View Full Version : America's Dead Arrive at Dover.

04-22-2004, 11:35 AM
America's Dead Arrive at Dover. (http://www.drudgereport.com/dover.htm) /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

9 Ball Girl
04-22-2004, 12:25 PM
I clicked on the link, read the article and saw the pictures. Very moving. But then I got this too:

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04-23-2004, 03:08 PM
This picture was taken by Tami Silicio, 50, who worked the night shift at Kuwait International Airport, loading cargo and doing paperwork for a company hired by the U.S. to ship supplies to and from Iraq. The cargo for this early April flight included more than 20 coffins, and Silicio recorded the scene with her digital camera.

But the Defense Department had barred photographs and news coverage of homecoming ceremonies for dead U.S. service members. So, Silicio and her husband, a co-worker, were fired Wednesday by their employer, Maytag Aircraft Corp.

"I took that photo from my heart," Silicio told a close friend, Amy Katz, this week when it appeared likely she would be fired. "I don't care if they send me home or if I have to work for $9 an hour the rest of my life to pay my mortgage."

Silicio had sent the picture to Katz, who forwarded it to The Seattle Times without asking her permission. Silicio has maintained that she took the picture and allowed it to be published with her name attached or in a photo credit to reassure families that soldiers who die in Iraq are honored by those who handle their remains. She was not paid by the Times.

"I let the parents know their children weren't thrown around like a piece of cargo, that they instead were treated with the utmost respect and dignity," Silicio told Katz. Silicio forwarded an essay by Katz that included Silicio's comments.

William Silva, president of Maytag Aircraft Corp., said Thursday that Silicio and her husband, David Landry, were fired because, working together, they "violated Department of Defense (news - web sites) and company policies" by photographing and publishing a picture of the caskets.

Silva, whose company is in Colorado Springs, separately told The Seattle Times that Silicio and Landry "were good workers, and we were sorry to lose them."

Meanwhile, a Web site published hundreds of photographs of American war dead arriving at the nation's largest military mortuary, prompting the Pentagon (news - web sites) to order an information clampdown Thursday.

The photos were released last week after activist Russ Kick filed a Freedom of Information request that initially was denied but then granted after he appealed. Kick put more than 350 photos on his Web site, prompting a Pentagon ban on the release of more.

More than 700 American servicemen and women have died in the Iraq war, including at least 100 in combat this month.

Just before launching the war to oust Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), the Defense Department reiterated its ban on all news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing from" Air Force bases in Dover, Del., Germany, and "interim stops," such as Kuwait. That included formal ceremonies of coffins being borne off airplanes by honor guards.

In Iraq, the Pentagon's decision to "embed" reporters with individual units gave the media unprecedented access to a war. But the ban on coverage of caskets has provoked sporadic debate in the media and government about whether the Bush administration has censored important images of war.

The Seattle Times did not offer to pay Silicio for the picture and "she didn't want any money for it," said David Boardman, the paper's managing editor.

"It's of course unfortunate that she has been fired," he said. "She certainly didn't intend it [the picture] to be some sort of [an] anti-war emblem."

Silicio has since allowed a photo agency, Zuma Press, to distribute it to news organizations and has told the agency she intends to donate earnings from the picture to charity.

The mother of five sons, the oldest of whom died of a brain tumor when he was 19 and the youngest of whom wants to join the Marines, Silicio began driving delivery trucks in the late 1980s for her brother-in-law's event-planning company in the Seattle area. She also has a license to drive 18-wheelers.

Before the Iraq war began, Silicio went to Kuwait as a military contract worker and returned to the U.S. in March 2003. After struggling to find a regular, well-paying job in the Seattle region's sluggish economy, Silicio went back to Kuwait last October for a yearlong tour with Maytag Aircraft, said her sister, Toni Silicio-Prebezac of Edmonds.

Silicio is expected to return home to Everett in a few days, her sister said.

The policy of no photos of caskets was established in 1991 at Dover Air Force Base, which handles the remains of most U.S. troops who die overseas. The policy wasn't enforced strictly until the Iraq war, a Defense Department spokeswoman told The Washington Post last October.

Previous administrations were not consistent. President George H.W. Bush allowed media coverage of dead Americans returning to the U.S. from Panama and other conflicts but banned it at Dover during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The Clinton administration released photographs at Dover after the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole (news - web sites).

John Molino, the Pentagon's deputy undersecretary of defense for family policy, told Newsday on Thursday that his office was not involved in the firings.

Kathy Moakler, deputy director of government relations at the National Military Family Association, told Newsday that ensuring privacy of the families is paramount.

"At the devastating time [of loss], being sensitive to the families is what needs to be done," she said.

Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, said,"That plane and those coffins and the soldiers are the property of the citizens of the United States of America." Silicio's photograph "was not a breach of national security," he said. "This was a breach of the Bush administration's notion of public relations."

The picture was made public after Silicio e-mailed it to her family and to Katz, a close friend since both women worked for a military contractor in Kosovo during the 1999 NATO (news - web sites) peacekeeping operation.

Silicio's photograph "can't help but take your breath away," said Barry Fitzsimmons, a Seattle Times photo editor. "No matter what side of the fence you're on, pro or against any war, it's overwhelming to see that many coffins lined up, all at one time."

Fitzsimmons, who first saw the picture on April 8, said he and Silicio discussed the possibility that she would be fired if the newspaper credited her as the photographer. The Times' computer technicians also carefully examined the image to ensure it was real.

"If the administration were more sympathetic, they would see that this is a positive thing and that the country is in support of being there," Silicio said in an e-mail Thursday.

"When our loved ones are coming home, the families want to be there with them through the media, coming the whole way home."

04-23-2004, 03:54 PM
She should get the Pulitzer Prize for those photos.


04-23-2004, 10:42 PM
I could not agree with you more Barbara.