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April 21, 2004 10:14 PM   Subscribe

The coffins that George Bush doesn't want you to see. The Memory Hole filed a Freedom of Information Act request for photographs of American servicemen and women who died in Iraq. After an initial refusal, the request was granted. Over a hundred US troops have been killed in action in the last month alone.
posted by digaman (101 comments total)

 
Alas, part of a sentence got dropped as I was posting -- I meant "photographs of the coffins of American servicemen and women." My apologies.
posted by digaman at 10:20 PM on April 21, 2004


This Pentagon ban on such photographs has already been discussed on MeFi. Looking at the photos, I'm not surprised that the current administration would rather that no one could see them.
posted by digaman at 10:25 PM on April 21, 2004




Nothing to see here. Go home people. Turn on your AM radios. Vote Bush in November.
posted by skallas at 10:59 PM on April 21, 2004


Wow. Powerful stuff. I'm surprised the FOIA request's original denial was overturned on appeal, actually. (It'd be interesting to see some of the back-and-forth that went on during the appeal process...)
posted by Vidiot at 11:11 PM on April 21, 2004


There are 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Nearly 700 American troops have died since the beginning of the war. As of Friday, 493 had been killed by hostile fire.

The Vietnam War started with a slower death rate. The United States had been involved in Vietnam for six years before total fatalities surpassed 500 in 1965, the year President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a massive buildup of forces. There were 20,000 troops in Vietnam by the end of 1964. There were more than 200,000 a year later.
[Source]

The only difference is, back then the war was on the nightly news, there was a real press and 'investigative journalism' wasn't an oxymoron. Today it's all spun into palatable snippets and we need comic strips to remind us of the horror. It would be interesting to see how long the acclaimed 'support' for this war lasted if the media started showing our children coming home in boxes or carrying their innards in baggies.

Every single day. For years. More and more of them.
posted by cedar at 11:33 PM on April 21, 2004


These days I find that I can't be bothered,
To argue with them -- well, what's the point?
Better to take your shots and drop down dead,
then they send you home in a pine overcoat
With a letter to your mum
Saying "Find enclosed one son, one medal,
and a note to say we won."

(The Jam, "Little Boy Soldiers")
posted by scody at 11:45 PM on April 21, 2004


Anniversary ((Bush)Flash, graphic images.)
posted by homunculus at 11:49 PM on April 21, 2004


another portrait of the fallen



[via American Leftist]
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:11 AM on April 22, 2004


After watching the news yesterday about British troops getting injured in the suicide bombs in Basra, I surprised myself by concluding that, although I was completely against the use of the military in Iraq before the invasion, I don't believe it would be right to withdraw now. We can't walk into a country, depose its leader, then just pull out to allow suicidal nutters to blow up more civilians. Can we?
posted by Pericles at 1:13 AM on April 22, 2004


Pericles, I agree that we now have a responsibility to protect the people of Iraq. Not only because of the laws of the Geneva convention, but because failure to do so would be catastrophic in almost every possible way.

I also believe we have a responsibility to rid our nation of the leaders who created this problem. This administration has created problems far worse than my worst predictions in the year 2000, and I have no desire to find out what they can accomplish if given another four years to do it.
posted by mosch at 1:28 AM on April 22, 2004


The moral compass that you don't have...

How utterly stupid. There's at least a reasonable argument that liberating Iraq will reduce terrorism in the long run. Even with 1000 soldiers dead! Even 2000! But of course, for you, no degree of pacifism; of blindness to evil is sufficient.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:37 AM on April 22, 2004


How utterly stupid. There's at least a reasonable argument that liberating Iraq will reduce terrorism in the long run. Even with 1000 soldiers dead! Even 2000! But of course, for you, no degree of pacifism; of blindness to evil is sufficient.

This has anything to do with why we're not seeing photos of coffins on the news because......?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:44 AM on April 22, 2004


How utterly stupid. There's at least a reasonable argument that liberating Iraq will reduce terrorism in the long run.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... hold on a sec while I gather my breath.

What links were there to iraq and international terrorism?

Sure Saddam was a despot, but he was kept there by Americans until he no longer toed the line. Same with Afghanistan... supported by the US of A for years in the war against communism.

If America wants to stop International Terror then take a look at why it's happening - US foreign policy is capitalist driven. They don't give a damn about liberating anywhere, just liberating the resources... big difference.
posted by twistedonion at 4:46 AM on April 22, 2004


There's at least a reasonable argument that liberating Iraq will reduce terrorism in the long run.

There is an equally reasonable argument that invading Iraq will increase terrorism in the long run.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:52 AM on April 22, 2004


1. Don't show the coffins because it's a reminder war is bad, I mean really bad and ugly and horrible and not a great place to be.
2. If you have to be in war, make sure it's a good reason, OR
3. People will wonder why the hell we are in a really bad and ugly and horrible and not a great place.
4. What's the reason we are in Iraq? And don't compare Saddam to Hitler - Hitler produced world consensus where this only exists in the Adminitrations head.

I really have no idea how this makes one 'utterly stupid' and or a pacifist. ParisParamus perhaps a new thread to expound on your logic here.

