triangler | Indy Week

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Re: “Honoring the dead

Congrats to Doug Johnston for reversing his initial plan to make flag-draped mock coffins the centerpiece of this event. They were the primary reason critics like Capt. Patrick Roberson called the planned ceremony a "perversion and exploitation of our fellow troops and loved ones' deaths" (as quoted in your column). Had Doug not included coffins from the start, the event wouldn't have been seen as a mock funeral procession. It might have still drawn criticism for the reasons you state above, but it would have changed the whole character of the event, and probably not generated such a fiercely negative reaction. The fact remains that whether to show support for your neighbor, or due to your own poor political judgement, you went on record as an enthusiastic advocate for this event when it was still all about the coffins. Five years into the Iraq War, folks who want to end it have to start asking themselves why the anti-war movement has stalled. Don't expect the general public to come around to an anti-war point of view if the only voices they hear "advocating" are politically tone-deaf and needlessly promoting counter-productive strategies that come across as disrespectful to the men and women who are fighting and dying.

Posted by triangler on 05/29/2007 at 10:18 AM

Re: “Honoring the dead

Bob, it's very patriotic to oppose the ongoing nightmare of the Iraq war. But anyone with a little common sense can see there's plenty of ways to protest without staging events like today's. If it was such a great idea, why didn't the broader anti-war movement embrace it, rev up their e-mail lists and phone trees, and make sure there were hundreds of folks there? Why did Doug Johnston meet resistance at every turn, even from people who share his goals? If his purpose was to "give to the fallen a public place of honor," (Coffins at the Capitol, May 26, N&O), great, but why stage an event with flag-draped, pseudo-coffins on Memorial Day at the state Capitol grounds, the very place and time where there's an annual military encampment and wreath laying ceremony, an already solemn military tradition of honoring the dead? No matter how tastefully done, it crosses a line, and right-wingers regularly use events like this to set back the broader anti-war cause. It was a boneheaded plan. Sorry you didn't see it that way, and instead used your column to hype it further.

Posted by triangler on 05/28/2007 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Honoring the dead

Bob, this event plays right into the hands of those who want to paint anti-war activists as lacking respect for the troops. In the Dennis Rogers column that Doug Johnston refers to above ("Not the day for protests," May 25), Rogers' very eloquent appeal directly contradicts your invitation for people to attend Monday's planned mock funeral procession at the state Capitol. Rogers backed up his opinions by noting he has attended over 20 military funerals in the past 15 months, and said, "I have seen how seriously those who wear the uniform and those who love them take military symbolism. Don't spoil their traditions with this charade." So, how many military funerals have you attended lately?

Posted by triangler on 05/27/2007 at 7:34 PM

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