April 24, 2004

Atavistic emotions

REMEMBER, when you hear the press complaining about not being allowed to photograph coffins arriving at Dover AFB, that there are lots of pictures of coffins and funerals and grieving loved-ones available...

I see them almost daily at Army Times. I have the Frontline Photos page bookmarked. I recommend it. Many are wire-service photos, available to any newsmedia.

A caisson carries the casket of Cpl. Torrey Stoffel-Gray
A caisson carries the casket of Lance Cpl. Torrey Stoffel-Gray in a procession through Patoka, Ill., on Monday. The 19-year-old Marine was killed April 11 by hostile fire in Iraq’s Anbar province. He was stationed at Twentynine Palms, Calif
Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch / AP photo
So why don't we see more things like this? And what's the big deal about Dover?

Dover AFB is where large shipments of coffins with our war dead arrive. They are then forwarded to various localities. The press wants to show coffins en mass because they think it will help their party in the next election by causing Americans to lose heart. (A side-effect like undermining their country in time of war is too trifling to worry about.)

And they are not too keen on pictures like the one above, because they suspect that those waving flags might betoken strange atavistic emotions they don't understand. (Sort of like the "I don't know what it is but I'm sure I don't like it" response of so many Hollywood types to The Passion.)

I think the press seriously underestimates the American people, and how we will respond to the price of war. Picture of coffins arriving at Dover would not have the effect they hope for

* Gerard Van der Leun thinks Dover is preferred because it's near DC, and the press is lazy. To get the real stories ...would entail a long series of assignments in the small towns and dusty backwaters of America. There would be lots of short hops on small commuter airlines, many nights in Motel 6, many days in cheap rented cars, and a host of meals snatched at Waffle Hut...I lead a sheltered life here...I've never even encountered 'Waffle Hut."

Posted by John Weidner at April 24, 2004 8:48 AM
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