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. Anonymous

    another media play for ratings...

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

    Raise your hand if you're dumb enough to think that this executive order wasn't an attempt, just like Bush's accounting machinations in the budget, to hide the true cost of the war(s). Go ahead. Wave 'em in the air and scream "tax cuts."

    Nobody's losing their privacy...it's entirely up to the family of the fallen, who will presumably honor what they believe would have been the fallens' wishes.

    February 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Erik S.

    Though the Defense Department won't confirm it, it is widely accepted that the ban began after the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, which deposed dictator Manuel Noriega.

    So for all of those ill informed people blaming Bush for this, won't you let this please be a lesson to actually know FACTS before blaming anyone for something you don't like or don't understand because you don't want to take the time to LEARN. I doubt that will happen with the majority of you, but the blind support for your side if politics be it democrat or republican is truly worrisome.

    February 26, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. John

    It's about time Americans see the true cost of a war (in Iraq).
    "Honesty was a sign of weakness" in the world according to Bush and his pet monkey aka Cheney.

    February 26, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Norom

    American Comrade February 26th, 2009 1:06 pm ET

    Why doesn't CNN do a story on how Obama lied about his tax hikes. He just raised taxes on cigarettes .62 cents a pack. Most smokers do not make 250K a year. So therefore Obama lied and the media should cover it.

    So I take it someone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to light up? Cry me a river. How much more am I paying in insurance premiums because of your filthy disgusting habit?

    February 26, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Norom

    American Comrade February 26th, 2009 1:06 pm ET

    Why doesn't CNN do a story on how Obama lied about his tax hikes. He just raised taxes on cigarettes .62 cents a pack. Most smokers do not make 250K a year. So therefore Obama lied and the media should cover it.

    So I take it someone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to light up? Cry me a river. How much more am I paying in insurance premiums because of your filthy disgusting habit?

    February 26, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Maverick

    For all of you who think this is giving our soldiers due coverage, why not ask your precious leftist media to report on the GOOD that our soldiers have done. Not just the tradjedies. As a vet I think the media does us nothing but harm, they show the enemy exactly what we plan to do and get more killed and then you pathetic blind sheep followers praise them for it, but when they have pictures of a soldier holding a child that was wounded or handing out supplies to families that were turned out by the very people we call enemies and the media victims, ie Al Quida, you turn a deaf ear and blind eye and continue to call us rapist and murderers. Gee, Mr Obama was on the Senate Committee on Afghanistan. How many times did he go there? Why are we failing there? I guess he has no responsiblity for any of that though because he is a Liberal. He spent more time flying to hi vacations than to Afghanistan. And for those of you who want to Blame Bush, don't forget your beloved Pelosi Cult who voted to go and also Mrs Clinton who voted in the Senate to goto Iraq. Open your eyes and see that there was more than one person involved in this, or did you all not learn about the three branch system of Government? Would you like your family members all over the news if they didedin a plane crash or from cancer or any other means? I doubt it. This is just slef serving media play until they show the good as well. It demoralizes OUR patriots and strngthens the cause of those who want us destroyed, amd yes Hussein was one of those who wanted for our destruction. Bush chioces of timing and management were bad, do not call me childish names because I am not trying to justify his actions, but they were neccesary actions.

    February 26, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. dennisk


    You idiot, the article clearly says it is subject to the approval of the families. Please read before commenting.

    This is America–we honor those who give the full measure of sacrifice in service to their country.

    But I suppose you liked living under the Bush dictatorship...

    February 26, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. US Army Enlisted

    ***Breaking news*** The US Army, which accounts for the majority of the US armed forces, overwhelmingly approves of this change. Ultimately, it will be the families of the fallen that make the the final decision. Those who oppose it can knock on Obama all they want but it's sad to see that they care more about complaining about Obama than honoring our fallen warriors. On or off camera, again that decision is up to the family members and not anyone else.

    February 26, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. Mike in Ca

    let all the right wing crap start flowing.... oh it has already.

    February 26, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    This is a disgrace to our troops. This helps nothing but propaganda machines and that is all. If you want to keep up to date on the number of dead you can look it up. This has nothing to do with informing the public.I did think we were better than this.

