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. david

    the true cost of this war will emerge........proving that republicans covered-up the real cost to Americans.

    February 26, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Vegas

    This isn't a blanket pass for the media. Coverage still has to be approved by the families of our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.

    Hopefully, when approval is given, the media will act responsibly and not politicize these heroes.

    It doesn't matter how you feel about the war (either in Iraq or Afghanistan). What matters is that these fallen heroes are treated with the honor and respect they deserve.

    February 26, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Paul, Riverside CA

    Thank God!

    The Bush administration thought that they could just pull the wool over our eyes by hiding this.

    February 26, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. D

    If you did serve in the military, you'd know how important it is to acknowledge the bravery of our soldiers, especially if they gave their lives fighting a war. But this war, created with much deception by the Bush administration, was only being covered up by not allowing the press to cover the stories of our dead returning home to their families. Most of the people who are against acknowledging the dead probably never served one day as a soldier, or never lost a child to war. If the press was allowed to cover this story, then we will all know the price that is truly being paid, for a war that should have never taken place. We should honor and pray for all the wounded and for those who have died, not act as if they never existed.

    February 26, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Jeannette American via Canada

    The Families of course are those who will have the last say on letting the world see what they have sacrifice for all wars!

    As a child of a WWII veteran, I salute all those, no matter from what background of race or religion. My father once said, when in battle we are all one!

    Therefore, my family will always salute them!

    May their Faith give those Families the Strength they so need!

    February 26, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. John

    "the coverage must be approved by the families"

    I've seen a few GOP posts blatantly ignore this line. Pathetic.

    February 26, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Marc

    Bosworth – Read the story again please, there where it says 'The coverage must be approved by families'. Now you read it?

    February 26, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Robert

    Bush’s ban on media coverage of the coffins of war victims was an effort to MISLEAD and MISREPRESENT to the Americans, by concealing the truth, just like he fabricated the falsified the intelligence report that Iraq has WMDs.

    I cannot imagine that we had a President for 8 years, who was an absolute criminal.

    February 26, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Lexia

    Bush's "white-washed" stories exposed again.

    February 26, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Elle

    here in Canada we have coverage, but it is also up to the families on how much or how little the media covers. But we see all the ramp ceremonies before they come home
    2007 my son died in Afghanistan and i felt that the country was grieving with us. These lives should never be swept under the rug

    February 26, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. gt

    sad day, i hope all the goulish media are happy , sorry for the families who will loose there privacy,,,sad very sad

    February 26, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. J.P.

    Ah yes, and the salivating vultures in the media begin licking their chops.

    How disgusting.

    These are the same vultures that set up an odometer to tally GWOT KIAs, and then all but celebrated when it reached certain significant numerical milestones.

    Being a journalism grad and former military myself for ten years, I am still amazed at how journalists simply can't understand why service members HATE the media. It's one thing when you know who your enemy is because he wears a distinct uniform... it's entirely different when your enemy hides behind the Constitution the servicemembers defend, solely for the purpose of fragging those very military personnel.

    But I'm not that upset... "news" organizations are being hit hard with some of the worst economic times ever, as advertisers are disappearing and subscriptions dry up. Couldn't happen to a better bunch. On a positive note, the general public holds journalists in such low regard, I think lawyers have received a bump in respectability.

    February 26, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Leon

    Melissa, I completely agree. Why is it in Canada when the fallen brave are returned home, they are pictured with honor and service and driven down the 401, renamed highway of heroes, and taken down a ceremonial path to allow citizens to gather and pay respects.

    Why is it here we never show our soldiers the respect they deserve?

    February 26, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. MICK in MESA

    At last our fallen heroes can be fully recognized for their unselfish service and supreme sacrifice.
    Seeing them arrive home for their final resting place will be an honor.

    February 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Rational in Va

    The Fox media minions should really read the article before commenting.

    It's great that it now it will be left up to the families and not hidden from our citizens for a political purpose. I honestly don't know how I would deal with it if were my family going through it, but the family deserves the choice, not some politician.

    February 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    As a former Marine, and current Naval Officer, who has participated in many Funeral Honor Guards since 2004 I can assure you that this is VERY NECESSARY. We cannot go around with an unbalanced reality of the choices we make as a People. We (not I), but we elected those who carried the mantle of engaging in war (WRONG OR RIGHT, it doesn't matter), we must all be witness to this.

    You go hand a folded flag once an a while and your perception and understanding of the reality of war will change.

    Dude talking about this is sick voyeurism, shut up. This is reality. Hiding reality is sick cowardice.

    God bless my fellow servicemen and women.

    February 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. cnnnewser

    Bush hid our dead soldiers, the old "out of sight out of mind" trick was outrageous, and I'm glad our military men and women will now receive the coverage they so deserve.
    Bush and his cronies made a mockery out of our dead military men and women – they sneaked them back into the U.S. and kept the press away.
    WHY didn't the media fight this horrible policy?
    Anyway, KUDOS to President Obama and his decision to stop hiding our dead troops.

    February 26, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Amber

    For those complaining about this being "anti-war activism"–please note that there is a stipulation in the policy that the families are the deciders, in this case. If they do not wish their loved one to be shown, then they will not be shown. If they feel that the media will use their loved one as propaganda, they do not have to allow media coverage at all.

    Realistically, Obama is just giving them the choice. Please do not misunderstand.

    American Comrade–what exactly do cigarettes have to do with this story? Obama is being asked to do a lot of things that he doesn't like, and some things that he said he wouldn't. You say you would never harm someone, but if someone was holding you up at gunpoint, you might change your mind. Obama is being held to the brink by all these crises popping up, and he's only one man. Have you never lied in your life? He's one man, and human at that, trying to run a country of over 300 million people. Please give him a little credit.

    February 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. lenny

    This is wrong this the new people have no right on base and no right to take pictures of our fallen hero's. Gates should have his head served to him on a silver platter.

    February 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    My God, this man could crap little green weenies and all you idiot democrats would think he was a saint. You people make me sick. I would not want the casket of my fallen relation paraded on the evening news! Have some sensitivity people!

    February 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Wisconsin Vet

    They left in the Light, Let them return in the Light

    February 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Thomas

    For six years, we have hidden our honoured dead like they were some sort of embarrassing garbage. They were moved at night so no one can see them, like they were an embarrassment to the country. It is high time this disrespect ended.

    This not how Americans act. We can morn and feel proud of our honoured dead at the same time.

    Concealing the honoured dead, under auspices of claiming respect, is immoral and dishonourable. The honoured dead were hidden because the past administration wanted to hide them from the public.. the same way you hide garbage from your neighbours.

    Our honoured dead deserve to be brought back in to this country as a precious reminder of the terrible sacrifices they made. Yes, seeing the coffins will make some sad, make others proud, but should make everyone consider the horrible costs of war and think whether this war is worth this extreme cost.

    We need to stop being ashamed of our honoured dead. Hiding our honoured dead does not make the war any more acceptable. To presume so is insulting to the American citizens.

    February 26, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. pete

    Talk about politicizing the war. I can't wait for the lefties to begin their assualt on dignity.

    Armed forces personnel should sign a statement indicating they don't want their deaths politicized, then at least the circus can be minimized.

    February 26, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. pete

    The public has the right to see nothing. If I'm in the armed forces, and I don't want you to see my coffin, then you don't have the right.


    February 26, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Tina

    Now he needs to remove the no-fly-zone over Galveston so people can see the true destruction that was done by the hurricane. Funny no one seems to know about this. Another one of Bush's dirty little secrets.

    February 26, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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