Monday, May 28, 2007

Failing the fallen soldiers

By Libby

The NYT has an interesting piece this Memorial Day morning, on ignoring the war dead. David Carr is right in that we aren't doing our soldiers any favors by preventing the American public from witnessing the true costs of the war. I can see wanting to protect the families from seeing their loved ones dead faces on the morning news but this restriction surprised me.
Until last year, no permission was required to publish photographs of the wounded, but families had to be notified of the soldier’s injury first. Now, not only is permission required, but any image of casualties that shows a recognizable name or unit is off-limits. And memorials for the fallen in Iraq can no longer be shown, even when the unit in question invites coverage.
I assume this means the impromptu memorials the soldiers hold on the field to honor their fallen comrades. I don't really see the point of this other than to miminize the public's awareness of just how many of these memorials are held. It seems to me to be rather disrespectful of the troops sacrifice to restrict it.

I've often seen returning soldiers quoted as expressing surprise and disappointment in how most Americans seem to be oblivious to the occupation. Well, this is why. When they have a president who urges them to carry on with their shopping and prevents them from seeing even the tributes to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, it keeps the conflict that much farther from their day to day existence.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That seems to be the name of the game; sanitize the war to the point that it looks like nothing more than a video game. How easy it is to forget that there are dead bodies littering Baghdad that are someone's mother's son. I wonder how much support there would be for this war if pictures of the dead made it onto the nightly news.

12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well that's what turned the tide of public opinion in Vietnam Rocky. They used to show the body bags being loaded on the planes. And "embeds" were mostly freelancers who got a unit to let them ride along. I don't think the Pentagon had the same kind of power to restrict the press in those days. A lot more unfiltered news came out.

7:12:00 PM  

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