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RE: Bush photomosaic of American dead in Iraq


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RE: Bush photomosaic of American dead in Iraq
Topic: Activism 12:41 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2004

Decius wrote:
] I was actually fairly offended by this. Its hard to explain
] but I'll try. Its like taking their bodies and using them for
] a selfish political purpose. A marketing purpose... like spam.
] Its seems disrespectful.

[ It's not hard to explain... it *is* offensive. Politicizing the deaths of our soldiers sits ill precisely because it dishonors their memory by making them a statistic, a number, or an infographic.

On the other hand, every time the president (or his staff) stands in front of the country and paints a rosy picture of the job being done in Iraq, or touts his leadership, or invokes the sacrifices of those very same soldiers in his bid for re-election, he's politicizing the same dead bodies. If Bush is going to use the good job he's done in Iraq as a campaign strategy, then it's only fair to remind people that there are a lot of dead americans to account for, not to mention the dead Iraqis, who we speak little of. Sometimes that reminder needs to be harsh to get the attention it deserves... people tune out numbers, they tune out statistics, they acclimate and stop paying attention to the endless parade of dead and wounded. If this sort of thing can wake them up to the reality of the situation then the purpose it serves tends to validate it.

I'd think a bit differently if it was John Kerry's campaign that put this together. If it turns out that that's the case, I'll be extremely disappointed, to say the least.

I'm sensitive to this issue, certainly. I reacted very harshly to the media right around 9/11, because I found it horribly inappropriate that they sit there and replay the same horrifying footage over and over again. Planes crashing into buildings, the towers collapsing, and worst of all, highlighted shots of people falling who had thrown themselves from the building in a futile attempt to escape. Is that news? The 3'rd time, 10th, 300th? That's dishonor. That's making spectacle out of tragedy in order to glue eyeballs to the set. The same talking heads yammered incessantly about the horror, and the sacrifice and how the country would never be the same, while trickling out the tiniest little bit of new information or speculation every so often, just to keep you hooked. I don't see this quite the same way.


] I don't care if you hate Bush. I don't care what your position
] on the war is. This isn't a kingdom and he is not soley
] responsible for the fact that these people are dead. Such a
] statement would only resonate with me if we lived in a
] dictatorship and these people were killed in domestic federal
] prisons.

[... You're correct that many people had to work together to make this war happen. Congress and the DOD and the cabinet and the advisors all played their part. But be that as it may, the decision to commit our forces to a course of action rests with only one man. That's why he's called the Commander-In-Chief and it's why he gets stuck with responsibility for the results of such decisions. The President of the United States doesn't get to whine about how other people pushed him to do this, or other shit happened that changed the situation. Don't like it? Don't become the leader of the most powerful country on earth... risky, unpredictable decisions are part of the deal. You better damn well be prepared to have serious, detailed plans in place to implement every aspect of whatever actions you take, especially when lives are at stake.

The president picked his own cabinet, listened to his own advisors, and made his own decisions. That's called making your own bed, as the saying goes... now he gets to sleep in it.

I'm not so twisted by my dislike for Bush that I think he doesn't give a shit about these dead americans or their thousands of wounded partners. It would take a true monster to discard men and women in that way, and i don't think Bush, for all his failings, is quite evil. But that doesn't remove the onus of responsibility. People die in wars, and he knew that when he signed the order. Living with the results of your decisions is something everyone must do... and I don't deny that it's especially hard for a president.

I'm not a person who thinks that the president automatically is at fault for every bullshit thing that happens during his term, or that he should get automatic credit for everything good that happens, either. I recognize that things like the economy, environment, energy, and, yes, national security are all very complex and unpredictable issues... positive and negative results can take years to propagate through the system, and many, probably all presidents, inherit some good and bad times from their predecessors. And then, sometimes, you get a 9/11, something catastrophic, unprecedented, that no one else really saw coming (or so we hope) the aftermath of which you get stuck with.

It's how a president responds to those situations that determines his quality. It's the integrity with which he conducts himself that defines his validity. Many, many people in this country opposed the war before, during and after "major combat operations"... many still see compelling evidence that Iraq was a target before terrorism was a daily concern in this country. Many fail to see the connection between Iraq and Al Quaida and some even think the world is *less* safe now than it was before. Many see clear evidence that the administration manipulated and distorted the truth in order to conduct a war it knew it wouldn't get popular support for otherwise. Wether or not the war was just or ultimately positive, selling it to the citizens of america on false premises is a problem. Reminding the country that people died, and continue to die, as a result, is entirely reasonable. -k]

RE: Bush photomosaic of American dead in Iraq

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