    February 26, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Alyce

    These people need to grow up and realize the world is what it is and God did not single out one race to be better than the rest. If they want to hate anyone, it should be President Bush! His the one that got us into this economic mess! So what if President Obama is Black. At least he is working for all race even the hate groups! What idiots they are! There are better things to do in life than hate people!

    February 26, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. John Pa

    What is wrong with you cowards. These caskets should be paraded down the street. This is an honor to our fallen troops. A soldier laying along side of all the other soldiers caskets with the flags on them is the ultimate honor. There are no people more honorable than these. HOW DARE YOU COWARDS HIDE THESE HEROS.

    February 26, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. John

    Bush wasn't "hiding" anything. He was respecting the dignity of our fallen heroes from the likes of Keith Olbermann blasting the scenes on his joke of a show. At least Obama is giving the families the final decision. I don't agree with lifting the ban in general, but I will at least give him that.

    February 26, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Maverick

    Are they putting as much emphasis on the soldiers returning home that yopu people so proudly gather at the airport to welcome back also? No, I think they only want to show the coffins. Bet they line them up in photoshop to make the numbers appear much larger. And I bet the Westboro Baptist Church is going to line up to trample the Flags the coffins are covered in. For all of you who think this is a righteous thing to do, I bet this Church will accept you as amember so you can go spit on the Flag and Protest the Soldiers. It is a shame to show these as statistics and not to give them tribute.

    February 26, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Gayle in Georgia

    People should see what happens because of this senseless Bush and Co. war.

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ought to be made to stand and look at every coffin.

    February 26, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. California Gold

    Karen in Phoenix: well said. Bush certainly learned from the mistakes of allowing the media involvement in Vietnam. He made sure caskets streaming out of Dover weren't going to cause him problems. Personally I would prefer to honor these men and women on their return. They are our soldiers too. FWIW I served 8 years.

    February 26, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Lisa B

    Ok all you defenders of Bush spewing your hate for the left. The moral of this story and what will prove to be fact is the sinnister, lying, cover-up, let 'em eat cake ideology of his administration. Secrets and lies, corruption and good'ol boys. Well, now the party is over!! President Obama is ripping the band-aid off for all of us to see the damage that has been done to our great nation, and I for one could not be prouder! We the people are taking back our country!

    February 26, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Maverick

    Amber, one, Mr Obama did not make this call stop giving him so much credit. two, and what is going to stop the media? the coffins are not marked in plain view so who could stop them? I understand some here think this is for good, but most, including the media, just want to help push their statistics, otherwise they would be at the airports greeting the "Hero's" returning from service not just parading the the fallen.

    February 26, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. John

    This is really sad that our nation and the sick media stoops this low. Is this what you want to see as you are sitting down to dinner and turn on the 5:00 news and see a parade of coffins. This great people died for our country and any one with any sense knows this we do not need to be reminded of it on TV. I personally wont forget every persons sacrifice in this war or any war to this country. What we do need to be reminded of is the 9/11 tapes we can no longer show. All of you people screaming about torture and leaving the job over seas might come back to reality to see something like that. Please think about it from this point of view!

    February 26, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. gt

    amen j. p.

    February 26, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. geecee

    Finally the truth should be revealed. If a grieving family does not want their son's casket to be shown, they have that right, and I am sure the military and the media will respect it. But we Americans should see the sacrifice our soldiers have made for us. Why hide the truth? That is never a good idea. I am not suggesting that State secrets be revealed to the American population and our enemies, but we are talking about our deceased soldiers who died for us on the battlefield. We should be able to view their caskets if we want to. It's not ghoulish, the caskets won't be opened. I am not sure that even names of the deceased will be known. Americans need to face up to the cost of War and not just in monetary ways!!

    February 26, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. james hotz

    I was in Vietnam, and saw young men come home in a body bag. Who makes the ultimate sacrifice? And what do they get for it? And the tax payers foot the bill, and these politicians have no conscience in spending a trillion dollars on a foriegn war while the economy goes down the drain. What kind of aholes do we have in the government?????

    February 26, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    If this is to happen, be respectful to the families and friends of the fallen. The last thing they need is a camera in their faces! Let them grieve in peace! zthis is not a spectator event!

    February 26, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. liz

    it is bout damn time people realize there is a friggin WAR on and people are DYING. I also think that as long as there is a war there should be a 10% war tax, see how many people support invading for no reason when they actually have to pay for i!

    February 26, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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