Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photographing the War Dead: Is It Honoring or Disrespecting Them?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA said that he may reconsider the ban on photographing the caskets of service men and women who died in combat.

In place since 1991, the ban has been denied the public the ability to witness the "dignified transfer of remains."

Some argue that politics is in play - showing the coffins will turn the public against the war. Others argue that allowing the press to document these transfers disrespects the service these soldiers provided, and it is an intrusion on the family's privacy.

Should the media be allowed to document the return of our deceased soldiers?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The media should document the photos. I think the big issue is that the government doesn't want to remind the American people that they are at war and the real price of war. And I think its more disrespectful to hide the deaths of soldiers who gave their lives to their country.

Cynthia Gallegos

Anonymous said...

The only reason it is labeled.. disrespectful is because the u.s goverment doesn't want to look wrong. They are sending men and women out there to die. I support the the strengths and fear these soldiers have. Most of the soldier don't even know what the fuck their doing out there they just do it and trust the fucked up United States military. YES take photos all day long and rub it in the pride of the "american people"

Michael Gaudini said...

I believe the media should be allowed to document the return of deceased soldiers -- whether or not a media source runs said photos should be a decision left up to each particular media source to decide for themselves. These photos are definitely newsworthy -- the story is timely (our troops are still dying in Iraq), relevant (this is our army), prominant (the war is a prominant event), impacting (I think most people know someone who is or has been a soldier in Iraq), appeals to human interest (these are our soldiers dying there), proximity (not geographically, but the men and women there are our friends, neighbors, and family members), unusual (in that the flag draped-coffins have been banned and not seen, making them an unusual sight for everyday citizens), and obviously it fulfills conflict on various levels (such as the war itself, and the emotional conflict of the surviving soldiers and the families of these dead soldiers are facing). Also, I believe the consequences of this war should be clearly shown, in order to provide a more rounded picture to audiences, so that they might have more information with which to formulate a valid opinion.

-Michael Gaudini

Cait Berry said...

I feel that the media has a right to document the pictures of fallen soldiers and that the public should have access to them. I agree with other people who pointed out that perhaps the real reason behind the ban is to 'hide' the war from the public. The pictures remind people that there is a war going on and that Americans are dying oversees. They have the right to the information and hopefully it will create a discussion on whether or not they want thier sons and daughters involved in this war.
The media's use of the pictures is not disrespectful to the deceased or thier familes. They are not showing personal photographs of the individuals and are not invading any privacy rights.

Jessica Lopez said...

Of course the media should be allowed to document the return of deceased soldiers. If the "so-called" objective of journalism is to document and seek the truth, then taking these pics should be allowed. Politicians and some people need to stop sugar-coating serious issues like the war. If the public cannot see the effects and total destruction and death that accompanies war, then people will continue to take war, serivce men and their freedoms for granted. We are hipocrites if we can be at peace about reading what happens to our enemies, but not taking it when it comes to our own soldiers. My boyfriend is a marine and I'm already aware of the dangers, and I can say him and I would personally feel disrespected and neglected by the media if they didn't acknowledge the casualties of war because people need to know the whole deal instead of just listening and following spoken and prepared accounts of the war from t.v. A picture is indeed worth a thousdand words.
- Jessica Lopez

Anonymous said...

The media should be allowed to document the return of our deceased soldiers. The American people should know the consequences of the "war" others are fighting on our behalf.

-Patti Bruno

Tori G. said...

I agree that these photos document the price that is being paid for this war. Though there are numerous stories about our being there, we often times forget what makes us uncomfortable. It is a journalist's duty to show what is going on, to document every aspect of this conflict. Perhaps the more truth and harsh reminders that are shown, the more people will rise up to bring these people home. That all being said, I also believe that if a family decides they do not want their deceased relative's coffin to be used in media, they are well within their rights to request that it not be shown, if able.

-Victoria Greco

Alexander Narita said...

Americans should be able to be informed about what is going on out in the war in Iraq part of this information is photographs, no photographs should be censored that would provide the public with information about the soldiers.

Emily Hunter said...

I absolutely think it should be allowed. Yes, it's upsetting but it is also the respect these soldiers deserve; we should know what they are giving up for our country.

Anonymous said...

I think that the media should be allowed to show the pictures. People in this country need to acknowledge the sacrifice that our soldiers make and the horrors that come with waging war. I hope it helps people understand that war is a last resort.

Anthony Brown

Anonymous said...

The dead soldiers could be disrespected depending on how the photos are used but then again we do live in a free society correct? The photos could also end a war that in its own way is disrespecting our armed forces by sending them to the slaughter for no reason. We need to value the soldiers for committing his or her life to serving our country but we need not respect the government who had wrongfully sent them to their death in the first place in the name of "national security."

If it is in a public space then the photos are legit.

Chris Diehl

Amanda DiStefano said...

Who disrespects a picture of a coffin in most serious cases? I agree with what my classmates are saying about how they government does not want people to be "anti war" and that the picture hurts the government agenda, not the deceased soldiers.

Amanda DiStefano
(current Journalism and Society student)

Daniela Stetser said...

The media should be able to document the return of our deceased soliders. Honestly, when pictures are forbidden tobe taken it seems as if there is something to hide or even more be ahamed of. Citizens of the United States need to see what the men and woman of our miliarty and there families give up.... Their families, friends, and lives. I understand that it is a lifestyle choice that these individuals make, but I think sometimes we take for granted the freedoms that, as a society, we have come accustomed to and the reality is... we have our freedom beacuse of the soliders who sacfrice their lives.

Stephanie Klock said...

In war soldiers are dieing for their country. That is a fact everyone realizes, whether or not they accept it. These pictures have the right to be printed. Because it is reality and people deserve to see every piece of reality in the war we are fighting now.

Anonymous said...

Dover is an U S Air Force base, not a public area.
The problem lies with certain types. Certain types that would use the photos for an agenda e.g. an anti-war photo op. That is wrong. That is why I am against Dover being opened to photo ops.
Paul Klein

Brittney Corridean said...

I think that the media should be able to document the soldiers. Why not? If it turns people against the war it's turning them against the truth. Photographing the soldiers I don't see as being disrespectful. If anything, it creates awareness of their death and can bring fourth other people to respect and admire what these men do and risk on a daily basis.