In an utterly disgraceful (even for them) grab for another anti-war family dustup, the Associated Press today unleashed a story called, “Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans.”
They begin: “Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.”
These “slogan-like” names are simply the operational titles given to “Enduring Freedom,” for Afghanistan and “Iraqi Freedom” for those killed there. Apparently, the folks at AP are miffed at what they even admit is a voluntary choice of inscription:
VA officials say neither the Pentagon nor White House exerted any pressure to get families to include the operation names. They say families always had the option of including information like battle or operation names, but didn't always know it.
Of course, being the AP, they used their vast resources to find one family who apparently was upset that “Operation Iraqi Freedom” turned up on the headstone for their son who “did not want to be there”.
AP author David Pace also seems shocked that so many families have actually chosen to have the “slogans” included on the headstones to honor the service of their fallen dead: “At Arlington, the nation's most prestigious national cemetery, all but a few of the 193 gravestones of Iraq and Afghanistan dead carry the operation names.”
Of course, no AP story on Iraq casualties goes to print without an obligatory quote from a Bush-basher: “Former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam and headed the Veterans Administration under President Carter, called the practice ‘a little bit of glorified advertising’."
Wonder what Cleland, Pace and the rest of the AP think about another bit of “glorified advertising” at Arlington:
HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY, AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD