Sam Smith – Missing from the debate over how recent presidents have handled the families of the war dead is a cheerful fact: we are having this debate.
As recently as George Bush, there were enough war dead that most families got letters (and presumably thinly disguised form letters) rather than phone calls. Go back to the Vietnam war and imagine if Lyndon Johnson had called the famlies of each of the war dead. Assuming he did nothing else during a 16 hour day, it would take 302 days to have accomplished this with a five minute call.
In other words, the very fact we are having this debate indicates a positive change in our perception of war, including the assumption that deaths will be few enough to require a phone call to the families of its victims.