Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pentagon Lifts Media Ban On The Return Of Fallen Heroes; Flag-Draped Coffins Now Fair Game

Look, I understand Secretary Gates' theory of leaving this up to military families.

However, I simply do not trust the Liberals and the media; they will without a doubt exploit the photos of our fallen heroes.

Perhaps Gates does not see this as "politically motivated", but I assure him that the Left and the media will indeed make this political.

They will disgrace our military and offend military families as they advance their political agenda. They simply do not support our military.

From The Washington Post:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced today he is lifting a 1991 ban on news coverage of the return of the remains of fallen service members to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and will let families decide whether to allow coverage.

The controversial ban on photography and other media coverage of the solemn return of flag-draped coffins -- upheld by both Republican and Democratic administrations -- has generated lawsuits as well as conflicting emotions on the part of military families.

"After receiving input from a number of sources, including all of the military services and the organizations representing military families, I have decided that the decision regarding media coverage of the dignified transfer process at Dover should be made by those most directly affected: on an individual basis by the families of the fallen," Gates told reporters at a briefing at the Pentagon this afternoon. "We ought not presume to make that decision in their place."

Gates said he is asking a group of advisers to come up with a plan on how to implement the new policy.

He said that Pentagon officials had been in touch with groups that represent military families about the policy change and that "the reaction we got from the organizations associated with the families strongly reinforced the decision of where I was headed."

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, applauded the decision, according to the Associated Press. "The sight of flag-draped coffins is, and should be, a sobering reminder to all Americans of the ultimate sacrifice our troops have made and the high price of our freedom," he said.

But Meghan Tisinger, a spokeswoman for Families United, a military family group, said, "This is a complete disregard for the will of America's military families and the need for their privacy during this solemn moment," AP reported.

Gates, who said he pushed for this change in policy last year after joining the Bush administration, said he did not see the ban as being politically motivated, especially since it was started so long ago.

"As far as I'm concerned," he said, "that's ancient history, and I'm not going to try and figure out the motives."

Anyone who has seen HBO's "Taking Chance" will understand the sanctity of keeping the solemn return of our fallen military heroes private.

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