I remind you - why would you hide the reminders unless we are not supposed to be there? Run to a dictionary because this does not enroll me in the school of 'pacifism.'
posted by fluffycreature at 4:58 AM on April 22, 2004


In the long-run, we're all dead. Though hopefully, for me it'll be aged 135, of a heart attack induced by cavorting with my 20-year old twin mistresses after a night of heavy drug-taking, rather than some brainwashed loony bent on auto-genocide.
posted by Pericles at 5:00 AM on April 22, 2004


Though hopefully, for me it'll be aged 135, of a heart attack induced by cavorting with my 20-year old twin mistresses after a night of heavy drug-taking

Lightweight.
posted by bifter at 5:07 AM on April 22, 2004


Mary-Kate and Ashley will be 20 in a couple years. Are you 133 now? There's hope!
posted by jfuller at 5:14 AM on April 22, 2004


Somewhat related: the defense contractor employee who took the unauthorized coffins photo that ran in the Seattle Times this week has been fired.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:30 AM on April 22, 2004


ParisParamus, how utterly stupid can you be? Or is it fucked up?
posted by acrobat at 6:04 AM on April 22, 2004




Can we say quagmire yet?
posted by nofundy at 6:45 AM on April 22, 2004


Hmm. This would've been better if there were real dead bodies for me to stare at.
posted by angry modem at 7:07 AM on April 22, 2004


And then there's these people. Remember them?
posted by muckster at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2004


Mary-Kate and Ashley will be 20 in a couple years. Are you 133 now? There's hope!

jfuller made me smile
posted by y2karl at 7:24 AM on April 22, 2004


And then there is her. . .
posted by Danf at 7:48 AM on April 22, 2004


oops sorry linguist . .. my bad
posted by Danf at 7:50 AM on April 22, 2004


And then there's these people. Remember them?
posted by jammer at 7:51 AM on April 22, 2004


what a bunch of ghouls.
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2004


that liberating Iraq will reduce terrorism in the long run

that sounds sort of like the fariy tale that tax cuts will improve the US economy in the long run? don't hold yer breath.
posted by nyoki at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2004


no degree of pacifism; of blindness to evil is sufficient.

oh, i have no problem whatsoever seeing evil, Dark Lord of Paramus.
posted by quonsar at 8:19 AM on April 22, 2004


Getting back to the topic, and fwiw, here's my take on it, as someone who supported the war on the basis that the Iraqi people deserved to be rid of one of the most murderous, sadistic dictators in history. I don't regret that stance, although the tone-deaf nature of the administration, and it's handling of the situation recently, is definitely troubling (I don't see those positions as mutually exclusive).

I think the American public should be able to see the actual consequences of this operation, including coffins, injuries, dead bodies, etc. Ultimately, it's the public that decides -- through quadrennial elections -- who it wants to lead the country. The public should have access to all information that informs that decision. For the same reason, I think executions should be televised.

That being said, I think some hope that pictures of coffins and body bags would favor Kerry in this election. I'm not so sure. I think most Americans realize we need to get the job done, and must stay until it is done. Personally, I think for the average person seeing coffins makes them angry at the people who killed the soldiers, and just reinforces the importance of finishing the job. Many people (note I'm talking about average people -- aka the people who decide elections -- not MeFi people) think Bush has a better chance than Kerry to accomplish that. Obviously many disagree (including, apparently, the Bush administration). And still others (*cough* *Michael Moore*) would prefer that more Americans be killed at the hands of the "Minutemen" (they're not the enemy, says Michael). So there's idiocy on all sides of this mess. Welcome to 2004.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:36 AM on April 22, 2004


The only difference is, back then the war was on the nightly news, there was a real press and 'investigative journalism' wasn't an oxymoron.

There's another difference: the Vietnam war already happened. We already know the U.S. military is vincible, and we know something about the conditions where it is likely to succeed or fail. And by "we" here I really do mean you and I, random members of the public with no particular background in military strategy. We are watching carefully for a particular pattern and raising as much hell as we can muster when we see evidence for its reappearance.

...Not, of course, that I see any evidence for the notion that Dear Leader Bush gives a damn what we think, but the idea of democracy is still a comforting one.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:42 AM on April 22, 2004


what a bunch of ghouls.

Better a ghoul than a hypocrite, clavdivs.
posted by rushmc at 8:42 AM on April 22, 2004


what a bunch of ghouls.

Wait, I though we were a bunch of pantywaists who don't have the balls to face the horrors of war, and live in a utopian fantasyland that ignores that realities of our modern world. Now we're a bunch of ghouls who get off on soldiers dying? I'm so confused.
posted by jpoulos at 9:19 AM on April 22, 2004


Drudge is now running the photos (uncredited, of course. What a creep.)

"The DRUDGE REPORT presents a sampling of the controversial images, trusting readers and citizens, as always, to form their own opinions."
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:24 AM on April 22, 2004


The only difference is, back then the war was on the nightly news...I actually watched ABC News last night, the first three stories were on Iraq. I wanted to see the tornado damage and I was surprised it wasn't the lead story. So I don't know what your point is.
posted by smackfu at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2004


And still others (*cough* *Michael Moore*) would prefer that more Americans be killed at the hands of the "Minutemen" (they're not the enemy, says Michael).

pardonyou?, i believe you're mischaracterizing Michael Moore's sentence.

