Sunday, April 25, 2004

Former Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman died a few days ago in combat in Iraq. A sad event for many reasons, one of which is that it's likely the first time many Americans had heard in months that there is still an ongoing, deadly conflict in Afghanistan. It's not as if there's anything preventing Dubya's crew from reminding people, if they wanted to. It seems they don't.

Another respect in which this is unusual is that it's a combat death which, due to the guy's former career, is getting press coverage. The military has been trying to avoid that -- by, among other things, banning photos of returning dead, explaining that policy by saying:

"Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified, said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense.

Some forms of attention are warranted. It's called respect. You might even say that trying to sweep respectful acknowledgment of the sacrifice of the troops -- like trying to sweep solemn, dignified photos of their remains under the rug -- is itself unwarranted and undignified. But accusations of disrespect are more often aimed at folks calling for the early return of some of those same troops, alive and healthy on transports.

More: in reading over this, it may come off as a slap at Tillman, which I didn't intend. What I do mean to say is that our other dead troops deserve the same attention and respect...


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