Prepare for the Overlords!

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Friday, November 14, 2003

Editorial Observer: Accounting for the Invisible Casualties of War Shouldn�t Be a Matter of Politics: "the way the military honors death: it endows that inescapable but inescapably tragic part of their lives with a sense of moment, of ceremony and dignity, and most of all it faces death squarely and honestly.
This is a central part of the warrior's culture, but it is all too often missing from the way President Bush is running the Iraq war. As the toll nears 400, the casualties remain largely invisible. Apart from a flurry of ceremonies on Veterans Day, this White House has done everything it can to keep Mr. Bush away from the families of the dead, at least when there might be a camera around."

The wounded, thousands of them, are even more carefully screened from the public. And the Pentagon has continued its ban on media coverage of the return of flag-draped coffins to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, denying the dead soldiers and their loved ones even that simple public recognition of sacrifice. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained rather lamely that the ban had been in place since 1991 — when another President Bush wanted to avoid the juxtaposition of his face and words with pictures of soldiers' coffins.

Some Republicans say it would take up too much of the president's time to attend military funerals or meet the coffins returning from Iraq. "They're coming back continually," the conservative commentator Bay Buchanan said on CNN on Tuesday. "The president cannot be flying up there every single week
The Bush administration hates comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and many are a stretch. But there is a lesson that this president seems not to have learned from Vietnam. You cannot hide casualties. Indeed, trying to do so probably does more to undermine public confidence than any display of a flag-draped coffin. And there is at least one direct parallel. Thirty-five years ago, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon took to shipping bodies into the United States in the dead of night to avoid news coverage.

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not