imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

White House bans news coverage of coffins returning from Iraq

by Bill Vann Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:09 PM

“Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of US soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped coffins,” wrote the Post’s White House reporter Dana Milbank. “To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”



World Socialist Web Site www.wsws.org

------------------------------------------------------------------------

WSWS : News & Analysis : North America

White House bans news coverage of coffins returning from Iraq

By Bill Vann

23 October 2003

Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Bush administration has ordered the Pentagon to prevent any news coverage of the bodies of US troops being sent home from Iraq. The blackout on casualties is part of the attempt by the White House to recast the nightmare in Iraq as a “good news” story.

“Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of US soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped coffins,” wrote the Post’s White House reporter Dana Milbank. “To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”

In the post-Vietnam War era, the return of the remains of US military personnel killed overseas was generally treated as a solemn state occasion. The trauma over Vietnam and the deaths of more than 58,000 soldiers had forced a break with the policy that prevailed during that war, in which the phrase “sent home in a body bag” summed up the indifference exhibited by the US government toward the troops in the field.

Thus, President Jimmy Carter attended memorial ceremonies held at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the site of the military’s largest mortuary, when bodies were brought back from the failed hostage rescue attempt in Iran. Reagan pinned medals on the coffins of US Marines killed in El Salvador and attended memorials for the 241 Marines who died in the Beirut barracks bombing. George Bush the elder paid similar homage to soldiers killed in Panama and Lebanon, while elaborate ceremonies were staged to greet returning caskets at Dover, Andrews Air Force Base, Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and elsewhere.

The military command and the US government have never doubted the impact of these images. Army General Henry Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in 1999 that any US foreign military intervention would have to pass the “Dover test,” meaning the public’s reaction to photographs and news footage of caskets coming off of military transport planes.

The present administration has decided that it will simply not take this test. Instead, it chides the news media for focusing on the killing and maiming of US military personnel in attacks by resistance forces—presently averaging 25 a day—not to mention the killing and wounding of Iraqi civilians. Instead, it insists that the print and broadcast news trumpet supposed accomplishments, like the issuing of a new US-designed currency.

For the most part, the big business media has complied, keeping its coverage of soldiers’ deaths to a minimum and not dwelling on funerals or the suffering of the families left behind.

While using aircraft carriers and massed ranks of soldiers and sailors as backdrops for his photo opportunities, Bush has treated the US soldiers in Iraq with contempt. There has never been an occupant of the White House so obviously indifferent to the deaths of American servicemen and women in combat as George W. Bush. With the Iraq death toll for US troops approaching 350, Bush has yet to attend a single funeral or memorial service.

Having acted on its own propaganda claims that the Iraqi people would greet the US occupiers as “liberators,” the administration failed to properly deploy or equip US forces for what has become an ever more hostile environment. At the same time, US servicemen and women have been subjected to abysmal living conditions, in large part because support services were contracted out to politically connected private firms that failed to deliver once it became clear that Iraq remained a war zone.

The treatment of soldiers who have been wounded or injured in Iraq is scandalous. Those released from military hospitals, in many cases disabled for life, have found to their shock and anger that they were billed for their hospital meals.

At Fort Stewart, Georgia, where Bush staged one of his post-invasion appearances, using returning troops as a prop, approximately 600 wounded and injured reservists are being denied prompt medical care and housed under disgraceful conditions in World War II-era cinderblock barracks that lack running water or air-conditioning. Wounded soldiers are forced to walk 30 yards—in many cases on crutches—to a bug-infested communal latrine. They are obliged to buy their own toilet paper.

After several of the reservists revealed these conditions to the media, some 400 of the wounded men and women were lined up in formation Tuesday morning to be reprimanded by senior officers, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Wednesday. “They said we’d be doing more cleaning up, more work, and to keep our mouths shut,” Sgt. Dennis Stewart, a Terre Haute, Indiana firefighter told the newspaper.

Who are these soldiers for whom the president and his administration demonstrate such disregard? Overwhelmingly, they are drawn from the working class, in many cases joining the military because they needed a job or money for their education.

