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. dora-az

    As a mother I do not believe some post here, why wouldn't we want to see the realities of the cost of war. Aren't we proud anyway, to serve our country, as well die for it. I believe Bush/Chenny did a real number on us. But of course I'm just a mommie taking care of my love ones not to let this happen again. I believe we were had by them and those that are still blinded by them. Good for our Prez. Obama, transparency is what is needed in this country.

    February 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. mjm

    Now the Democrats can use these images for their political advantage. Bet they're happy. I don't think this helps anyone but them.

    Never mind that Democrats also voted to go to war, it the Republicans that are the evil ones with their low taxes that really, really wanted the war.

    Even though Obama says he was against the war while in the IL congress. He was never part of the war debate. Nobody knew who he was back then. Hell, he could say anything and we wouldn't have known the difference. I hear he voted "present" quit a bit.

    February 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Remember the Fallen...

    May they all rest in peace. They have given their "last full measure of devotion" to this nation and it should never be forgotten or politicized or hidden.

    February 26, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Larry Schlueter

    Does this mean the ignorant democrats will be out there protesting whenever one of those protecting free speach arrive from their duty. The ignorance of some people wanting to give BO credit for this is so ridiculus.

    February 26, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Kitchen Police

    Pete, Its left up to the families you moron! This was a decision reached by the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense Gates not the lefties.

    February 26, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Freed_From_W

    Good. It's about damn time. There is no justice inside a coffin, Mr. Bush. These men and women picked up and fought for all of your lies so you and your friends could make money – only to be shipped back into the country they served in a box under the cover of darkness.

    Now the American public can see the human cost of W's pet war(s).

    Now if we could only get the MSM telling the truth about his wars, then we'd have something...

    February 26, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Sabreen60

    The Iraq war was and is being sanitized. Since the public never sees the destruction and devastation the full horrific effect of the war is never in the front of our minds. I think a conscious decision was made after the Vietnam war to never show the horror of war to the American public again. During that war we saw our fellow Americans lay dead on the battle fields. During the Bush years we couldn't even see the coffins. I think we need to see what this unjustified war that we were lied into has cost us in blood and treasure.

    February 26, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. msheke

    To Bosworth u are so pathetic> u dont seem to have taken time to first go through the other comments so as to sense the feeling of other amaricans on this sensitive issue.

    I am sure it okay for you when u are seating in the safety of your home watching cable news bombarding us 24/7 with images of dead iraqis with missing limbs lying openly on street in those hot conditions, kids killed in Gaza, women and property damaged in israel, Afghanistan, innocent family hacked to death in africa e.g. Darfu. you sit at home and think that is news worth watching.

    Yet u think this move by the current administration is a publicity stunt.
    why do you think some of our allies have cut down on their personell support in this war. let me tell u my friend, it is partly because the same countries allow their citizens to understand the impact of the Illegal Bush war every time one of their solders dies.

    So my pathethic friend before u comment on any important issues first take time to read and understand the issues taking into considerations the other views. While we are on it TAKE NOTE THAT THE RECOVERY BILL AND ALL RELATED BUDGETARY DOCUMENTS ARE AVAILABLE ON LINE FOR FReeeee. SO PLEASE READ THEM. I am currently in south africa and a student of politics but i have read many of your countries legislative documents from your constitution to todays released Obama Draft Budget (first 35 pages).

    i am sure you havent. So remember my friend Knowledge is very very powerful.

    February 26, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. yuri

    Like it is said, we must not encroach upon the privacies of the war heroes' families. If the families themselves approve, a green signal, obviously, is obtained.

    February 26, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Old Sport

    I'm sure we can all trust the press to do the right thing with this new found treasure. I know that they would never slant the news to fit their story. If you require the picture of flag draped coffins to understand the true cost of war then you've never served in the military or have known anyone who has served. It is not necessery to use the bodies of these brave men and women for political purposes. Yes, that's the only reason to ask for permission to photograph teh coffins – political purposes. I know many of you who commented hate the Bush administration but don't let the hate you normally spew to infect our fighting men and women.

