Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Honor the Sacrifice

Friday, February 27, 2009

Honor the Sacrifice

The Pentagon today changed its policy of prohibiting photos to be taken of coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a shift in policy that's long overdue. Although the intention of the Bush administration (and the Clinton and previous Bush administrations, as well) was to hide the cost of these wars. Deaths were reported, of course, but we never got to see any actual evidence, on the theory that the remains of dead soldiers would just inflame the public against the military actions. I won't pretend that this result would be negligible, but it always seemed to me that the policy of hiding the dead also disrespects them. We're asking soldiers to pay the ultimate price to defend our policies, but when they lose their lives in that endeavor, the government acts as though it doesn't really want anyone to know. These aren't lives that can be thrown away with no consequences. Some families may feel that the attention is invasive, and the Defense Department will honor their preferences.

My reaction was nicely summed up by Jon Soltz, chairman of

"So many Americans want to have Memorial Day once a year when they go to the beach and cook hot dogs in the backyard," Mr. Soltz said. "This is a way for Americans to see and honor the sacrifice of our fallen when it occurs. It's something our public should be aware of."

We should definitely be aware of the price that is paid, but we should also be aware of those who have paid it.


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