They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jan 22, 2010


I know I may be playing with some emotional and/or moral line here, but I think lines are there to be played with and/or crossed.

In addition, this is not a rhetorical question. I want an answer.

Why is it okay for the news media to show dead Haitian earthquake victims, but not dead soldiers?


  1. I don't know that I have an answer. I grew up with Vietnam on the t.v., magazines and newspapers. They always showed the wounded and the dead. This war is never in the news. Not on the local stations anyway. I don't have cable. It is on page 8,9,10 depending on the day of the local newspaper. Public t.v. station is the only station that at the end of their news show post the picture,name,rank,age,hometown of the soldier who has been killed. If I were a parent and my child was killed I would want it shown. I think people need to know the cost of war. MANY people feel that it is private. I think every time a casket comes into Dover it should be shown on t.v. I am not talking about showing the families, but we as a public should see what this war is costing us.
    take very good care,

  2. It's less personal when it happens in a foreign country. Since Haiti has always been viewed as a sad place, I guess the sight of dead bodies doesn't qualify as too tragic for print. Michael Yon posted some dead bodies of Burmese victims of Cyclone Nargis a few years back, but if he would've posted dead troops in Iraq, I think there would have been much more serious outrage. Just the way it is, and I'm not gonna argue what is right and what is wrong.

  3. I must agree with -M-, we are not being shown the true cost of this war. It's not only the cost of a soldier's life, it is the high cost of an entire family when a soldier is killed! Does America think of the empty seat at Thanksgiving dinners, the Christmas tree filled with ornaments made by these soldiers when they were somebody's little boy? I think it is terribly sad how ignorant most Americans are regarding this!
    If I may add my own small much as I think it is a wonderful gesture that we can mail care packages to Haiti for free...why can't we do the same for OUR soldiers serving so far from home? Instead, USPS has introduced new forms, which are the biggest pain in the a$$! It's a good thing my postmaster and I are buds, he allows me to lie through my teeth as I fill out these ridiculous forms...oh my, I feel a post coming on.......


  4. My personal feeling is if something were to happen to me on the battlefield I would prefer that my family not be xposed to pictures in the press. I feel the same as well not showing the flag draped coffin arriving in Kobenhaven, DK or our home post. I've been to & seen the ramp services & have seen them published & that's ok as long as their families are ok with it, just something I wouldn't want for mine. As to the press showing dead Haitians, also don't think this is very honorable & shouldn't be done even if it sells some airtime or newspapers. Don't think your average person wants to see this stuff. I've seen the casualty #'s mount, I know what a dead body looks like, don't need to see pictures. There is no respect for the dead anymore around this world. We're all just #'s.

  5. There are lines to be crossed... let me give it a go.

    Non-combatants retain the right to life (from a moral and academic standpoint) as they have no intention of taking that right from others... whereas soldiers, through the act of becoming a willing participant to impose on, and revoke the rights of others, specifically the right to life, knowingly forfeit their right to their own lives as they put themselves in danger (as do their enemies). Not to say that soldiers have no right to life, but the job itself holds the assumption that if a soldier is killed in battle, it was within the guidelines of the job description. Doesn't really make it right, it's just a characteristic.

    Civilian casualties are not part of the plan. No war (unless you want to say that the planet declared war on Haiti, which seems absurd) occurred to cause these deaths. This event was not a government sanctioned action, supported (even if in the minority) by some group of people and carried out with a specific goal in mind.

    Earthquakes (and other "natural disasters), I would suspect, are indifferent to how many people they kill.

    Because the event had no social, political, or economic agenda, I think the media (and their viewers) look on with the objective point of view that holds no judgment of fault. (pardon the pun but... ha!) Because it is a human tragedy without humans to blame, showing the dead may be acceptable because people are not the ones who caused it.

    You can't hate mother earth for picking her wedgie and killing 200,000 people... but you can hate a specific race or country for killing your sons and daughters.

    You show dead civilians on that island and the world cries with sadness, donates people and money to help, and accepts there was nothing they could do.

    You show dead soldiers in the desert and the world cries because 100% without a doubt there was something they could have done to prevent it.

    It's all about the blame.


  6. Mud Puppy,

    I'll weigh in here. It's disrespectful to show either the soldiers who fight for their country and it disrespectful to show the Haitian civilians.

    And, I must respectfully disagree with AM on showing the true cost of this war. Might I remind everyone we lost 6000 soldiers KIA and WIA on D Day. Unfortunately we are a country that is getting soft in the belly and soft in the heart. One need only to go to a military funeral in their local to see the true cost of war, any war. The friends, the family, the loved ones. Once you do this you will know the true cost of any war.

    The media is being disrespectful and only trying to sensationalize and make up for their lack of jouranalism skills, IMHO, of course.


  7. I'm late posting this but did have one commeng I wanted to share. I have a son and a son-in-law in the military. If either one should be killed in battle I do not want the news media sensationaizing it just so they can sell papers or increase ratings.