MM: "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win."

it might be insensitive and perhaps even treasonous by some blowhole's standards, but in no way does he indicate he is "hoping" for more Americans to get killed. he's just predicting it. i don't see the malicious motive that you do. perhaps if you believe his only commitment is to personal profits.

i don't believe the entire Iraqi insurgency can be characterized as "The Enemy" either, however i definitely do not want any more Americans (or Iraqis) to be killed.

on topic, i strongly agree with pardonyou? about the availability of information: ... The public should have access to all information that informs that decision. For the same reason, I think executions should be televised.

hear, hear! what a brilliant idea. let's give the people all the information they need to make rational decisions.

if TV, radio and other informational sources (excluding the interweb, for now) were not such closed systems, i wouldn't support TV Turnoff Week; i'd celebrate TV Is Great week instead.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2004


The war in Iraq has hurt the GWOT. Our continuing involvement there helps no one.
posted by moonbiter at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2004


mrgrimm, I was referring to this part of Moore's post:

I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to characterize that as hoping (albeit "sadly") for more American casualties.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:31 AM on April 22, 2004


some sobering links, four panels.

some more on the possibility of perpetual draft:

congress pushing for the the G.I. Jane bill

the slow march of events towards the resumption of the draft [admittedly a partisan site, but an interesting collection of links itself]
posted by ubersturm at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2004


In related news, remember this picture from yesterday's Seattle Times? Well, two people got fired over it.
posted by ilsa at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2004


pardonyou?- Moore's not hoping for more American deaths, but echoing the logic of Powell's "you break it, you own it" line to Cheney in the run-up to the war. His point is that people are going to die before this is over, a lot of them, and that since we got ourselves into Iraq, it's wrong to ask others to sacrifice themselves to clean up after us.

I'm not sure I agree with him, but don't misinterpret the point.
posted by mkultra at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2004


Can we say quagmire yet?

There are more apt comparisons.
posted by homunculus at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2004


I don't think it's too much of a stretch to characterize that as hoping (albeit "sadly") for more American casualties.

I don't get that from Moore's quote at all. To me, it sounds more along the lines of "Much more American blood will be shed before this is over" in conjunction with "We got ourselves into this, and we're responsible for getting ourselves out." The guy can be a bit of a ranting nutbag from time to time but there's a difference between hoping for casualties and acknowledging their inevitability.

(Uh... in preview, what mkultra said.)
posted by purplemonkie at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2004


But of course, for you, no degree of pacifism; of blindness to evil is sufficient.

Paris Paramus may be a pitiable troll, but dammit he's our pitiable troll!
posted by Ty Webb at 11:53 AM on April 22, 2004


Vote Bush in November.
posted by skallas at 10:59 PM PST on April 21


No, vote Kerry. In an interview during the Vietnam era, he proposed,among other insane ideas, to put all American troops under the command of the United Nations. Wouldn't that be great? Vote Hanoi Kerry, he'll grant every single American citizen everlasting peace, safety, wealth and immortality.
posted by 111 at 11:58 AM on April 22, 2004


In an interview during the Vietnam era, George W Bush proposed, among other insane ideas, that he could finish an entire 8-ball in a single evening.
posted by jpoulos at 12:03 PM on April 22, 2004


Yeah, well at least Bush probably followed through.
posted by purplemonkie at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2004


uh-huh
and you moralize, still confused? I think that american leftist collage is ghoulish and your point?
posted by clavdivs at 12:11 PM on April 22, 2004


Bush and Kerry
posted by homunculus at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2004


jpoulos, that's amazing, though it still leaves Bush as much more reasonable and sober than John Kerry.

From the Boston Globe, April 19th 2004:

During the NBC interview, for example, Kerry was shown a quote from a 1970 Harvard Crimson interview in which he, freshly returned from the Vietnam War, said he would like to see US troops dispersed in the world "only at the direction of the United Nations."

Kerry replied, "That's one of those stupid things that a 27-year-old kid says when you're fresh back from Vietnam and angry about it.


Regarding Kerry's past, let's also keep in mind the "assassination meeting". BTW, who stole Gerald Nicosia's papers?
posted by 111 at 12:33 PM on April 22, 2004


Here's some background on Al Faluja to keep in mind.
A) Why is it in the news almost every night? Because it is one of the FEW places in all of Iraq where trouble exists. Iraq has 25 million people and is the size of California. Faluja and surrounding towns total 500,000 people. Do the math: that's not a big percentage of Iraq. How many people were murdered last night in L.A.? Did it make headline news? Why not?
B) Saddam could not and did not control Faluja. He bought off those he could, killed those he couldn't and played all leaders against one another. It was and is a 'difficult' town. Nothing new about that. What is new is that outside people have come in to stir up unrest. How many are there is classified, but let me tell you this: there are more people in the northeast Minneapolis gangs than there are causing havoc in Faluja. Surprised?
C) Then why does it get so much coverage? Because the major news outlets have camera crews permanently posted in Faluja. So, if you are from outside Iraq, and want to get air time for your cause, where would you go to terrorize, bomb, mutilate and destroy? Faluja.
D) Why does it seem to be getting worse? Two answers:
1) This country became a welfare state under Saddam. If you cared about your well-fare, you towed the line or died. The state did your thinking and your bidding. Want a job? Pledge allegiance to the Ba’ath party. Want an apartment, a car, etc? Show loyalty. Electricity, water, sewage, etc. was paid by the state. Go with the flow: life is good. Don't and you're dead. Now, what does that do to initiative? drive? industry?
So, we come along and lock up sugar daddy and give these people the toughest challenge in the world, FREEDOM. You want a job? Earn it! A house? Buy it or build it! Security? Build a police force, army and militia and give it to yourself. Risk your lives and earn freedom. The good news is that millions of Iraqis are doing just that, and some pay with their lives. But many, many are struggling with freedom (just like East Germans, Russians, Czechs, etc.) and they want a sugar daddy, the U.S.A., to do it all. We refuse. We don't want to be plantation owners. We make it clear we are here to help, not own or stay. They get mad about that, sometimes.
Nonetheless, in Faluja, the supposed hotbed of dissent in Iraq, countless Iraqis tell our psyopers they want to cooperate with us but are afraid the thugs will slit their throats or kill their kids. A bad gang can do that to a neighborhood and a town. That's what is happening here.
2) We have a battle hand-off going on here. The largest in recent American history. The Army is passing the baton to the Marines in this area. There is uncertainty among the populace and misinformation being given out by the bad guys. As a result there is insecurity and the bad guys are testing the resolve of the Marines and indirectly you, the American people. The bad guys are convinced that Americans have no stomach for a long haul effort here. They want to drive us out of here and then resurrect a dictatorship of one kind or another.
Okay, what do we do? Stay the course. The Marines will get into a battle rhythm and, along with other forces and government agencies here, they will knock out the crack houses, drive the thugs across the border and set the conditions for the Falujans to join the freedom parade or rot in their lack of initiative. Either way, the choice will be theirs. The alternative? Turn tail, pull out and leave a power vacuum that will suck in all of Iraq's neighbors and spark a civil war that could make Rwanda look like a misdemeanor.
Hey, America, don't go weak kneed on us: 585 dead American's made an investment here. That's a whole lot less than were killed on American highways last month. Their lives are honored when we stay the course and do the job we came to do; namely, set the conditions for a new government and empower these people to be the great nation they are capable of being.
The American burden.
posted by David Dark at 12:47 PM on April 22, 2004