Specialist Simeon Hunte, 23, of Orange, New Jersey was shot to death October 1 while on patrol in Al Khadra. He is survived by his wife, a one-and-a-half year old daughter and a newborn son he never saw. “Hunte attended Montclair State University but did not graduate. He joined the Army to get the financial assistance to reach his goal,” according to a press account of his death.

Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez, 21, was born in Monterrey, Mexico, immigrated to the US as a child of seven and was preparing to apply for US citizenship. An Army private, she was killed October 1 when a military convoy in which she was riding was hit by an explosive device and rocket-propelled grenades. She had attended Houston Community College in Texas, but joined the Army so that her parents would not have to sacrifice to pay her tuition. “She was always more worried about us than she was about herself,” her father said.

Sgt. David Travis Friedrich, 26, of Naugatuck, Connecticut was killed in a mortar attack on a US base near Baghdad September 20. His mother said he had enlisted in the reserves to help pay for his graduate courses at the University of New Haven. He also held a full-time job in a factory before he was called up for active duty.

Ryan Carlock, 25, of Colchester, Illinois, was killed in combat north of Baghdad on September 9. He joined the Army three years ago to earn a living to support his wife and two children and to get job training. “He was trying to figure out his next move, stay in or go to college,” his stepfather said.

A common thread runs through the biographies of the great majority of those who have lost their lives in the war and occupation in Iraq, one of struggle and sacrifice in the face of a shrinking job market and spiraling college tuition fees. The gulf between them and the US president is so vast as to defy comparison. Bush’s admission and graduation from Yale University, like his avoidance of military service and the succession of well-paid sinecures that preceded his installation as president, were guaranteed by his family’s wealth and fame.

For Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, as for Halliburton, Bechtel, ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips, the lives of these young people are eminently expendable, a small down payment in blood on what they hope will be a windfall in profits resulting from the seizure of Iraq’s oil reserves and the looting of the US treasury by means of vastly inflated “reconstruction” contracts.

For American working people, the deaths of these young men and women is a terrible tragedy and waste. These soldiers, like the American people as a whole, were dragged into an illegal war based on lies about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and Baghdad-terrorist connections that were invented to cover up the Bush administration’s predatory objectives. They have been kept in Iraq nearly seven months after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime under conditions of rising popular hostility to what is plainly an exercise in US colonialism.

The Bush administration is notoriously given to the belief that image is all that matters and that it can carry out any criminal policy so long as it can drape it in the flag and count on a pliant media to conceal the truth. While it may be able to stop the cameras from filming the caskets unloaded at Dover air base, the bodies are still coming home from Iraq for burial in towns and cities from New York to California.

As it becomes clear to ever broader sections of the population that these deaths were unnecessary and the result of what can only be described as a criminal enterprise, the demand will inevitably grow for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and a settling of accounts with those responsible for the needless killing of both Iraqis and Americans.

 



------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 1998-2003

World Socialist Web Site

All rights reserved

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 20 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
To a Chicke Hawk Coward pResident Angry Veteran Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:11 PM
AV hurryupandcroakalready Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:24 PM
I wish verterans like you had died in service. We'd all be better off. Vet Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:35 PM
Hmmm fresca Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:59 PM
ooooh! can you smell that? Windows down Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 4:46 PM
we already know how you feel. chokealready Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 4:50 PM
another one Bingo Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 4:55 PM
Bingo was his name-o Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 5:03 PM
Freaks of a twisted nature Parmenides Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 5:50 PM
Ducky great Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 5:54 PM
tell me more... interested Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 6:08 PM
interested Bingo Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 6:11 PM
Isn't in interesting Sarah N. Dippity Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 8:39 PM
I hope the comments below tell you something. Mirror Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003 at 1:17 PM
I hope the comments below tell you something. Mirror Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003 at 1:22 PM
I hope the comments below tell you something. Mirror Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003 at 1:23 PM
I hope the comments for far tell you something fundamental baout the American people Mirror. Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003 at 1:30 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy