Home / We’ve Got A Crier: NYT Article on Military Negligence Is A Call to Arms

We’ve Got A Crier: NYT Article on Military Negligence Is A Call to Arms

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It suffices to say that welling up at newspaper articles is not common; at least, it’s not often heard of, and when it is, those who did not well up are likely to say, “Obviously,” wondering if the crier wants a prize for being emotional. But it did not occur to the first category to well up at the article, and in some cases, it did not occur to them to read it. This morning the New York Times published a front-page expose on the nature of, shall we say, ‘death notification,’ the process by which the families of soldiers in Iraq are told of — and led through — the soldiers’ deaths. The process, the Times has shown us, is far from uniformly positive, and the instances of discomfort and unhappiness on the part of the families appears to be far more notable than instances of satisfaction.

This article brought me to tears, at least to the extent that I could not read the article for some minutes in light of the fact that I couldn’t see, but the most startling piece of news was found, naturally, on the first page of the article, and it was not until page A8 that I momentarily stopped reading. The first anecdote relayed in the article is the following: when a man took a moment to collect himself upon hearing that his son had died in Iraq, the ‘moment’ resulted in lowering the American flag outside his house and ripping some streamers off a tree. The casualty officer, in charge of “personally” notifying this man of his son’s death, told the father, “Don’t be disrespectful,” and promptly left the area. Sounds like the makings of a good anti-war movie. Except — this is real.

[ADBLOCKHERE]The Big Brotherly force that we broadly define as George W. Bush is the force that readers are likely to blame for this grave series of negligence and errors, but ‘negligence’ and ‘errors’ are so commonplace now that we are really only willing to hear them complained of here, in the blogosphere, or on The Daily Show. It requires much less effort to sit, hear Jon Stewart speak, nod our heads, and laugh. But as the Times points out, there appears to be no organized system that can account for the unemotional, unprofessional, and unhelpful method in which the military is apt to conduct these little ceremonies. And clearly, there is nothing ceremonious about them. While the military would surely be closed off to an independent organization doing the deed for them, it would certainly be an effective program, one that you, the average citizen, whether you be pro- or anti-war, could initiate.

Sexism should be a thing of the past, but recent studies on the differences between men’s and women’s brains suggest that women might, generally speaking, be better at the task. Recall the Times article of January 19, “When Bad People Are Punished, Men Smile (but Women Don’t)”. Generally speaking, women are more sensitive. It has been proven that they have better memories of their childhood because of the emotional attachment they assign to memories. Men, on the other hand, are apt to think more rationally, and to be less compassionate. The study indicated in the above article showed that women display compassion even for murderers and rapists, but men to some extent revel in the criminals’ suffering. In today’s article, no instances of women behaving gruffly with families were noted, and when military officials were interviewed and shown to be apologetic about the system, those officials were women. This cannot be passed off as a set of coincidences.

An ominous framed photograph of a soldier hugging his small son before departing Iraq was the tear-jerker for me, because the soldier later died in suspicious circumstances — at least, his wife was not told that he was on a life-support machine, and soon after she was told that he had “gone off it” and was recovering, he died. For a more extensive list of errors, it is best to read the article itself. Allow the article to be a call to arms. The Times, though typically rather stolid, has showcased a well-written, heartfelt article (composed by a woman, no less,) and the egregious events documented in it should be an alarm bell. Don’t let the banality of the administration’s shortcomings, after six years of them, hold you back. And if you’re a man, of course, don’t let psychological studies and stereotypes hold you back either.

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About Liz

  • Nored

    In view to recent moves to errode 4th ammendment rights by giving law enforcement the right to enter your homes without a search warrant…

    Anyone who doesn’t own a gun (legally registered) is unamerican.

    Buy a gun, a new gun… have that statistic sent to the ATF or BoS. Show the goverment that you are a gun owner and have the right to bear arms.

    I don’t care if you agree or not… just do it. Send the message. If you live in NYC or DC, call your mayor or reps and tell them you need to own a weapon of your choice and to abolish those skillfully attempts to take your rights away.

    Arm yourselfs, you are Americans!

    Join the Military, learn the skills it takes to really defend yourselfs and think like warriers. I’m serious. The time is now, you may never had another chance to really defend your liberties against ALL enemies FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.

    The time is now. Read some Thomas Paine and GET A CLUE SHEEPLE!!!!

  • Arch Conservative

    Conservative stigma?

    The only people that view conservatives with stigma is [Edited] liberals. So I’ll take that as a compliment.

    So anyone who doesn’t join the military doesn’t love America SS?

  • ss

    Well shit, I doubt I’d weep if someone killed Cheney by shooting him in the face. In fact the irony might make me snort a little laugh.

