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. Judy

    It amazes me that this article is only 3 sentences long, yet many apparently failed to read it:


    February 26, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Al, NY NY

    @Wake-me-when-it's-over..... Can you read?It clearly says in the article that the family must approve the coverage

    February 26, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Hector, NY

    Finally we can show people here and in the world
    why war is not the best option. We all deserve to know
    and respect those men and women who fight for freedom
    even if sometimes they are lie to (Bush politics). We all
    have the right to respect them as well as the families.
    We should share the pain together.


    February 26, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. D-MI

    I'm sorry, but the people posting here saying "OH MY GOD! THAT'S AWFUL. SICK! THIS IS ALL ABOUT PROTESTING THE WAR!"

    No idiots: that IS the war. War kills people. War kills good people as well as bad people. War kills American soldiers and it's about damn time people like you are made to justify your zeal and determination to perpetuate a war that sends soldiers with families home in little metal boxes.

    February 26, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Donny

    This is not good. We all know what the cost of war is. Unfortunately, the media will use this to further their agenda. The media is GOING to use this as anti-war propaganda. When was the last time you truste the media to be respectful> There is nothing good that can come of this. This is a disgrace.

    February 26, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. ProfJW

    This decision places it where it belongs, with the family. It is the family's right to decide if the honor of the loved one should be shared. I am sure that every American will fee the pain that the family feels when their loved one has given the greatest sacrifice for their country.
    We as American feel their pain.

    February 26, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Jason

    @ American Comrade your smoking costs $.62? let me shed a tear for your vice that brings up my medical costs when you are on oxygen or a respirator and your body is full of cancer on your death bed. STOP smoking, and you can stop paying the $.62 per pack.

    This conversation is about the freedom military families should have when it comes to the coverage our heroes get. It's not about your back-woods hissy fit.

    February 26, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Mari


    The reason Bush & Co., did not want the coffins in the news every night, is that our Nation would have risen up in protest for the lives lost!

    May GOD have mercy on Bush & the far-right when they meet Him!

    February 26, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Concerned in MA

    The families of our men and women in arms deserve privacy, dignity, and RESPECT.

    February 26, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. the idiot

    I wonder how many lives were lost while Hussein and his liberal compatriots and moveon.org were fighting the "surge." It should be up to the families. Aside from that its just a sleight of hand designed to distract us while the libs take more of our money from the Defense Department to move it in to these worthless, ineffective entitlement programs they so love.

    February 26, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Ben in Illinois

    Do you think any family will want some reporter shoving a mic in their face or a camera man zooming in on a casket?

    Contrary to popular belief, the media does not have to cover every aspect of life. We all know that people will die in war, it is understood. Are all of you who support this going to sit down in front of your tv each night and check out the coffins coming off the planes? If so, you are sick.

    These people gave their life for this country, and to better the life of another person (even if they are from a different country....GASP!) MY brothers in arms who made the ultimate sacrafice don't want to be turned into anti-war propaganda, and don't wish to be used for transparency. They died for a cause they believe in, and they don't need people who have never served to question that or use their deaths to push a personal/political agenda.

    February 26, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Erik S.

    Wasn't this policy in place long before Bush was in office? And it still must be approved by the families, not by you or the media. And who doesn't know the price of war? You just want to see the bodies so you can make a post about how horrible war is, like anyone with any common sense doesn't know it already. Well, I guess you can make your smug comments, it's not like you know or care about the person in the flag draped coffin or the families that are actually grieving, you just want to be internet tough guys and spout drivel that isn't going to effect anything or anybody, grow up.

    February 26, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    As an Army veteran, I agree 100% with the president on this issue. If I were still active duty and were KIA, I want the American people to see my coffin coming home. Watching our men & women coming home in coffins, as sad as it may be, it inspires civilians to want to join & serve. Because if you love this country, you will do whatever it takes to protect it!! May God bless the men and women of our Armed Services.

    February 26, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. military spouse

    I am grateful that they are leaving it to the families to decide. With that said, I don't think the media should be allowed to photograph these moments. It is a private and a tragedy for the families. I was horrified to hear this question posed to Obama.
    I would never want this for my husband or family members serving. How horrific.
    We already know the cost of war. One doesn't need a photograph or media coverage in this form to "prove" it.
    I am disappointed that this was ever re-visted.

    February 26, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Axl in Iowa

    You people are SICK!!!!! Why don't you just look through the obituary section in your local newspaper if your so hard-up for a funeral. I spit on you.

    February 26, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Todd

    Nothing more horrible than when the Bush administration used soldiers' coffins for political fodder.

    When war was popular, it was used to bolster patriotism.

    When war was unpopular, it was used to suppress descent.

    Horrific. Thank you, President Obama, for more transparency.

    February 26, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Jim

    You won't find too many military families that agree to this! This explotation is the worst! Like somehow showing a coffin tells the tale? BS! Let our brothers and sisters have peace!

    February 26, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Thank God. Americans need to see that war causes lives and not just billions spent on war. I've always disagreed with our government hiding coffins like our dead military men and women are something to be ashame about, that's a cowards way of doing things.

    February 26, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. blaising

    Hey! America's all grown up now...we can handle it.

    February 26, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Former Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I think this is a very good decision. The American People have been disconnected from the two wars where are currently engaged in and I think this coverage will bring it home that real, brave men and women are dying and that these conflicts should come to an end as soon and responsible as possible.

    February 26, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Steve

    To Bosworth :

    Thank you for telling it like it is. Excellent.

    February 26, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Steve, Missouri

    For goodness sakes, they're caskets not coffins!!! Atleast get the terminology right!

    February 26, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. candian pov

    We do this here in Canada with our fallen soldiers returning from Afghanistan. It connects the public to the real cost of war on a very human level. Sorry, the military is a public institution and therefore even the return of the fallen is the right of the public to know. If you don't want to see it and be reminded of the sacrifices, don't watch it.

    February 26, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Kats Meow

    Now we will see the results of what the Bush Administration has been trying to cover-up. Bush and the boys were eager to promote "their" cause at the expense of our youth, however, they didn't want the public to view at what cost "their" causes cost American families.
    Republicans from coast to coast agreed with Bush......sneaks!

    February 26, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Q

    It's not about covering up. This was not Obama or Bush's decision to make. It was the Pentagon's. I was stationed there at Dover for 4 years...and this is what I'm afraid of...people like you who want to politicize our fallen heroes. Good thing the decision is up to the families to allow media in.

    February 26, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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