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Didn't take too long for Harper to scare the pants off me

catilyst

TRIBE Member
Tories keep media away from coffins
Apr. 24, 2006. 08:31 PM
CANADIAN PRESS


OTTAWA — The Conservative government has taken steps to keep the public from seeing images of flag-draped coffins when fallen soldiers are returned home from Afghanistan.
For the first time since the Afghan mission began, the government will shut down an Ontario airfield when the remains of four soldiers killed over the weekend are returned Tuesday.

Government officials said the new directive is permanent.

It echoes a policy attempted by the Bush administration. Concerns that a stream of images of coffins draped in the Stars and Stripes would diminish public support for the Iraq war prompted the White House to impose a publication ban.

With Canadian public opinion evenly divided on the Afghan mission, it appears the federal government may have similar political concerns.

The move comes after Canada suffered its worst one-day combat loss since the Korean war, when four soldiers were killed last weekend in a roadside explosion.

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor insisted politics had nothing to do with closing the Trenton air base for Tuesday’s return ceremony.

“I have made the most appropriate decision during this most emotional time for the families,” O’Connor said.

“The repatriation of our fallen soldiers back to Canada is a private and solemn event between the families and the Canadian Forces.”

Senior government officials said the decision to restrict access to CFB Trenton was O’Connor’s.

But other government sources said the edict came directly from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, and that defence brass were ordered to keep the media at bay.

A source at the Department of National Defence said that the request for privacy did not come from the military, and flew in the face of longstanding Canadian Forces practice.

Canada’s death toll in Afghanistan has reached 17, and Conservative government officials fear the mounting casualties could present a political problem.

The government took a pounding from the opposition Monday for ending the Liberals’ recent practice of lowering Parliament Hill flags when soldiers are killed.

Liberals called the move “callous.” And they said the decision to restrict viewing of soldiers’ caskets was unprecedented for a Canadian prime minister.

“He has lifted a page from the Bush book and borrowed the Bush modus operandi,” said Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh.

“Dare I say president Harper is following in the footsteps of President Bush?

“(He wants the tragedy) out of sight, so that possibly it might remain out of mind.”

MP Robert Thibault, who supports the Afghan mission, said an increasing body count is no reason to stop lowering the Peace Tower flag or shield Canadians from the human cost of the conflict.

But Conservative MP Brian Pallister said the situation in Afghanistan has changed, and so must the government response.

Canadian soldiers are “closer to the action” that at any time in recent years, he said, and the impact of casualties returning home must be taken into account.

“That really is the challenge in this: how do you give credit and honour those who made a sacrifice, on the one hand, without hyping the fear of more casualties in the future in the minds of Canadians?”

On the weekend, retired major general Lewis MacKenzie predicted ``an adjustment in the political reaction” given the increasingly likelihood of more frequent casualties.

“You don’t have to have the entire symbolic leadership of the forces and the nation for the fatalities coming back,” said MacKenzie, a one-time federal Progressive Conservative candidate.

“I don’t know how you scale back the media,” he added.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Co...ageid=968332188492&col=968793972154&t=TS_Home

This is so bad. His handlers obviously know about how the left wing and reluctant ex-liberals/ndpers looking for change see him as too close to Bush style politics. The fact that they flaunt this fear and do something like this tells me they really aren't worried about the optics. Just pressing ahead boneheadedly.



cocksucker
 

dj domain

TRIBE Member
Just pressing ahead boneheadedly.

you really think that? you think harper and the cons are doing this because they are stupid?

did you also think that announcing their plans for ssm the first day of the election campaign was stupid? did you think harpers bbq trip was stupid? did you laugh when people suggested the cons might actually win the election? after all the times they surprised everyone, do you still believe they are doing this because they don't understand what they are doing?

do you really think that the cons don't know they are in a tight situation, with barely a minority government, and they need to watch their every move?
 

litespeed

Well-Known TRIBEr
I dunno... I think trying to keep things under wraps like that makes it look like they have something to hide and aren't being forthcoming with Canadians.. I personally support the mission to Afghanistan... but I think it would be better for the conservatives if they played up the celebrating the dead as hero's angle.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
catilyst said:
Canada’s death toll in Afghanistan has reached 17


Call me when it hits 1,000 and I'll consider it significant. 17 is nothing and we all know it. I just don't have an issue with limiting anything involving the coffin to the familes choice. If they want pictues of it covered in a flag to be in the media they can allow the cameras in at the wake and funeral, if not its none of our business outside of name and rank.
 

Onthereals

TRIBE Member
I know that 4 Canadians recently died in Afghanistan, and that was a big blow, but with a total of 16 deaths I think that the conservative government is going overboard with not showing the coffins since the death tally is relatively minor. It causes more of an uproar to block it than it does to let them be shown, unless Harper thinks that there is going to be an upswing of deaths. But with only 16 so far, I do not think its necessary. In that case, its almost like he wants to emulate Bush with his PR strategies, even when the scenarios are completely different. (16 compared to 2300+?)