Vote Hanoi Kerry,

posted by 111 at 11:58 AM PST on April 22


are you insulting this Kerry fellow for being a veteran? cause i wouldn't wanna be you when that shit gets around.

i thought conservatives at least repected the military. topsy-turvy world, huh?
posted by Miles Long at 12:52 PM on April 22, 2004


are you insulting this Kerry fellow for being a veteran?

No. You're misinformed. Read the Crimson interview and you'll get it. You know what the nickname Hanoi means, right? The military are true freedom fighters who walk like talk. I support them 100%.
posted by 111 at 1:01 PM on April 22, 2004


i love Sullivan's "I can't verify this first-hand but it comes from a source I know and trust" line, from an unidentified military chaplain

How many people were murdered last night in L.A.? Did it make headline news? Why not?

looks like one to me. it wasn't last night, though. yesterday afternoon. it made the headlines.

585 dead American's made an investment here. That's a whole lot less than were killed on American highways last month.

i'm definitely with that "guy" (if he exists) on outlawing or (regulating to extinction) personal automobiles. if we didn't need so much oil, we wouldn't be in Iraq in the first place. true enough.

but he totally loses any shred of credibility when he says that an Iraqi power vacuum would make Rwanda look like a misdemeanor. it's gonna be pretty hard to top Rwanda's atrocities. if ever there was a case for U.S. involvement/liberation/occupation, Rwanda was it. Clinton (among many others) should be ashamed.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:16 PM on April 22, 2004


Getting back to the topic, and fwiw, here's my take on it, as someone who supported the war on the basis that the Iraqi people deserved to be rid of one of the most murderous, sadistic dictators in history.


Ah the victory of the propaganda state.


But the truth is Saddam doesn't even break the top twenty most murderous list of just the last century.

He is in the top 10 of the "MADE IN USA" list though.

cheers.

But if it helps to move him up to number 1 to assuage any doubts about the war (seeing as how WMD, al-qaeda, 9-11 and other sundry excuses have fallen by the wayside, by all means, dissonate your cognizance all you want.
posted by sic at 3:08 PM on April 22, 2004


No. You're misinformed. You know what the nickname Hanoi means, right? The military are true freedom fighters who walk like talk. I support them 100%.
posted by 111 at 1:01 PM PST on April 22


i guess i am misinformed. sorry for not keeping up with the Rush Limbaugh insult-naming thing. i'll do better in future.

so you're calling him a traitor then? i don't really see why. from reading that article (now i am informed!) i see that he commanded a patrol boat in Vietnam, was wounded three times, and received a Silver Star for bravery. i'd certainly listen to what he has to say with regards to war issues, like i would with any vet. wish i could say the same about the incumbent. (is it a cheap shot if it's true?)
posted by Miles Long at 3:10 PM on April 22, 2004


speaking of insult-naming, i really hate it when people say (write?) 'Dubya' and 'Micro$oft' like they're being fucking clever. that's playground stuff.
posted by Miles Long at 3:12 PM on April 22, 2004


CL: (uncredited, of course. What a creep.)

If Drudge linked to the memoryhole then his little right-wing soap box would collapse in the face of the facts. Smart move, we have some really savvy propagandists on the net.
posted by skallas at 3:26 PM on April 22, 2004


i see that he (Kerry)commanded a patrol boat in Vietnam, was wounded three times, and received a Silver Star for bravery. i'd certainly listen to what he has to say with regards to war issues, like i would with any vet. wish i could say the same about the incumbent. (is it a cheap shot if it's true?)

You mean you think a soldier wounded in war like Kerry is automatically an expert on all things warlike? Even when his is entire discourse is based on blatant, shameful contradictions between his current and former views? Even when his actions and connections belie his discourse?
I'll leave you with another question. Where do some of the financial backers of the Kerry campaign come from?
posted by 111 at 4:13 PM on April 22, 2004


You mean you think a soldier wounded in war like Kerry is automatically an expert on all things warlike?

