Friday, February 27, 2009

War Coffins Ethics

CNN issued an article on February 26 that corresponded perfectly with Case 9-G out of our book that addresses the ethical issue of showing coffins of soldiers coming home from the Middle East. In 2004, three years into Iraq and Afghanistan, Tami Silicio, who helped load coffins that headed to Dover, Maryland from the Middle East, snapped a respectful photo of America’s fallen soldiers. Silicio said, “When you look t the photo, you will fill with compassion.” She sold her photo to news sources like the Seattle Times, which ran the photo on the front page above the fold. Silicio lost her job because she broke the ethical standard of taking and publishing the photo of soldier’s coffins, which was frowned upon by her employer and the government. Flash forward five years and President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates reviewed the policy and have changed the government’s stance on soldier’s coffins. Gates and Obama consulted with the military and military families on the subject. Gates said, “I have decided that the decision regarding media coverage of the dignified transfer process at Dover should be made by those most directly affected -- the families.” The announcement was made, “The Pentagon will lift its ban on media coverage of the flag-draped coffins of war victims arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware,” and will allow the press more coverage of this almost sacred transfer. I think it’s a bold move. I don’t think the government should have censored the media all this time. The coffins are anonymous and I realize the sensitivity of the families, but it instills an appreciation for life and service. If a coffin is unidentifiable, then it becomes a symbol of pride and that can be agreeable for both sides.

No comments:

Post a Comment