    Born in ’77, huh?
    That would make you what, 29 years old?
    So why aren’t you in Iraq buddy?
    Don’t you love America?

  • cheryl

    you have to be one of the reasons why conservatives have the stigma they do…

  • Arch Conservative

    NO it was more the fact that I wasn’t born until 1977.

    And I thought it was obvios that I was being facetious about the shooting lefties comment but I am dead serious when I say that I’d have no problem with someone assassinating Hillary if she got elected Pres.

  • ss

    Archie. Thats quite a threat you just made at a computer monitor.
    Were you actually in Vietnam?
    What kept you out buddy?
    It wouldn’t by any chance be the fact that real radical lefties, like say the VC or North Vietnamese, have a tendency to shoot back would it?

  • Elizabeth


    Your compassion is certainly notable. I appreciate your perspective, but I’m hesitant to defend the casualty officers without more knowledge of what happened. Well, I guess that’s the point you’re making.

  • ss

    I’d like to say bravo for comment #4, Dave, but I can’t quite. That wasn’t a horrible personal background to fabricate about the casualty officer. The hundreds of men he’s seen die for that flag, I mean, that’s a nice touch.
    But why stop there?
    Why not make him an escapped Syrian refugee who bitch slapped that spoiled grieving dad for not acknowledging, every second and with his every breath, how lucky he was to lose a son for the greatest country in the world.
    Or you could have written a little ditty with a talking seal. That would of been fun.

  • Dave Nalle

    Elizabeth, the point is that the man’s son is not the only one who has died. I can’t even imagine the emotional state a ‘casualty officer’ is in, and I think the guy deserves some of our sympathy rather than scorn. I’d like to see what the suicide rate is among casualty officers. I bet it’s through the roof.


  • Arch Conservative

    Yes Dave……… the NYT times and all thier cronies, dispite thier lip service to thier nevereneding “caring for the troops” in reality don’t give a shit about the troops unless they can use them as political pawns to advance thier own agenda.

    The NYT and company are today’s equivalent of those who spit on US soldiers when they returned from Vietnam 30 years ago.

    SS I haven’t had a stroke yet but I’m willing to bet the degerante far left in this country will drive me to one sooner or later at wehich point I will take to shooting beligerent far lefties that cross my path as aform of therapy as to prevent any future strokes.

  • Elizabeth

    The man’s son died. End of story.

  • ss

    You know, AC, by hitting enter twice, putting an exclamation point after horseshit, and hitting enter twice again, you did manage simulate screaming


    in the middle of an argument pretty well.
    So, which stroke are you working on, buddy, no. 5 or no. 6?

  • Elizabeth

    No, I can’t ‘garentee’ it, I was being sarcastic.

    I realize saying women would do a better job of consoling grieving families is sexist, but perhaps such statements would urge men to defy the stereotype. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Clearly I can’t compete with your own anachronistic ideas. I’m just wasting my time trying to be a sexist.

  • Dave Nalle

    The first anecdote relayed in the article is the following: when a man took a moment to collect himself upon hearing that his son had died in Iraq, the ‘moment’ resulted in lowering the American flag outside his house and ripping some streamers off a tree. The casualty officer, in charge of “personally” notifying this man of his son’s death, told the father, “Don’t be disrespectful,” and promptly left the area. Sounds like the makings of a good anti-war movie. Except — this is real.

    God forbid anyone look at this from the perspective of the casualty officer, who likely served in Iraq and has probably had to tell hundreds of parents their kids died, not to mention knowing soldiers who died himself. He’s living with the accumulated guilt and depression of his thankless job, and now he’s being singled out for criticism for reacting emotionally when he sees the symbols of the nation he’s seen so many die for insulted. Only the NYT could be so insensitive.


  • Arch Conservative

    You can garentee that you know what was in Larry Summers mind when he made his remark huh?


    The fact is that there have been studies that have shown that men and women due to physiological differences in the brain may be better suited for certain intellectual as well as physical pursuits.

    You sound like one of the ignoramuses, foresaking scientific reality and intellectual honesty for the sake of political correctness and advancing your own agenda, that attacked Larry Summers Elizabeth.

    Despite your “it can’t be true unless I read it in the NYT” mentality Elizabeth, studies have proven that men and women’s brains are different in the way we percieve, process, and interpret information.

  • Elizabeth

    Although the NYT article on the study is for TimesSelect users (bummer,) I can synthesize it here by saying the study has nothing to do with intelligence. I guarantee you a) Summers doesn’t know about this study and b) was making a much graver suggestion.

  • Arch Conservative

    Studies have proven that men and women’s brains are different?

    Gee someone ought to tell the faculty at Harvard that attacked Larry Summers and called him a sexist.