No. But I think Miles was just saying such an experience means we ought to at least hear him out. From everything I've learned about his war experience, it seems that he was at least decently competent. That experience does count for something, you know.

Even when his is entire discourse is based on blatant, shameful contradictions between his current and former views?

People change. I think it would be a troubling, troubling thing if everyone who went into a war came out of it feeling exactly the same as before.

I'll leave you with another question. Where do some of the financial backers of the Kerry campaign come from?

This is a classic red herring argument, and entirely non-sequitor. Please, no one bother responding to that one.
posted by rafter at 4:23 PM on April 22, 2004


I'll leave you with another question. Where do some of the financial backers of the Kerry campaign come from?

This is a classic red herring argument, and entirely non-sequitor. Please, no one bother responding to that one.


No it isn't. The issue at hand is, can John Kerry be trusted when it comes to leading the US troops into dangerous missions? Is he judicious? Is he morally apt? Does he really value soldier's lives (including POWs) as much as he says? If you'd rather not know the truth, well that's sad and very dangerous, but if you look for the answer to these questions, everything makes perfect sense and leads us back to the thread's subject.
posted by 111 at 5:01 PM on April 22, 2004


I'll leave you with another question. Where do some of the financial backers of the Kerry campaign come from?

Funny, you never seemed so concerned about financial backers when the oil companies were buying Bush an election...now it's an important consideration? And you wonder why you have so little credibility.... Truth doesn't change when you move your head from left to right.
posted by rushmc at 5:03 PM on April 22, 2004


111, while those would seem to be valid concerns, they are not quite addressed by your ambiguously leading question about the source of Kerry's funds.

In brief answer to your questions, yes, I feel that John Kerry is morally apt and judicious -- more, at least, than the alternative. Insofar as the President "leads" US Troops into dangerous missions (I have the sneaking suspicion that, as these photos show, the President merely "sends" them), I have no reason to believe Kerry would do an inadequate job of it. Finally, from everything I've seen about Kerry, not in the least the fact that he is a soldier who himself was injured in war, I feel extremely strongly that he values soldiers lives.

If you beg to differ, differ. But so far all you've done is ask a series of leading questions -- you hope to imply a heckuvalot, but don't really say anything.

On preview: come on rushmc! You let him lead you astray. One issue at a time!
posted by rafter at 5:12 PM on April 22, 2004


Funny, you never seemed so concerned about financial backers when the oil companies were buying Bush an election...now it's an important consideration?

rushmc, I challenge you to post, as soon as you can, an extensive comparative FPP with every single record you can find on the financial backers of Bush and Kerry past and present. Please include American and foreign persons and enterprises.

rafter, I differ of course, but this is only to be expected given my conservative beliefs. Now it has also been offered that John Kerry is deeply contradictory on many levels, prone to sudden turnabouts and has been linked to dangerous opinions and concerns. The two links I posted above are the tip of the iceberg, but they're more than enough to reveal Kerry's inconsistencies. You're selecting data ("oh, he was injured in the war!" or "cmon, people change") in order to "feel" that John Kerry, the most left-leaning of all American Senators, would make a proper Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces... Finally, if the questions I asked are harmless, why not answer them?
posted by 111 at 5:48 PM on April 22, 2004


At the risk of turning this thread into a personal debate, I did answer your questions that addressed the issue at hand. The only one I ignored was the one that did not do so (as I pointed out), and merely was a distraction away.

I hadn't seen your two links earlier in the thread, but they are all you've offered in the way of evidence for any of your attacks on Kerry so far (that he is "deeply contradictory," "prone to sudden turnabouts," and "linked to dangerous opinions and concerns"). The closest you get to addressing any of these is the fact that he backpedaled on this assassination meeting (and are you seriously pretending me this CNS news is a trustworthy news source?). Now, even taking the article at face value, all we have is Kerry attending a Veterans Against War meeting at which assassinating U.S. senators was supposedly discussed. It seems unlikely that this possibility was seriously discussed (though it is easy to imagine it being joked about), but even were there dead serious proponents of assasination present, what does that say about Kerry? He was a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against War -- it is entirely unsurprising that he would attend one of their meetings, and merely an unfortunate coincidence that rogue members of the organization chose to voice their assassination fixings that evening, given that VAW in no way officially endorsed such action. This is no more incriminating than if we find out that someone in Bush's college fraternity was convicted of date rape.

As for your other link, all you have is Kerry saying 34 years ago, when he was just 24 that he would support U.S. troops being placed under general control of the United Nations. One, it is unsurprising that he has changed his mind (grown slightly wiser, you might say) over the course of 34 years. Two, you assume that this is something that would compromise the security of the United States, which I don't think is the case (the U.N. would in no way inhibit us from defending ourselves against any concrete attacks). Finally, Kerry had a bad experience in Vietnam, America had a bad experience in Vietnam. I find his opinions in the article you link to, colored as they were by fresh battlefield experience, completely justified at the time regardless of their merit in today's world.

And, as an aside, you throw "the most left-leaning of all American Senators" around as if it was a great insult. While the notion may very well offend your sensibilities, if you mean to target that argument at me, as you seem to, I should warn you that I am a Kucinich man to the end.
posted by rafter at 6:18 PM on April 22, 2004


Um, the topic was coffin photos, yes?


Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Molino Briefing on Remains Transfer Policy
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:59 PM on April 22, 2004


Speaking of the topic... has anyone actually been able to get to the Memory Hole site? I know that you don't need to see the photos to have the same tired arguments but I was curious nonetheless. But it's been down from home and work all day.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 PM on April 22, 2004


drudge has a (very) few of them, smackfu. I haven't been able to see the memoryhole ones either.
posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on April 22, 2004


And then there's these people. Remember them?

The people Bush 1 incited to revolt, and then abandoned?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:52 PM on April 22, 2004


Here's some background on Al Faluja to keep in mind.

Battle for Falluja Rouses the Anger of Iraqis Weary of the U.S. Occupation

Baghdad, Iraq, April 21 - After suicide car bombs ripped into the relative calm of the southern city of Basra on Wednesday, merchants in a middle-class neighborhood here directed words dripping with venom at the American occupiers.

The comments along the commercial boulevard of Outer Karada echoed those heard throughout the country in recent weeks: that the fighting in Falluja had proven the occupiers to be barbarians; that encircling Najaf to capture a rebel cleric was a step toward violating one of the holiest cities in Shiite Islam; that the nearly three-week-old uprising — and the American failure to handle it — had essentially turned Iraq back to last summer's lawlessness.

When asked about their thoughts on the recent surge in violence in Iraq, none of the people interviewed mentioned the deadly attacks in Basra on Wednesday that killed at least 68 people, including 23 schoolchildren. Nor did anyone mention that guerrilla fighters were trying to undermine any national stability. And no one talked about the ouster of Saddam Hussein and his brutal dictatorship a year ago.

Instead, several people running businesses along Outer Karada pointed first to Falluja, 35 miles to the west, where marines are trying to rout undisciplined but determined Iraqi fighters.

"Frankly, we started to hate the Americans for that," Towfeek Hussein, 36, an electronics salesman, said of the siege of Falluja as he sat behind a desk in his shop. "The Americans will hit any family. They just don't care. Children used to wave to the American soldiers when their patrols passed by here. Two days ago, the children turned their faces away."


More than anything else, Falluja has become a galvanizing battle, a symbol around which many Iraqis rally their anticolonial sentiments. Some say the fighting there exposes the lie of American justice by showing that the world's sole superpower is ready to avenge the killings and mutilation of four American security contractors by sending marines to shell and invade a city of 300,000 people.

News reports, including those on the widely watched Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, two Arab satellite networks, cite hospital officials in Falluja saying that hundreds of people have been killed, including many women and children. American military officials say those reports are inaccurate.

The invasion of Falluja has shattered the remaining hope of many of those Iraqis who thought the Americans might be able to free the country from might-makes-right rule, which has shadowed this region from the days of the Ottoman Empire to British colonial rule to Mr. Hussein.

"My opinion of the Americans has changed," said Hassan al-Wakeel, 38, the owner of a men's designer clothing shop on Outer Karada. "When the Americans came, they talked about freedom and democracy. Now, the Americans are pushing their views by force. All of us feel that."


And here's more:

Fallujah siege brings Shia, Sunni together

In the past two weeks, Shia and Sunni neighborhoods throughout Baghdad have organized similar relief efforts. The U.S. siege of Fallujah has inspired a level of Shia-Sunni cooperation that has not been seen in Iraq since the revolt of 1920, when members of both sects rose up against the British occupation of what was then Mesopotamia. That uprising was put down, but it planted the seeds of Arab nationalism that led to the creation of modern-day Iraq.

U.S. Marines launched an assault on Fallujah on April 5, after insurgents there killed and mutilated four American security contractors. More than 600 Iraqis were reportedly killed in Fallujah, a toll that has shocked many Iraqis who saw graphic footage on Arab satellite channels. The siege also tapped into widespread frustration that has been simmering in Shia neighborhoods for a year. Many Shia fault the U.S.-led occupation for failing to provide jobs and to fully restore electricity, water and other basic services.

The level of sympathy for Fallujah in Shia areas is remarkable because the city once formed a backbone of support for Saddam Hussein's regime, and was home to many officers in his intelligence services and Republican Guard. Some of those Baath Party loyalists were responsible for the brutal suppression of a 1991 Shia rebellion in southern Iraq, in which tens of thousands of people were buried in mass graves.

But the siege of Fallujah appears to have rekindled feelings of Arab nationalism and Islamic unity among Iraq's Shia majority, analysts say. If the Shia-Sunni cooperation were to go beyond mere sympathy and relief aid -- with the Shia joining a broad revolt against U.S. forces -- it could make the American occupation of Iraq untenable.

"Don't underestimate nationalism," said Wamidh Nadhmi, a political science professor at Baghdad University. "And don't exaggerate Shia-Sunni differences, but remember that they are both Arabs. They have the same religion. There is no religion called Shiism and no religion called Sunnism. They are both Muslims."

posted by y2karl at 8:58 PM on April 22, 2004


I thought I might fill this little textbox with an angry screed, but I am too humbled by the picture to offer anything more. This whole damnable mess is so heartbreaking.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:39 PM on April 22, 2004


"I think that american leftist collage is ghoulish"

why are you so ashamed of the brave soldiers killed by the Iraq Attaq operation? why?
I thought right-wingers were all about supporting the troops.
heh.

you know, in other Coalition nations, the politicians who sent the soldeirs off to die have at least the decency to show up at the military airports, pay their respects to the dead, organize State Funerals, and all. not much, but the very least they should do. and we're not taking about mighty America, we're talking about lame-ass Euros like the Italians and Spaniards, the pacifist Japanese, etc.

it's pretty distasteful to send people off to die and then be ashamed of those coffins.

we're not talking about graphic photos (Allah forbid we actually see the reality in the field of the glorious liberation of Iraq, right?).
we're talking about pictures of coffins. and flags.
I was under the impression you guys really dug flags.

the hawks certianly didn't have any problems replaying 24/7 the images of the WTC burning, didn't they?
well, the WTC footage is a snuff movie. and you have no problem with it.
here, we're talking about a sea of coffins. simple as that. not a snuff movie like the WTC.
but of course a sea of coffins doesn't work as political lubricant to ram more War On Terrah bullshit down America's throat.

how sad to see America's right wingers feel so ashamed of their war dead.
that images show the consequences of your war. scary, huh?


111:
I seldom take the trouble of registering your rants, but just one thing. I'm not crazy about Kerry, either.
but if we're talking about being fit to be Commander In Chief, well... at least he's not a draft-dodging frat boy who got into the National Guard because of his rich daddy.
nor a cokehead.

oh, he's no drunk, either.
;)
posted by matteo at 5:08 AM on April 23, 2004


for future reference (the link'll die in a few days):

Photos of Coffins Draw U.S. Crackdown

By Monte Morin
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 23, 2004


A website dedicated to publishing censored pictures and documents released dozens of photographs of coffins containing American war dead, which caused the Pentagon on Thursday to renew its ban on releasing such images to the media.

Pictures of flag-draped coffins filling aircraft cargo bays and being unloaded by white-gloved soldiers were obtained by Russ Kick, a 1st Amendment activist in Tucson who won their release by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
Air Force officials initially denied the request but relented last week and sent him more than 350 pictures of Iraq war dead arriving at the military's largest mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The unexpected posting of the photos on the Internet caught the Pentagon by surprise and provoked a ripple of media attention to pictures the government had been trying to suppress. Several major newspapers planned to publish the newly released photos on their front pages today.
Soon after the photographs were posted on the Web, the Department of Defense barred their further release to other media outlets, saying the photos violated the privacy of troops' families.
Military officials said that the media have been banned from taking pictures and videos of returning war dead since 1991 and that release of the Dover photographs was a clear violation of this policy.
"Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified," said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense.
There have been exceptions to the policy. Molino said he could not explain what conditions prompt a public ceremony.
"At Dover, as a rule, there is no ceremony. It's a ritual more than a ceremony, to my mind," he said.
The Pentagon's insistence that the images should remain censored also came one day after two military contract employees in Kuwait were fired for taking pictures of flag-draped coffins there and sending one to the Seattle Times, which published it Sunday.
Maytag Aircraft Corp. said that it had fired Tami Silicio, 50, and her husband, David Landry, because they "violated Department of Defense and company policies by working together" to take and publish the photograph, company President William L. Silva said in a news release Thursday.
The picture shows several workers inside a cargo plane parked at Kuwait International Airport securing 20 flag-draped coffins for the trip to Dover. Silicio, who took the picture, told the newspaper that she hoped it would portray the care and devotion with which civilian and military crews treat the remains of fallen troops.
"It wasn't my intent to lose my job or become famous or anything," Silicio said.
Government and military leaders acknowledge that such images carry power and can sway public opinion.
In 1999, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, said a decision to use military force was based in part on whether it would pass "the Dover test," as the public witnessed the images of the war dead arriving home.
However, at a news briefing Thursday, Molino said the policy was not driven by concerns of public opinion.

posted by matteo at 5:13 AM on April 23, 2004


LATimes link here, sorry
posted by matteo at 5:15 AM on April 23, 2004


It's funny--by banning the pics originally, the administration has given these pictures much more power than they otherwise would have had, i think. We would have long ago normalized it, sort of, like we did with past wars--and like what's happening now with the little headshots and names being flashed on the news of the dead each night.
posted by amberglow at 5:38 AM on April 23, 2004


Does he really value soldier's lives (including POWs) as much as he says?

Well, Kerry isn't the one spouting things like "bring 'em on."
posted by Vidiot at 5:46 AM on April 23, 2004


By the way, Josh Marshall puts it nicely in his latest entry:
For many opponents of the war there is an unmistakable interest in getting these photographs before the public in order to weaken support for the war. There's no getting around that. I don't mean to imply that most who want these pictures out believe that, or even that that's an illegitimate goal. And there's a long record of governments managing bad news during wartime to keep up civilian morale.

But one needn't oppose the war to find something morally unseemly about the strict enforcement of the regulations barring any images of the reality behind these numbers we keep hearing on TV. There is some problem of accountability here, of putting on airs of national sacrifice and not having the courage to risk the real thing, some dark echo of the Rumsfeldian penchant for 4th generation, high-tech warfare where data transfers and throw weights replace bodies at every level.

Of course, the rationale for this policy of barring these images is that to publicize them would be an invasion of the privacy of the families. And certainly if the issue were one of barring photographers from private funerals, perhaps that notion would have merit. But the idea that the privacy of the families is advanced by barring any sort of public grieving and witnessing of these sacrifices just seems ridiculous on its face -- especially when we are often talking about rows of anonymous flag-draped coffins.

All the arguments aside, there's something wrong about the fact that we're seeing none of this.
posted by Vidiot at 6:07 AM on April 23, 2004


Memory Hole is bogged down. Anyone have a mirror? They want to talk about the pictures in some of the classes at the high school where I work.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 6:08 AM on April 23, 2004


You can get some at Drudge, and FWIW I have one here.
posted by Vidiot at 6:30 AM on April 23, 2004


More here.
posted by Vidiot at 6:42 AM on April 23, 2004


A few notes from the NYT article on this subject:

Apparently, the major news outlets hadn't made FOI requests on these pictures because they didn't know they existed. So how the fuck did memory hole find out about them? Ouija boards? Cripes. Do some investigating, people! Isn't that your job?

