February 26th, 2009
12:41 PM ET
9 years ago

Pentagon to allow media coverage of war victim coffins

Robert Gates announced the new policy Thursday.

Robert Gates announced the new policy Thursday.

(CNN) - The Pentagon on Thursday lifted its ban on media coverage of the coffins of war victims when they arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, according to a senior U.S. defense official with direct knowledge of the decision.

The coverage must be approved by families, however.

Sixty-seven percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they think the government should allow the public to see photos of caskets of U.S. troops at an air force base. Thirty-one percent of the those surveyed disagree with the decision to release photos of the event.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted February 18-19, with 1,046 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Shari, NY

    Such an exercise will bring some transparency as regards this sad issue. I am heatened to know that those grieving families who wish to remain incognito will get the respect they request and deserve.

    February 26, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. LB

    Well I think we all know why Bush didn't want this to appear on the news every day as a reminder to the general public what he was doing to this country and the service men who fight for us for the right reasons not his reasons.

    February 26, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Had It

    This is good. If the government is ashamed and has to hide our dead heros, maybe our young people should NOT be going into Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for people that have been warring for thousands of years.

    February 26, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    Now Americans can finally see the real cost of war. Young American lives.

    February 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. S.positive

    About time...

    February 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. shucks

    They should have allowed it from the very beginning. It was Bush and Cheney's way of deceiving us about the atrocities of Their war. They knew that Americans would have pulled their support of their fake war if they had seen the thousands of flag draped coffins continually being brought back homr from Iraq. Another reason they should have been held for war crimes and perjury.

    February 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Sam

    No peace for our fallen.......

    February 26, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. cheryl brooks from cali

    Why shoulddn't we see the brave men coming home on there last ride, their last march.... it's a honor just to see them. May God bless our troops. May they rest in peace.

    February 26, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Tina

    While it's a sad and gruesome thing to see this has been hidden for far too long by the former administration. It's time for America to see the true toll of this pointless war.

    February 26, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Good its about time. One thing I've never understood is why Canada broadcasts their soldiers funerals to remind people of the cost of war, while the US wants them to be invisible.

    Don't you have any pride in your soldiers? Don't they deserve to be remembered for their sacrifice with more than just words and a day thats supposedly to celebrate them (but sure doesn't seem to be so)?

    Why is it that American soldiers face unemployment, mental problems due to all the death and suffering they've seen, no medical coverage, and lack of care when they're finally done their tour of duties?

    They deserve better. Their families deserve better.

    Make it more than just words.

    February 26, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. P.O.'ed

    There is only one reason why anyone wants a picture of a flag draped coffin, and that is for anti-war protesting...a slap in the face to the poor soul laying in the coffin; to tell his family that YOU think he died for no reason.

    February 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Chris, Albany NY

    It's about time. This country needs to see what these wars have cost us. Way, way to many Americans! We should be honoring them, not hiding them.

    February 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. ran

    It is about time. The people need to see what kind of sacrifice our troops are enduring.

    February 26, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    These brave soldiers coming home have fought and died for their country. They should not be used as 'Anti-War' propaganda.
    The families don't need this invasion into their tragic circumstances.
    Of all the things to change Mr. President, this one is definitely bad change. (as are many of the ego-centered changes you have put into place so far. I am a patriot, so I know you can't destroy America, we
    just hate to see you abusing your power at the expense of reason.

    February 26, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. markens

    bush helps kill 2000 of americans. he did not allow media to cover them. that was rupliblicans dictatorship. we don't want anymore republicans in the white house. they are bad for our country.

    February 26, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. j

    This is a REAL war, with REAL casualities, dead and injured returning home each day. America deserves to be made vividly aware it. ---- Just like Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq. And get the HELL out of Afganistan. We are not going to suceed where everyone else has failed. --– For God`s sake, these people are tribal and with us out of the picture they will begin to squabble among themselves again.

    February 26, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Lillie


    February 26, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you Mr. Secretary. Americans all over need to see what the cost of war is and realize that this is not a game.

    February 26, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Debi

    Finally we are seeing the true cost of this war in lives and money.
    Obama is budgeting for the war instead of calling it emergency funding. Now his pentagon is allowing the soldiers to be honored instead of hidden.

    I hope all that supported Bush in his second election watch as these soldiers come home for one final trip.

    These are the true Americans. They stood up for their country, but were shamed by the previous administrantion by being hidden during their homecoming.

    And before you start.... yes, I do have a child in Iraq. I would not want my child hidden simply because it is bad PR for the White House.

    February 26, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Susan Nicholson

    My husband and I are both retired from the military. For me, this is welcome news. I've always held the view that the men and women who lost their lives to serve in our nations military, DESERVE public acknowledgement. Our nation OWES it to them. Regardelss of any view you hold on war, you support the people who fight the battle. Unless you served in the military, you can not comprehend what military families do or go through.

    My problem comes in where our "media" will twist, misrepresent, lay blame or report with a bias, thus creating a distraction on the real message.

    It is a somber day when any Solder, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Coast Guard member returns in a casket. ALL AMERICAN'S need to remember that these are the people who do, and will support our freedoms, here at home and abroad. They are the best trained, led, and equipped force in the world. Give them the respect they deserve.

    Just because you may disagree with the war, doesn't mean you don't support the people who fight the battle.

    February 26, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Larry Houston TX

    It's about time.....They used to do this, during the vietnam war...
    of course, when the repiglicans get IN, they will change it back.

    February 26, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Alt

    While I cannot say I know if this decision is right or worng, there are too many variables that I do not fully understand, in a democracy, very little should be kept from the citizens eye.

    February 26, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Everyone needs to watch the movie on HBO called "Taking Chance."

    February 26, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. ken

    I know they're all about being against the wars and hating Bush but what do the families think about this? Somethings should be left outside of politics.

    February 26, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Kim


    February 26, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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