Monday, November 17, 2003

Maybe if we ignore them they will go away?

The White House has adopted a determined strategy of keeping Bush from being connected to the messy parts of the war. This is a Vietnam lesson misunderstood. The Bush people apparently believe it was the pictures of body bags, not the fact of them, that caused public opinion to shift on the war. But the out-of-sight tactic is showing the commander in chief as callous and indifferent to our deployed soldiers and their stateside families.

Unlike Presidents Reagan, Bush I and Clinton, who all attended memorial ceremonies for troops killed in overseas terrorist attacks, Bush II declines to be present at services for soldiers who have died in Iraq. The pictures wouldn't be helpful.

This tight control over news includes renewed enforcement of a policy closing the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and the air base at Ramstein, Germany, to reporters and cameras when the caskets arrive, and a refusal to give daily accounts of soldiers wounded in clashes where there are no fatalities.

Haven't you noticed how sanitized this war has been? We have seen no pictures of our men and women returning with limbs gone and other disfigurements. The wounded are kept cloistered at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and at Fort Stewart, Ga.


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