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Friday, April 23, 2004

The caskets

Some time ago, I vowed to blog about images -- especially involving US foreign policy, Iraq, the war on terror, etc.

By now, I presume most readers know about the front page photo in last Sunday's Seattle Times:

Today, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the woman who took the picture in Kuwait, Tami Silicio, has been fired from her job loading cargo planes . Silicio's husband was also canned by the defense contractor that employed them, though I do not see anything in the story that would justify his dismissal per se.

Not that I think she should have been fired either. Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, pointed out the obvious:
Silicio's photograph "was not a breach of national security," he said. "This was a breach of the Bush administration's notion of public relations."
The DoD, of course, has denied resposibility for Silicio's firing.

Her only "crime" was violating DoD's censorship of these photos.

Meanwhile, additional photos are surfacing. Anti-war activist Russ Kick filed a Freedom of Information Act request for photographs and he has apparently published them on the internet. These photos come from the military's stateside mortuary:

This month, more than 100 soldiers have died in Iraq, bringing the war's total to over 700.

Obviously, the photographs of soldier caskets potentially makes the war more real for Americans. For supporters of the war, these images are a reminder of the sacrifices made by real human beings. At the same time, war opponents will undoubtedly be galvanized by these images.

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