Photos of US military coffins now surfacing. What will be the effect?

Recently found a link to 361 photos of military coffins which were reprotedly obtained by someone under the Freedom of Information Act.

As many of us know, such images have been forbiden for the press to take/show.
Now it seems they’re finally going to surface.
Do you think this will have much of an effect on the way people veiw the war? The images are all tasteful and there isn’t any indication of the bodies being treated with disrespect.

I can’t magine this will be kept under wraps for long.
Are the administration’s fears unfounded? Or will this effect public opinion and/or open the gates for more graphic war images of our dead soldiers?

While it seems unethical to use images of dead soldiers for poitical gain, I also think it’s important to remind people what the ultimate cost of war is.

If they truly beleive the American people were behind them they wouldn’t be hiding these photos. If these photos aren’t going to stay visible FREQUENTLY then the effect will be negligible. The infrequent photo leak isn’t enough…

Should these photos become more common then support for Iraq will decline somewhat IMHO. Still the support has been declining for a long time without visible political fallout. US voters seem callous to casualties beyond their borders... be they american or not.

Apparently all photos of soldiers killed in the first and second WWs were also off limits to the American public. I do think it is about time these photos were published, it is one thing to hear about casualties in Iraq but when you see the coffins lined up draped with the flag it really does bring home the reality of war. And how can a picture of a beaten corpse hanging from a bridge be less offensive than pictures showing bodies being treated with the greatest respect and returning home?

And yes, I do think this will affect how people view the war and Bush’s role in it.


Didn’t see this thread when I started mine.

If you are already against the war, the pictures are a dramatic reemphasis of the price being paid daily for Bush’s folly.

If you are already supported the war, the pictures are a poignant reminder of the price of freedom.

If you were against the war but subscribe to the “we broke it, we bought it” than both statements have some merit.

I don’t think that there will be a large change in attitudes as a result of the pictures. The fact that the administration didn’t want to risk exposure of the pictures pisses me off, but what else is new.

It boggles the mind that this administration thinks that photos of caskets in flags should be suppressed. What possible reason is there to keep these images from the people? Do they think that the people are so stupid that they don’t associate 50 deaths with 50 real people, but seeing 50 coffins is going to make them make that connection? Bush’s secrecy obsession never ceases to amaze.

After looking at the images I really can’t see what the problem is. They are respectful and well taken.

From the BBC I linked to in my thread

As I said I don’t believe this. It’s political.

This is a war and those pictures and pictures of dead Iraqis are the reality of this war. If you support the war you should see what the effects are. Hearing numbers just isn’t the same. Grown up decisions should be based on grown up info.

I think the Admin have made a mistake trying to control these images. It’s like they ashamed of the images of the dead. If the antiwar people can use them so be it. The argument for war should be strong enough to stand up against the hardest criticism otherwise the argument wasn’t strong enough to go to war in the first place.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen news agency film of the coffin of an American soldier being carried solemnly from the back of a plane. More than once, in fact. Does that mean that I was seeing film from America that was illegal to broadcast over there? In that case how come it’s legal to record it? Is it alright if it’s a foreign news agency doing the recording?

Or was I seeing something else?

Well, yeah, frankly. If you hear about a murder, that means you heard somebody died, right? But if you find a murder victim in the park, that’s a whole different ballpark. Same information, different reaction. Viscerally, if not intellectually. I don’t think it’s about being stupid, it’s about being human. A cargo hold full of boxes of our boys is naturally going to elicit a more emotional response than a news report that 12 soldiers died today.

I agree that it’s a completely un-American thing to do, but there’s certainly a reason behind it that goes beyond paranoia on the part of the administration.

I think this was a longtime policy, long before Bush, and the latest Administration decided to enforce it for a change, that’s all.

FWIW, I saw a rep from one of the Military Family associations say that they supported the policy, so go figure.

Aha, cite from the Times:

Entire article.

My guess is that the military doesn’t want the return of remains from overseas battlefields to become some sort of political issue. In other words, they don’t want images of their dead being used to further anyone else’s political agenda, because they probably feel it to be disrespectful. I tend to agree- if my son/brother/dad had died somewhere else, I’d be pissed as all hell if some asshole politician or reporter chose to use pictures of his body to prove/further his point.

The Pentagon does allow coverage of graveside services with the family’s consent- that’s the point at which the families can grant consent. Until then, it’s up to the military, and they aren’t going to let anyone do anything possibly disrespectful to the dead until that point.

Like several have said, it’s been in place since before G.W.Bush, and possibly even before Clinton, and was a directive from the Pentagon, not the White House. Quit trying to pin this one on G.W. Bush. Not everything in Washington was done by him, you know.

You folks disappoint me. This thread has been going a full hour and a half and no one has noticed the ultimate irony of this: the Administration that thinks images of flag-draped military coffins are too horrid for us to view is the same bunch that did a campaign ad a couple months back using real or purported footage of fireman hauling a flag-draped stretcher out of Ground Zero.

That, plus the revelation over in The Pit that blatantly political comments are being tacked on to the end of routine IRS press releases provokes me to ask this Administration the question once asked of Joe McCarthy:

“At last, then, do you have no shame?”

I think I’ll go look up Cecil’s column on renouncing citizenship. . . .

Well besides the fact that Bush is the Commander and Chief, and could countermand any directive from the Pentagon, I have to ask the following:

Where in this thread has anyone tried to pin this on Bush? (Despite the fact that in all fairness it should be)
I have demonstrated my inability to discuss the present War many times by getting overly emotional due to my service in the first Gulf War and the fact that I have lost a good friend in this one, so I will refrain from further comment.

Of course Bush can use photos of flag-draped coffins of 9-11 victims in campaign ads.

If you can demonstrate somehow that taking photos of flag-draped coffins constitutes “disrespect for the dead” you might have something resembling a point.

To understand this directive you must remember that popular opposition to the Vietnam War has long been linked to people seeing film on the evening news of body bags being unloaded from military transports. The Pentagon has made the simplistic, though possibly valid, assumption that if people don’t see coffins they won’t object to a war. They make noises about how these men and women “have paid the ultimate price” but I get the feeling that if they could they wouldn’t report ANY losses.

Its really quite simple. If the photos were used to laud The Leader and his firm and unwavering resolve to “stay the course” and thus highlight the unstinting sacrifice of our heroes in thier universal and unanimous support of The Leader, that’s one thing. Used by sniveling cowards who hate freedom, in an attempt to undermine The Leader’s purpose and thus offer aid and comfort to the enemy, it’s treason and blasphemy.

What really boggles my mind is that the photos that were obtained under the FOIA were apparently photos taken by the Defense Department. Why on Earth would they take photos if they didn’t want the images to be seen? Why didn’t the Defence Department just not take the photos in the first place? What value could photos of anonyous coffins have to the Defense Department?

It’s ok for a president to travel to Dover AFB and be publicly photographed with the flag-drapped coffins as they arrive home (Clinton) for political purposes.

It’s ok for a president to use flag-drapped coffins in his campaign ads (Bush) in his bid for re-election.

It’s ok for the embedded media to show firefights and dead bodies on our TV screens, including the latest firefight when that soldier is seen returning fire while he wears his uniform soaked in the blood of a comrade (CNN News report).

It’s ok for the media to publish burned body parts hanging from a bridge in Iraq.

It’s not ok for the American People who are sending their sons and daughters to a controversial war to see some of those sons and daughters return home in flag-drapped coffins amid the respect, grace and dignity their soldiers in arms give them.

The horror. The horror. The hypocrisy.