush, the Pentagon banned the pictures, and the Bush administration has vigorously enforced the blackout worldwide. Administration officials said they want to allow the families of the dead to decide whether to allow pictures.

Enter Tami Silicio, 50, an employee of a U.S. government contractor, Maytag Aircraft Co. Silicio, who worked the night shift for Maytag at a cargo terminal at Kuwait International Airport, took a tender photograph of a score of flag-draped coffins being secured for transport in a U.S. cargo plane April 7.

Silicio explained later that she wanted to show the care and reverence with which America's dead were treated. There were honor guards and prayers and salutes as the soldiers began the first leg of their final trip home.

The Times, Silicio's hometown paper, published the photograph, giving America its first view of returning coffins from Iraq. In the paper, managing editor David Boardman explained: "This was not published with any sort of antiwar agenda. It was published with the purpose of presenting an important context of the war." He later told Editor & Publisher, a journalism trade magazine, "The administration cannot tell us what we can and cannot publish."

On Wednesday, Maytag fired Silicio for violating company and federal government rules. Company president William L. Silva said the Pentagon had expressed "very specific concerns" about the photograph. Silicio's husband, who also worked for Maytag in Kuwait, was fired for reasons that were not reported.

In 1999, Army Gen. Hugh H. Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech that the United States should not commit troops to a foreign conflict if the war flunked "the Dover test." "We have to ask the question, 'Is the American public prepared for the sight of our most precious resources coming home in flag-draped caskets, into Dover Air Force Base?'"

Rather than risk subjecting the war to the Dover test, President George W. Bush has enforced an out-of-sight, out-of-mind standard. In doing so, the administration manipulates Americans' perceptions of the war, diminishes the gravity of the sacrifices of the dead and their families and denies our young men and women a last reverential salute from the country for which they died.

© 2004, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at http://www.stltoday.com

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Commentary:
Bush says he doesn't want us to see flag draped caskets of US soldiers out of respect for the families of those who've died. He then turns around and exploits families and bodies of those who died on 9/11 in his campaign commercials. It seems the families of 9/11 victims and their loved-ones in flag draped caskets aren't worthy of his respect. Their dead bodies are political props.

It's my opinion that no politician should use flag draped caskets in campaign commericials. It's crass and unseemly. While at the same time there's nothing wrong with a nation grieving for war dead as their bodies are returned to the US.

As of this writing the website that first published photoes of war dead is offline. I hope you have better luck. http://themoneyhole.org