Once it was out, only one major news outlet felt the story wasn't important enough to cover. Guess they were trying to be fair and balanced...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:13 AM on April 23, 2004


From the NYT story:

Among the national television news organizations, only the Fox News Channel had no plans to use any of the photos or explore the issue of why they had been barred from use in the news media, a channel spokesman said.


On preview: beaten by seconds!
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:14 AM on April 23, 2004


Apparently, the major news outlets hadn't made FOI requests on these pictures because they didn't know they existed. So how the fuck did memory hole find out about them? Ouija boards? Cripes. Do some investigating, people! Isn't that your job?

Exactly what I was gonna say - but I'll add this: The first time I saw one of the coffin photos was April 14 (it might've been the 15th), after Matt posted that Live Journal images link and I started idly checking it in a separate window.

The coffin photo just came up, along with the others, with no context, and I thought, huh, you know, that's an image I haven't seen anywhere, and I noted the URL. The moral is that even as they try to catch up, Old Media still are almost completely clueless about the information revolution that is the Web. Good as The Memory Hole is, it's both telling and shameful that our country's major journalistic institutions got their asses kicked by a guy with a Web site.
posted by soyjoy at 7:44 AM on April 23, 2004


By the way, some of the photos in question do not depict the remains of servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the photos on the gallery's first page with the hearse and blue-uniformed honor guard show the remains of the Columbia astronauts arriving at Dover AFB.
posted by Vidiot at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2004


If anyone's still reading this, I found a mirror of memory hole:
militarycoffins.bootnetworks.com
posted by smackfu at 10:23 AM on April 23, 2004


Why is it in the news almost every night? Because it is one of the FEW places in all of Iraq where trouble exists. Iraq has 25 million people and is the size of California. Faluja and surrounding towns total 500,000 people. Do the math: that's not a big percentage of Iraq.

posted by David Dark at 12:47 PM PST on April 22


Oh, well i guess things must be okay then.

this scares me. this guy seems to be arguing for censorship.
Spin it however you like, there's an irreducible kernel of truth that our boys are dying over there, and the American people have a right to know.

(the preceding paragraph should be read while humming 'glory, glory halleluiah')
posted by Miles Long at 10:28 AM on April 23, 2004


Here's another mirror. (via talkingpoints)
posted by rafter at 10:54 AM on April 23, 2004


Spin it however you like, there's an irreducible kernel of truth that our boys are dying over there, and the American people have a right to know.

Who in America do you think doesn't know that?
posted by David Dark at 11:02 AM on April 23, 2004


Who in America do you think doesn't know that?

Joey Michaels' high school students, for one.

There is also a big divide between the numbers and the truth of the situation. It is one thing to say, "fifteen soldiers died today," but is another thing altogether to see fifteen coffins in a row.
posted by rafter at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2004


From Drudge:

April 23, 2004
Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1600)

NOTE TO EDITORS: n04-059

COLUMBIA CREW MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED AS IRAQI WAR CASUALTIES

Many news organizations across the country are mistakenly identifying the flag-draped caskets of the
Space Shuttle Columbia's crew as those of war casualties from Iraq.

Editors are being asked to confirm that the images used in news reports are in fact those of
American casualties and not those of the NASA astronauts who were killed Feb.1, 2003, in the
Columbia tragedy.

An initial review of the images featured on the Internet site www.thememoryhole.org shows that more
than 18 rows of images from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware are actually photographs of honors
rendered to Columbia's seven astronauts.

News organizations across the world have been publishing and distributing images featured on the web
site.


-end-
posted by 111 at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2004


111, Vidiot already mentioned that at 1:11.
posted by xiffix at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2004


My bad, thanks xiffix
posted by 111 at 2:07 PM on April 23, 2004


Joey Michaels' high school students, for one.

Ah, yes, clearly irrefutable proof that the American people are being denied access to information they have a right to know about.
posted by David Dark at 2:34 PM on April 23, 2004


FWIW, militarycoffins.bootnetworks.com is a mirror site (thanks, p s).
posted by tbc at 2:48 PM on April 23, 2004


Thanx for all the mirrors everyone.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 4:42 PM on April 23, 2004


The pictures of the honor guard in fatigues are Iraq. The ones with the honor guard in dress blues are Columbia, fyi.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:06 PM on April 23, 2004


So I finally found a mirror, and there are 4 images per row, so of the 361 images, 72 are from the shuttle disaster, meaning 289 of the photos are actually of those of the fallen who served their country in Iraq.

That does not, I repeat, does not invalidate the sacrifice those soldiers made for our country, nor does it make the embargo on photographs by a democratic nation such as ours any less shocking.
posted by mathowie at 3:21 PM PST on April 23


I am in agreement with the above.
posted by y2karl at 7:02 PM on April 23, 2004


"meaning 289 of the photos are actually of those of the fallen who served their country in Iraq."

but, but, on the eve of the Iraq invasion the Pentagon directed no media coverage was to be allowed *cough*censorship*cough*.
and these were just the photos that the govt. knows of and admits to.
what was the purpose in taking them?
posted by page404 at 8:20 PM on April 23, 2004


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