I have been watching this post for several days now....you have opened up a very interesting topic...
In my opinion the tactics you say you have witnessed seemed to have worked as the perpetrators had planned....They outraged you, (even if in a different way than they had intended) and that, I believe was the aim and goal of those who placed the paper tombstones.
The world is not ready to listen to preachers of peace, even many of those who say they follow the tenants of the prince of peace, as you remember he was hung for preaching the truth, and so unusual tactics must be used to gain attention...
Being of the "flower child" generation I have brought forth a history of conflict protest stronger than many that might read this thread...Do you know about the Catholic priests in the Viet Nam war era (the Berrigans, Philip and Daniel) who broke into draft board, and military offices, and poured blood on draft records? That also was appalling to many people, but they got recognition by the press, who even today will not cover a peaceful demonstration unless some kind of blood flows, they especially love violence and will attend a rally in a heartbeat if a fight breaks out.
"who is to say that these people did not die fighting for what they believed in?"
Nobody is trying to say that, unless there were other signs stating that that you don't mention here...
My personal feelings are that the lawn should have been littered with many thousands more (paper notes) with the names of all the Iraqi civilians that have been caught in the crossfire...ok let me restate- hundreds of thousands of paper notes including the names of Iraqi citizens murdered by Saddam....
"But there they were, staked into the grass, like so many scarecrows to frighten the children"
and frighten the "children" is exactly what they were put there for...
But...they are not..
"Colorless, meaningless numbers on a page."
The names are brought forward in total respect, as a sign of warning....those soldiers deserve this remembrance, this dedication....Their fellows left behind must remember them....they are placed as a warning of what happens when war is chosen quickly, perpetrated by distortions and with little thought....they are honorable martyrs who swore to due their duty,this is the least that can be done for them now.
"Argue politics if you will. Protest the war, and mourn the dead - but have some decency and do not mix the two."
Those "two" Protest the war, and mourn the dead - are what those placards are all about in my opinion, they need be mixed to expose the horrors....people cannot continue to carry on normal lives in a time of war....the war press being servants of government now makes the placing of those cruel headlines on the lawn all the more important.
I am not trying to downplay your feelings about this matter, not in the least bit...your feelings are your own and they hurt no one...In actuality I embrace them in a patriotic way. You speak your opinions in an intellectual way, and by reading your post here it proves that you are able to articulate them in a respectful way....