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December 10, 2011


Dismembered and unceremoniously cremated American soldiers – anyone surprised?

by Andrea O'Connell

The story of how the US Military handled the remains of soldiers fighting in the Middle East, continues to weigh on my thoughts.

When the Iraq invasion began, in March 2003, it was supposed to be a quick in and out, over in a couple of weeks, remember?  The Great US was going to liberate the people of Iraq.  Life would be so much better for them, we were sold, I mean, told.

“W” aka George W. Bush, and the military and the rest of the liars in the Pentagon and Washington, knew Americans had a short attention span for these things.  They wanted Americans to move on to another story, and they did everything within the power of the President as a bait and switch marketing game for the gullible among us.   And, for a while it worked.

W jumped on the Marine boat looking utterly ridiculous in his soldier costume. The pomp and circumstance with the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner waving in full view, was sickening.  Anyone with a brain thought it was the most ridiculous spectacle of propaganda we’d ever seen.  It was absolutely sickening.

It was a ruse to change what Americans thought about what was really going on in Iraq.  It was pure propaganda.  Period.  And, of course, it soon became clear the Mission Accomplished was a farce – no, worse than that, it was a lie and a clear ruse to pull the wool over the collective eyes of the USA.

As the numbers of dead American Service men and women began rolling in, the callous W., et al, made sure to ban any pictures or video of coffins coming home to America.  Was that because the military was not handling the corpses with any respect or honor?   Not photographing coffins, I thought back then.  There is only one reason to keep that out of sight and out of mind, I thought.  The reason?  If those coffins were shown on the evening news it would be emotional for everyone – it would show the reality of those dying over there to people who pay attention to the news.

It could incense Americans to the extent that we asked the hard questions about Iraq.  Why were we there?  Why are we killing women and children over there?  Where are the weapons of mass destruction?  That’s why we are there – to get those weapons, right? Well, we know now there never were any weapons.

So, because the whole affair was a lie, was that why the dead were not  given the respect of a coffin with a flag?  Were the remains of the dead just dumped together – toe tagged maybe, into a bin like dead fish as they were brought back home to this country?

My intuition tells me that there were no coffins to photograph.  I have an idea that because the invasion was so expensive, the cost of ceremony over the dead was only a “nice to have” but not important enough to be a must-have.

When the rule about no photography of the coffins coming home from Iraq, it gave me an uneasy feeling.  It didn’t make sense.  Why would W and the Pentagon want to shield us from the reality of Iraq?  Could it be that the reality was not in the least bit aligned with our expectations?  Apparently so.

I would absolutely expect this country to treat its own this way.  Any government who’d defy the Geneva Convention and torture in ways so heinous, is a ruthless government.  Ruthless is our government.  Inhumane is our government.

Hell, the men and women in Iraq didn’t even have the equipment they needed to maintain their presence there.  Hummers were falling apart.  Soldiers didn’t have what they needed to do their jobs, which is why I have convinced myself that W and the Pentagon would be loath to pay for coffins, or any kind of pomp and circumstance to honor anyone. Plus, the American forces in Iraq had to be a smoke-screen to hide the real reason we were there – Money.  Contracts.  More Money. Big Contracts.   Remember Blackwater?

Sorry, I got off topic for a moment…. back to the main story.

There was a special counsel appointed to investigate the cremation and despicable treatment of the corpses.  You can find the report at this link:,%20DI-10-2138%20and%20DI-10-2734/Analysis.pdf

Here is a small piece of the report (below).  I am including this to illustrate that the military has rules about the treatment of those who died in service to his or her country.  Here’s a snippet from the report that I referenced above:

Dignified Transfer of Remains

The dignified handling of remains. Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

… the Port Mortuary is required, under AR 638-2, to process remains in a manner reflecting “the highest standards of the funeral service profession.”  ….. “[r]emains will be handled with the reverence, care, and dignity befitting them and the circumstances …..   Port Mortuary Embalmers are required to hold a state Embalmer or Funeral Director’s license; however, most states provide only general guidance or are silent on specific prohibited embalming procedures.  It also notes the military’s policy that every effort will be made to prepare the remains of personnel so that service members’ families may view them in uniform.

And then there is this, below, also taken from the report, regarding the destruction of a corpse so he’d fit in a coffin for the family viewing, and for burial.   Warning…  The below is very disturbing.

Preparation of Remains of Deceased Marine
Mr. Parsons, an Embalming/Autopsy Technician, disclosed information concerning an incident that occurred in February 2010, involving the preparation of the remains ofa deceased Marine. He alleged that Port Mortuary Director Quinton Keel determined that the remains in this case should be made viewable for identification, despite the assessment of several Mortuary Specialists/Embalmers (Embalmers) that the remains were non-viewable and should be wrapped in a full body wrap, with the unifonn placed over the body, rather than dressed in uniform?
Mr. Parsons noted that while a full body wrap was necessary, the Marine’s head and face were in good condition and would have been preserved for viewing by the family, if desired. He stated, however, that Mr. Keel instructed him and an Embalmer to prepare and dress the remains in uniform. When they were unable to position the Marine’s left arm so that it would fit into the uniform, due to massive injuries sustained in that area, they sought guidance from Mr. Keel. In response, Mr. Keel instructed them to saw off the left arm bone and place it in the right leg of the protective undergarment inside the uniform, where the lower portion of the leg was missing. Mr. Parsons refused to cut off the bone; however, the Embalmer complied with Mr. Keel’s instruction and Mr. Parsons placed the bone in the right leg of the undergarment.

I’m going to continue to dig for news about this story.

I won’t be happy until people are arrested and charged with war crimes over this and the war itself.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Dec 11 2011

    I would say I like this post, but “like” doesn’t reflect my feeling. Thanks for posting the excerpts from and the link to the report.


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