July 08, 2005
The background of this image is created by the names of about 1,700 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq between March 21, 2003 and June 13, 2005. The names are in alphabetical order, with half the names on the front, and the other half on the back. The names are small, but easily read without magnification.
I think of this product as both a scathing indictment of George W. Bush and a memorial to the brave young soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq on behalf of their country. Perhaps someday they will get the memorial they deserve in Washington. Until then, this will have to suffice.
This t-shirt is not a monument to soldiers; if it were, the Bush slur would have been left off. You made this t-shirt for selfish reasons, as you admit later. Don't even try to sugarcoat it.
Bush is most famous for lying about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was this lie that arguably was most responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, not to mention thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
But Bush has lied in many other areas as well, from denying global warming to boasting about an improving economy that is actually on the skids. His lies are legion, and have spawned a cottage industry of books including The Lies of George W. Bush by David Corn and Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them by Al Franken.
Blah blah blah. If you want to make an anti-Bush shirt, do it. Just leave the fallen soldiers and their families out of it. Putting their names on your shirt implies that they support the message you're peddling for twenty bucks a pop...
I want to acknowledge that a number of relatives of fallen soldiers have contacted me to express their displeasure (or disgust) with the products I sell that bear the names of their loved ones.
Uh, gee, ya think? I know a few of those names, and I'm disgusted; can you guess how disgusted their wives and mothers and brothers are?
I admit that I did not contact the families of soldiers to get their permission. This would have been a monumental exercise, and would no doubt have proved impractical given the differing opinions among various family members.
It would've been too hard and most of them would've said no, so I just went ahead and did what I want regardless.
Of course, this product is not meant to be a statement on behalf of the families or the fallen soldiers. It is a statement on behalf of those who believe that this war was a tragic and terrible mistake -- and not an innocent mistake.
Ah, there's the selfish reason. You didn't make this t-shirt as a monument to the fallen, as you claimed in the beginning of your justification. You made it to prove your own point, using the names of people who don't agree with you and probably would like to punch you in the face if they ever met you. Hope you feel good about that.
I should also like to point out that many of the soldiers who died in Iraq believed that they were fighting for democracy. Democracy is built in large part on freedom of speech. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects these products, and all such similar examples of free speech.
Why does this remind me of the South Park commercial against Harbucks Coffee? ("It's time to stop large corporations. Prop Ten is about children. Vote yes on Prop Ten or else you hate children. You don't hate children, do you?") If you don't like this shirt, well then you must not believe in democracy and free speech and stuff. Oh, and you're disrespecting your husbands because, naturally, they would've fought to the death for my right to make this t-shirt. Isn't that how the saying goes?
Finally, I would like to express my sincere condolences to all of those who have lost loved ones in this war. No matter what they believed, or which side they were on, those who died will be missed.
Dan R. Frazier
In the end, as disgusted as I feel that Mrs. Sims knows her husband's name is on a shirt that makes her sick, I'm sure that the owners of these shirts will someday be ashamed. When Iraq is on her feet, as Germany and Japan are today, these shirts will have been burned or hidden. I'm confident that history will justify CPT Sims, not Dan Frazier.
Nonetheless, I send my condolences to all of the spouses, parents, and siblings of those whose names appear on this nauseating t-shirt. I know this shirt is not in our name.
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