February 26th, 2009
12:41 PM ET
6 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. July

    Anonymous February 26th, 2009 1:53 pm ET

    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!

    -------------------–

    Hey Bushie ... read all of the report BEFORE you go and post a stupid message ...

    it says ' The coverage must be approved by families, however.

    What does that mean ... it means if someone from your family is in the service and dies ... YOU and your family can decide if the casket can be shown to the public. YOU make the choice.

    Why hide in shame what Bush has done ......

    February 26, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Unless I havea serious reading problem – and I don't – I think the families have to agree to to the publicity first. It is their decision if photos are to be taken Sorry to spoil all your fun, idiots.

    February 26, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Rita

    And the media can be SO TRUSTED to respect the families and not take pictures or harass, twist and manipulate their grieving minds into allowing the pictures to be printed. GET REAL pepper, meh, and Judy!

    February 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Adrian Veidt

    It's hard to see this, but we have to. These people died on our behalf. They deserve to be more than a statistic, more than just another number.

    February 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The Media had better show the proper respect and keep their mouths shut when ever the coffins are shown on film, TV or anyother media. If not they need to be band again or someone like me may get mad enough to execise my first amendment fist on their mouth! As a twenty year retired Navy and Desert Storm Vet and the son of a Viet Nam Vet, who watched as the Media did not show proper respect during previous wars to the Greatest Heroes of this Country I am disappointed in this decision. CNN now print this.

    February 26, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Justin

    My Grandfather was a veteran of world war 2 and the Korean war. When he passed away seven years ago he was not buried with the military honors due him because there were no soldiers available. He would not have even had a flag ceremony if it wasn't for the men from the Masonic lodge doing it for him. Why is it such a priority to highlight the honor and dignity of serving, but considered a travesty to give honor when an American makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, or dies many years after giving a large part of their life in service to our country?

    February 26, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Gold Star Son

    Shame on all you ghouls out there, who wish to use pictures of homecomings for political purposes. It is disrepectful to make these pictures public. Should we show live tapes of autopsies to enforce the point that murder is bad? This policy change is done for only one reason – P – O – L – I – T – I – C – S. As if Obama was ever in the military.... ha!

    February 26, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Nathan

    Only one of Bush's little dirty secrets...more to come.

    February 26, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. ray ray

    Unless the families of the dead soldiers approve – THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!

    Making caskets a political football is just wrong... democrats!

    Perhaps on any NEW coffin – Obama's campaign seal should be draped over it since it will be Obama's fault now he's calling the shots.

    February 26, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Marie C.

    GOOD. Now people can SEE the true cost of WAR.

    LET'S SHOW IRAQI DEAD TOO. DOES ANYONE CONSIDER THEM? OR ARE THEY JUST A GENERIC "MASS".

    February 26, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. carlo

    P.O.ed wrote:

    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

    ****************************************************************************
    WRONG

    Soldiers ALWAYS die for a reason-because they love this country. It's the nimwit neo-cons that got them over there who are to be disrespected. That's the difference between a Republican and a Democrat. We don't put the definition of patriotism into a box. Believe it or not, you and your people don't have a patent on patriotism.

    February 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Anyone out there who really believes the Press will not be pushy and intimidate the families?

    February 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Obama Victim

    Obummer just sent 17K troops to Afghanistan...so we get to see a lot more of these...............thanks alot.................LOSER

    February 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. NC Obama supporter

    Pete – that is why the families have the right to approve the coverage or not. It they don't want the coverage, they won't have it. People will will have the right to choose – wow go figure, the right to choose here in America.

    February 26, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. carlo

    Anonymous February 26th, 2009 1:53 pm ET

    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!
    ****************************************************************************

    Well, anonymous, they can only show it with the family's approval, so its not really your decision to make, now is it? At least Pres. Obama leaves the decision up to the families that actually lost a loved one, unlike Bush, who arbitrarily decided to hide it to protect his own arse!

    February 26, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Erik S.

    "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,"

    91 people, stop blaming EVERYTHING on Bush. GROW UP!

    February 26, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Kentucky Vet

    As a veteran, I disagree with this decision. Military families deserve and have earned the right to privacy as they are dealing with the loss of a loved one who died defending our country. They more than anyone know the price of the sacrifice that has been paid. The public does have a right to know the cost of the war in the number killed and casualties injured, but this goes above and beyond that right.

    If you want to honor the heros who pay the ulitmate price, attend their funeral and pay your respects. Go to a Veteran's Day ceremony or a Memorial Day ceremony or the next time you meet a veteran, tell them thank you for being brave and loving your country so much!

    February 26, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. arithmetic is liberal

    Apparently, reading is also liberal.

    What part of "at the family's discretion" don't you bozos understand?

    I know righties censorship, especially of their mistakes, but this is ricidulous. Find something else to get the vapors about.

    February 26, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. John Pa

    HEY
    February 26th, 2009 1:53 pm ET

    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!

    HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THE MILITARY? LAYING THEIR CASKETS OUT TO SEE IS AN HONOR TO THEM. HOW DARE YOU DISHONOR OUR FALLEN TROOPS.

    February 26, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Gary

    Pete. Maybe YOU don't want your body in a coffin to be acknowledged and honored, but you don't have the right to prohibit everybody else from that right. Righties!

    February 26, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Q

    If you all knew the history behind this...the "BAN" goes back to 1991. It was not the second Bush did this...it was the first Bush.

    Where were all you lefties when Clinton was in office? Mogadishu (aka Black Hawk Down), Kosovo? We had fallen soldiers there who were processed the same way they are today. I didn't see any outrage there.

    You Democrats are so quick to blame Bush for everything, and ignore it when your own party continues the same policies. Just a bunch of hypocrites.

    Get your facts straight...just shows how dumb you all are...

    February 26, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Tyran

    TELL THE TRUTH!!! Bush did this to hide the amount of casualties so he could keep pushing his lying war agenda. Now we should be able to see these coffins (with family permission of course). Some of you Republican are acting like we are going to showing dead bodies on the evening news. STOP OVERREACTING BECAUSE YOU HATE OBAMA!!! As a matter of fact, stop hating Obama and tell you party to think up some REAL soultions to help our new President get out of this mess that Bush seen coming, but did nothing about it.

    February 26, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Gary Brandon

    This comes from a veteran who served as a Memorial Activities Specialist in the U. S. Army in Vietnam. The allow the media at the Dover Mortuary is a bad Idea in my opinion. These young men who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country should be given the respect of not being a spectacle for the media as they return to their country. They have not been prepared for the journey to their mother's, father's wives's and other family members. until they are properly prepared that is embalmed dresses in uniform and given the inspection that they are all deserving of no one should be allowed to even see their flagged draped coffins. it is a matter of respect that they deserve and demand as soldiers. to be properly dressed and prepared to be received as the hero's that they are and that is when they leave Dover Delaware not as they are received there.

    I say this because it is what I was trained to do and would do again if called upon by my country. To make sure that those how gave it all so that you those left to enjoy what they died for can do so without fear.

    February 26, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. TCM

    "...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...."

    Is this the same 1000+ individuals that you contact for EVERY CNN "Research?" Poll? The same candy-asses that want Obama to succeed at all costs? With millions and millions of citizens, you clowns settle on a research poll, performed on highly biased democratic fringe....and paste it on the website like it's a valid representation of America? You guys, along with your statistical analysis of what you think the country approves of...is a joke.

    February 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Franky

    All I wanna say is...we are so happy. These are our soldiers, they fight for us, they believe for us, etc. If we look at our soldiers every day and look at the suffering, why is not right to have the value and prosperity to show respect to our falling soldiers?? It ain't right for the family and it ain't right for anyone else who is over there, they deserve the same recognition when we praise them over there, not treat them like the Black Death...

    Family is important, they know what they want each for their sons or daughters, they want what's best for them...not the media, ONLY family.

    God bless this country...

    February 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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