Thursday, April 22, 2004

UPDATE: 'This Kind of Photo Could End the War' (See Friday, April 16 post below)

Photographer of returning flag-draped war coffins & spouse fired from their jobs!

Your secret police at work. Joe Stalin would be proud... Are you beginning to get the picture of what these words mean: "You are either with us or against us"? What hypocritical b.s. "...such photos would be insensitive to bereaved families." This kind of reaction comes straight from the top from the example of our leader who has a disgusting record with regard to being "sensitive" to our returning dead and their families.

A cargo worker whose photograph of flag-draped coffins bearing the remains of U.S. soldiers was published on a newspaper's front page was fired by the military contractor that employed her.

Tami Silicio, 50, was fired Wednesday by Maytag Aircraft Corp. after military officials raised "very specific concerns" related to the photograph, said William L. Silva, Maytag president. The photo was taken in Kuwait.

Silva declined to identify the Pentagon's concerns but said Silicio violated company and federal government rules. He declined to comment further.

Silicio said she hoped the photo of the 20 flag-draped coffins awaiting transport from Kuwait to the United States would show the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq that civilian and military crews return the remains of their loved ones with care and devotion.

"It wasn't my intent to lose my job or become famous or anything," Silicio said.

Silicio's husband and co-worker, David Landry, was also fired, but the company gave no reason for his dismissal.

Under a policy adopted in 1991, the Pentagon bars news organizations from photographing caskets being returned to the United States, saying publication of such photos would be insensitive to bereaved families. Critics say the public is being denied information by not being able to see photos of coffins coming back from Iraq.

Silicio took the photograph in a cargo plane about to depart from Kuwait International Airport earlier this month. She sent the photo to a stateside friend who provided it to The Seattle Times, which then obtained permission from Silicio to publish it without compensation.

The photo appeared in the center of the newspaper's front page in its Sunday's editions, along with an article on the war in Iraq and a feature on Silicio's job in Kuwait. It was then posted on Web sites and has been widely discussed on the Internet.

The Times reported Thursday that its decision to print the photograph was supported in most of the e-mails and telephone calls it has received.

Executive Editor Michael R. Fancher wrote about the decision to print the photograph in his weekly column in Sunday's editions and he appeared Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America" with U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Delaware, who supports the Pentagon ban. Delaware is home to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where all remains first arrive in the United States from overseas.

"Some will see the picture as an anti-war statement because the image is reminiscent of photos from the Vietnam era" of caskets with casualties arriving in the United States, Fancher wrote, "but that isn't Silicio's or The Times' motivation."

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link