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October 14, 2006


I don't believe you are wrong. And no it's not right.

I'm not sure how this is different in kind than something like "Daisy." The big issue of the election is the war, the result of the war that most likely troubles most Americans is the number of dead American soldiers. It's an issue, and it should be an issue. Is there something specific about the iconography that's troubling?

Tim, I think it's about turning an issue of greivance into an issue of manuevering and politics. And if they are going to use flag draped coffins in an ad perhaps there could at least be some narrative with it, not simply a picture of coffins followed by a jovial encouragement to "vote!"

I'd wonder whose coffins those are and how the families of those specific people feel about Democrat X using that image to score votes.

If there is a point to make, make it, but the ad seems perilously close to the Republican 9/11 exploitation we've so often condemned.

What an outrage!

Can you belive the Democrats, or DFA, would use the fruits of our glorious war for political purposes?

This is outrageous!

Everyone knows the war belongs to the GOP and everything about it is theirs.

Many of those people, if they had not been killed in the war, might be Republicans even.

Too bad they're dead and there's nobody to speak for them now.

Wrong is probably a difficult judgement, but definately tasteless.

Brendan, this is all opinion. But I think it is definitely appropriate to use some symbol of our dead soldiers to try to stop the killing of more soldiers as soon as possible. Since Bully Bush and Rummy killed them, the only way I see to stop it, is to elect government officials who will oppose them and get the war headed in a new direction – hopefully a direction that will put an end to the war in the not to far off future.

The message leftists try to sell is "if you don't vote for us, Bush will murder you." Some of the commenters above have already done that.

So yes, this is a bad thing. If you are that blatantly dishonest, you do not deserve to run any segment of this country or any country.

If there is a point to make, make it, but the ad seems perilously close to the Republican 9/11 exploitation we've so often condemned.

I can see what you mean, but there are two responses that occur to me immediately:

1. I don't remember having much of a problem with the Republicans wrapping themselves in 9/11. It was irritating, because it was effective and a little disingenuous. It was more irritating because Dems couldn't seem to find a way to effectively counter it. If it was (for lack of a better phrase) morally wrong, that was because, in its simplicity, the use of 9/11 was inaccurate. But the WOT is/was a major political issue that is/was motivated by 9/11, and I can't see how references to 9/11 fall into the category of "must be eschewed."

2. The Republican use was disingenuous in a way that the DFA use is not. The Bush Administration and their Republican allies have caused American soldiers to be killed. That sacrifice might be valuable or pointless, but it doesn't occur absent the Bush Administration and the Republicans. You can't really say the same thing about 9/11 and the Democrats, especially as it happened on Bush's watch. But that was the clear implication of the Republican use of 9/11.

I can see arguments both ways. I can only said that if I were a candidate I wouldn't want this being done in my name.

If not, is it really appropriate to use an image of soldiers' coffins on a GOTV sticky note?

I'm trying to understand here: is it the image part that bugs you, or the sticky note part? To me it's not wrong, it's not even tasteless, it's necessary. Let's step through it:

1) The Iraq war is rightly a huge election issue.
2) The reason it's a huge issue to Americans is in large part because American soldiers are dying in Iraq in rather large numbers.
3) Those soldiers wind up in coffins.
4) Those coffins (or mockups of them) are visual evidence of the problem.
5) No particular soldier or his/her family is identified; no privacy is violated.

Therefore I see no reason other than exquisite, exaggerated fastidiousness not to use the image.

I'd agree that it wouldn't be appropriate to use the image of a particular funeral or to show particular maimed veterans (or KIAs in Iraq) without their permission or that of their families. It would be appropriate to show a military cemetery, although it would commingle dead from other wars and thus wouldn't make the intended point.

If you have an "appropriate" visual alternative that represents dead Americans from this war, out with it; it's likely to be a whole lot less riveting than this one. But even if you do, it's not right to claim a legitimate expression like this is out of bounds.

I'll admit, I've felt differently about similar stuff myself. I was once troubled by a Toles cartoon showing Rumsfeld saying some callous thing or other next to a quadruple amputee vet; I flushed to think a veteran with such injuries might see the cartoon and feel reduced to being a political hockey puck. But that was me imagining the most distressing response to the exclusion of all others, and giving that imagined reaction more authority over myself and over legitimate, pointed free speech than I should have.

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