Is there any reason why icons aren't enabled in menus by default? I don't see why they shouldn't be--it doesn't violate the GNOME hig. (In fact, icons in menus are shown in the gnome hig as an example.) It also seems like enabling icons in menus might have some advantages, like reinforcing the association between the icons and what they represent.
On our side, there differing opinions on this issue. I personally like
clean menus and the potential it brings for getting rid of rarely-used
Iirc, Mirek was very much in favour of icons in all menus.
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For the interests of others, under Debian 7 + LXDE this appears to be controlled via: Preferences > Customise Look and Feel (i.e., LXAppearance) > Other tab > "Show images in menu" option. From memory, this is on by default.