I also dont like how the minority conservative government is bullying the opposition to try and block any of their policies since they know they cant, so its too bad that they are using the threat of a non-confidence vote for their favour. Since they know that no one would want another election to happen this soon.
 
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Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
But they're not denying the deaths, this is a matter of not allowing news cameras at private services that simply don't involve us in the slightest.

I really didn't have an issue with Bush doing this, so I obviously can't have an issue with Harper doing it. But I think its been way blown out of proportion. The vast majority of us wouldn't be able to tell you how many soldiers carry a coffin it has simply never been significant in past.

I also don't believe that the PM should attend any of the funerals involving war dead.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
But they're not denying the deaths, this is a matter of not allowing news cameras at private services that simply don't involve us in the slightest.
Reducing media exposure to these events (or any event) is an easy way to minimize the distribution or impact of information that is seen as "undesirable". This is, in fact, more insidious than denial because denial requires that the government be questioned in the first place.

Additionally, since when do the effects of war not involve us in the slightest? Do you think that only certain facets of the war are real, and others are not?


By the way: The Gulf War Never Happened
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
Reducing media exposure to these events (or any event) is an easy way to minimize the distribution or impact of information that is seen as "undesirable". This is, in fact, more insidious than denial because denial requires that the government be questioned in the first place.

Additionally, since when do the effects of war not involve us in the slightest? Do you think that only certain facets of the war are real, and others are not?


Adding media to these events in the first place was the un-natural portion. The fifth estate need not be involved in each and every aspect of all matters. We have agreed that the fifth estate has no right to take pictures in our courts, we have agreed that the fifth estate must protect the names of juvenile offenders and victims.

We do not allow the media to be involved in most aspects of the military to not allow them access to funerals. Yes all those against the war salivate like dogs at the ability to use these images to there benefits regardless of the families wishes but I feel no need to allow them the privilege.

If you want images of coffins carried by men in uniform hire them and stage it yourself. If you want images of specific soldiers get there families to record the event for you and hand over the tapes. Just as government has limits to what it gets to have access to so does the fifth estate.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
Reducing media exposure to these events (or any event) is an easy way to minimize the distribution or impact of information that is seen as "undesirable".
On the other hand, are we giving disproportionate coverage to these particular victims (or heroes if you wish) simply because they happen to be part of a conflict with relatively few casualties? Covering a couple of funerals every month is logistically possible, but what about those conficts were hundreds of Canadian soldiers died?

I think every Canadian soldier who dies for our country is worthy of the same recognition whether they were killed on the beaches of Dieppe or by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. That's why we have Remembrance Day. To recognize all soldiers in all conflicts because each one made the same sacrifice.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
can we stop calling soldiers hero's they aren't. And if they are then the people who shot our guys dead are technically the hero's
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Here's a better question: should the government have the right to dictate what media exposes, and what it does not? I thought you right-wing neo-con baby killers believed in a free market? You know, where supply and demand could operate free of government intervention...
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
I think a soldier's activities are so critically integrated in the national public's interest, that even their funerals should be publicly accessible.
 

Shug

TRIBE Member
I think it's in bad taste... and yes, a page stolen from the political playbook to the South.

Harper is strong-arming politics. Let's hope the other parties aren't pussies, and do something about it.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
im not sure how i feel about this.

a few things though:

up until the last liberal goverment the flag was not flown at half mast since WW2 and Korea when troops were killed.
if this is true then it was the liberals who added this feature, had the conservatives broke tradition to fly the flag at half mast, im sure many would simply argue this was wrapping one's party in the flag and trying to elicit a false sense of patriotism.

(but i cant find formal proof the libs were the first to do this, i think rex murphy made a comment about this)

w/ respect to funerals:

i dont get if the family has a say in media coverage or not. did the family get a chance to decide or did the cons pre-emptively decide not to show the caskets.

i do find it odd our fascination with seeing the body, why are we so bent on seeing the casket as some sort of "hitting home' that we have troops on the ground. we are exposed to if we choose the most gruesome images imaginable of actual war footage shot by profesional and amateur photographers in the war zones.

CBC even has a blog of a Master Corpral stationed in Afghanistan right now never mind all the blogs out there by troops and military people who can share their indept view points on the war that the average layman may not have been exposed to pre-internet.

this brings up its own problems of oversaturation, desensitization and the validity of info from blogs or general opinions. but this obession with seeing the caskets is an odd one from the media who i believe are just looking for a chance to knock the conservaitves and using reverse logic would decry exceissive images of caskets as fodder for a pro-war sentiment, for increasing military budgets and our military agenda non?
 

Vincent Vega

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
Reducing media exposure to these events (or any event) is an easy way to minimize the distribution or impact of information that is seen as "undesirable".
Keith, you're right. But: wouldn't you agree that the anti-war movement itself has a vested interest in increasing exposure to these images and has in the past also tended to politicize them for the advancement of its own agenda? A flag-draped coffin surrounded by stoic young soldiers and a crying family is quite a powerful image no? Some might say it's an easy way to maximize the distribution or impact of information in its own right without actually having to make the argument.