    February 26, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Lynne

    To "Anonymous" – Well if your loved one was killed (God Forbid) fighting for this country and you wouldn't want "the casket of my fallen relation paraded on the evening news" then you would have that choice, because as it says in the article:


    February 26, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Bill

    In Canada, the return of a soldier killed in Afghanistan is televised, first showing the honor guard as the plane leaves Kanadhar airport, then when it arrives at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario where it is greeted by military and government officials, often including the Governor General of Canada. Then the body of the fallen soldier is transported by hearse down the highway to Toronto (which has been officially named "the Highway of Heroes") where the legally required autopsy is carried out. During this final trip, the overpasses on the highway are filled with private citizens who wish to honor their fallen hero. This very public recognition of his sacfrifice is in stark contrast with the approach of the previous US administration

    February 26, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Lisa




    February 26, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Mari

    @ PETE..... you say "the public has a right to see nothing" and "if I am in the armed forces...." Well, sir, the Nation indeed has THE RIGHT, TO SEE WHAT WAR IS! That is DEATH & DESTRUCTION. We have a RIGHT TO SEE what our Tax Dollars are being used for......... and WHAT OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE IS BEING MORTGAGED FOR.... SINCE IT WAS DURING THE BUSH YEARS THAT OUR NATIONAL DEBT DOUBLED!

    And since you are obviously, FOR THE WAR.... you should enlist! Everyone who supports the war with Iraq, should be called up for military duty regardless of age or sex; first ones, should be ALL in the Congress who gave Bush the O.K. including Bush himself!

    February 26, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Sensible Lefty in Texas

    Pete: February 26th, 2009 1:55 pm ET

    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.


    What a dumb comment, Pete! That decision is yours to make, not the government's. I thought you righties were opposed to the government thinking for you....guess not, if it doesn't fit your narrow-minded agenda.

    It's about time this was repealed. No one wants to see it sensationalized or exploited, but the fact that the media wasn't allowed anywhere near the incoming coffins is blatant misuse of power by the Bush/War administration. Good riddance.

    February 26, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |


    February 26, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Island girl

    For those who have glossed over this article please be aware that you missed that part that said "The coverage must be approved by families, however". In plain and simple English – IF YOU PREFER PRIVACY YOU WILL GET PRIVACY.

    February 26, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. tess

    every day something horrible happens to our country that the democrats are pushing through! i have never been afraid but am now terrified for our freedoms – we have to stop this madness in whatever way we can even though the dems have a majority – i feel like americans of every political party will wake up to the socialist agenda o'bama has and join republicans, independants and every freedom loving american in stopping this destruction of the america as we have always been!

    February 26, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Sensible Lefty in Texas

    John February 26th, 2009 1:45 pm ET

    "the coverage must be approved by the families"

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

    Are you surprised, John? When it comes to the GOP and their ilk we all know that facts aren't their strong suit. Maybe literacy isn't either.

    February 26, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. James L.

    Honestly, this should had been done years ago. What is wrong with republican's are they all on DRUGS or what. GOD people!

    February 26, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Ry

    Take a look at what happened in Canada...

    War dead are made heroes on national television and radio when their flagged draped coffins return home from Afghanistan. We salute the troops upon their "final return home."

    They arrive at an Air Force Base an hour north of Toronto and travel south down Highway 401, renamed the "Highway of Heroes" to downtown Toronto where their bodies are examined by the coroner.

    Along the highway, everyday citizens gather on overpasses and on-ramps, waving Canadian flags as they salute the hearse as it passes by.

    Every time.

    Very patriotic. We salute our troops.

    The Pentagon should make it public too.

    February 26, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. James L.

    See it goes like this folks.............................what is done in the dark will have some light shined on it sooner or later. Don't get upset when the light is shined on it years later, just be realistic and accept the fact that WRONG never gets over it only gets by.

    February 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Irene

    Anonymous, don't cxomment if you don't have the courage to give your name. You should be "Anonymous Coward." We should have seen the real price of this illegal war all along, not that it would make any difference to the GOP. You can't fix stupid.

    February 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Sensible Lefty in Texas

    Bosworth: "And the people who are hiding behind a misleading mantle they perversely call "truth" should be ashamed of themselves. "


    Wow. If one comment sums up my hatred of the right wing, that's it.

    February 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Everyman


    What's next "CNN presents – Coffins on Parade- sponsered by

    February 26, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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