And The Screwing Of The Military Begins

flagpresentation

With the new administration allowing the media to photograph our returning war dead.

News organizations will be allowed to photograph the homecomings of America’s war dead under a new Pentagon policy, defense and congressional officials said Thursday.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced Thursday that the Pentagon has changed its policy to allow media coverage of fallen soldiers arriving at Dover Air Base in Delaware, but only when the family approves. The current ban was put in place in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

“The president is supportive of the secretary’s decision,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, media has been forbidden access to images of flag-draped coffins returning to U.S. soil. Critics of the policy accused the Bush administration of hiding the “true cost of war.”

But Gates told reporters Thursday that speculation over the ban’s intent was of no concern to him.

“This policy was first put in place in 1991 … as far as I’m concerned, that’s ancient history and I’m not going to try to figure out the motives,” he said.

Obama asked Secretary Gates for a review of the policy earlier this month. Gates said he initially asked for the ban to be reviewed a year ago, and was advised then that family members might feel uncomfortable with opening the ceremonies to media for privacy reasons or that the relatives might feel pressure to attend the services despite financial stresses. Now families will be able decide if they want the public to witness the returning war dead.

“I think that the thing we always have to keep at the forefront of our minds…should be the families and giving them choices,” Gates said.

At least two Democratic senators have called on Obama to let news photographers attend ceremonies at the air base and other military facilities when military remains are returned to the United States. The Dover base is where casualties are brought before they are transferred on to the hometowns of their families.

Shortly after Obama took office, Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also asked the White House to roll back the 1991 ban.

The new policy, which still has some details to be worked out, closely resembles the one at Arlington National Cemetery.

This is a private military matter. The media should not be involved. But since these vultures, and those who wish to use the deaths of our brave men and women as a political tool, will never be sated until they have their full measure of blood, I say leave it up to the military members themselves. Let them sign a document that plainly states their wishes in this case and follow it to the letter. Because leaving it up to family members, whose personal feelings (and sometimes political agendas) may be very different from the deceased, is an insult to every man and woman serving.

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4 Comments

  1. It all makes me sick. I agree… leave it up to the military member.

  2. Speaking as a family who HAS received that knock at the front door,…

    Asking family members to make decisions like this can lead to deep regret later. For instance when those images of our loved ones become available to the public then the anti war crowd can use our American Heros to advance their political agendas.

    I say leave it as it is!!

    http://mssc54.wordpress.com/buddy/

  3. I like your idea of letting the military folks, themselves, make that decision, before they go to a war zone. This policy raises the specter of someone like Cindy Whatsername using the photos over and over and over.

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one easy answer to this?


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