I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to celebrate, publicly mourn or otherwise politicize every death of a soldier in combat. I haven't yet decided where I fall on this particular issue. I'm not sure what the government's role in acknowledging said deaths should be either.

A bit of a tough one.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
Reducing media exposure to these events (or any event) is an easy way to minimize the distribution or impact of information that is seen as "undesirable". This is, in fact, more insidious than denial because denial requires that the government be questioned in the first place.

Additionally, since when do the effects of war not involve us in the slightest? Do you think that only certain facets of the war are real, and others are not?
Preventing the images of coffins is a well-known propaganda technique developed by a PR firm in New York. It prevents the population from associating images to the numbers of deaths they are learning about. It allows the government to continue using our military--OUR military--without our permission and ostensibly without our dissent.

Ultimately its equivalent to lying. It's just disinformation, America style
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Vincent Vega said:
Keith, you're right. But: wouldn't you agree that the anti-war movement itself has a vested interest in increasing exposure to these images and has in the past also tended to politicize them for the advancement of its own agenda? A flag-draped coffin surrounded by stoic young soldiers and a crying family is quite a powerful image no? Some might say it's an easy way to maximize the distribution or impact of information in its own right without actually having to make the argument.
Yeah but the difference is that one policy reduces the amount of Canadians being killed and coming home to devastated families, while the other allows the State to continue maximising the amount of suffering inflicted upon the soldiers and their families. And for waht? Are we REALLY to beleive that this is about peace, stability and democracy. It's a load of crap. There is no democracy in Afghanistan; the country is run by the exact same people as the Taliban, they're just called something else; they're still extremely hard core Islamic radicals. Just a few weeks ago the government condemned someone to death for converting to Christianity.

THAT is what Canada is supporting. Kinda makes you feel real proud, don't it?
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
I think a soldier's activities are so critically integrated in the national public's interest, that even their funerals should be publicly accessible.
More critically integrated than a doctor's? A judge? A teacher? Certainly the nature of the profession distinguishes the death, but this media outlets leeching to sell their product, not virtuistic journalism.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Vincent Vega said:
Keith, you're right. But: wouldn't you agree that the anti-war movement itself has a vested interest in increasing exposure to these images and has in the past also tended to politicize them for the advancement of its own agenda?
Absolutely! And it totally irritates me that they'd abuse public images like that. Do you think that my argument validates their tactic?

Vincent Vega said:
I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to celebrate, publicly mourn or otherwise politicize every death of a soldier in combat. I haven't yet decided where I fall on this particular issue. I'm not sure what the government's role in acknowledging said deaths should be either.

A bit of a tough one.
My argument is that restricting its availability is undesirable. In fact, it is oppressive. How individuals intend on using such information (or abusing it) is an entirely different question. It would be akin to a court case where relevant evidence is omitted from the court room versus evidence that is omitted, but abused as a tool of propaganda by the defense. It is freedom of information that is of concern here -- information that is specifically related to the non-consensual, violent deaths of many people in a (theoretically) non-hostile community in a sovereign, foreign state. Information that is so ... significant needs to be treated extremely democratically and should remain highly available so that our decision makers are not deluded away from the realities of those conflicts.
 
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deafplayer

TRIBE Member
Vincent Vega said:
Keith, you're right. But: wouldn't you agree that the anti-war movement itself has a vested interest in increasing exposure to these images and has in the past also tended to politicize them for the advancement of its own agenda? A flag-draped coffin surrounded by stoic young soldiers and a crying family is quite a powerful image no? Some might say it's an easy way to maximize the distribution or impact of information in its own right without actually having to make the argument.
But the argument makes itself: look, people are dying
That is critical information in evaluating war

Theres nothing like the controversy over not showing mangled corpses of the enemy or their malnurished children. In our parliament and news anyway, seems more like an appeal to patriotism than anti-war. Its like they're falling over each other to out-honour our fallen.

Colm said:
More critically integrated than a doctor's? A judge? A teacher? Certainly the nature of the profession distinguishes the death, but this media outlets leeching to sell their product, not virtuistic journalism.
So? All media coverage is

You point out in those other professions their deaths aren't as relevant as soldiers (who are by definition strongly linked to death)
More importantly perhaps, soldiers' work is also far more directly and seriously the responsibility of our state and thus 'integrated into the national public's interests'
Doctors, judges, teachers do not act according to a precise, comprehensive and absolute chain of command eminating from the state; in fact no one but soldiers do that. They are exceptionally 'our responsibility'
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
More critically integrated than a doctor's? A judge? A teacher? Certainly the nature of the profession distinguishes the death, but this media outlets leeching to sell their product, not virtuistic journalism.
Those are not exactly relevant; a doctor, for example, is not engaged in ... murder! ... in other countries. What makes military deaths unique is that soldiers are carrying out violent activities in the support of a policy that our citizens purportedly uphold, democratically.

The military is just a machine regulated by the State, and as such, needs to be closely scrutinized.
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
Guys, come on.

Colm said:
Certainly the nature of the profession distinguishes the death, but this is media outlets leeching to sell their product, not virtuistic journalism.
 
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