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Pentagon Blocks Coverage of Returning Coffins

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by mental invalid, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8

    By Dana Milbank
    Tuesday, October 21, 2003; Page A23

    Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of U.S. soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped caskets.

    To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases.

    In March, on the eve of the Iraq war, a directive arrived from the Pentagon at U.S. military bases. "There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops," the Defense Department said, referring to the major ports for the returning remains.

    A Pentagon spokeswoman said the military-wide policy actually dates from about November 2000 -- the last days of the Clinton administration -- but it apparently went unheeded and unenforced, as images of caskets returning from the Afghanistan war appeared on television broadcasts and in newspapers until early this year. Though Dover Air Force Base, which has the military's largest mortuary, has had restrictions for 12 years, others "may not have been familiar with the policy," the spokeswoman said. This year, "we've really tried to enforce it."

    President Bush's opponents say he is trying to keep the spotlight off the fatalities in Iraq. "This administration manipulates information and takes great care to manage events, and sometimes that goes too far," said Joe Lockhart, who as White House press secretary joined President Bill Clinton at several ceremonies for returning remains. "For them to sit there and make a political decision because this hurts them politically -- I'm outraged."

    Pentagon officials deny that. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the policy covering the entire military followed a victory over a civil liberties court challenge to the restrictions at Dover and relieves all bases of the difficult logistics of assembling family members and deciding which troops should get which types of ceremonies.

    One official said only individual graveside services, open to cameras at the discretion of relatives, give "the full context" of a soldier's sacrifice. "To do it at several stops along the way doesn't tell the full story and isn't representative," the official said.

    A White House spokesman said Bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done, although he has met with families of fallen soldiers and has marked the loss of soldiers in Memorial Day and Sept. 11, 2001, remembrances.

    The Pentagon has previously acknowledged the effect on public opinion of the grim tableau of caskets being carried from transport planes to hangars or hearses. In 1999, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, said a decision to use military force is based in part on whether it will pass "the Dover test," as the public reacts to fatalities.

    Ceremonies for arriving coffins, not routine during the Vietnam War, became increasingly common and elaborate later. After U.S. soldiers fell in Beirut, Grenada, Panama, the Balkans, Kenya, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the military often invited in cameras for elaborate ceremonies for the returning remains, at Andrews Air Force Base, Dover, Ramstein and elsewhere -- sometimes with the president attending.

    President Jimmy Carter attended ceremonies for troops killed in Pakistan, Egypt and the failed hostage rescue mission in Iran. President Ronald Reagan participated in many memorable ceremonies, including a service at Camp Lejeune in 1983 for 241 Marines killed in Beirut. Among several events at military bases, he went to Andrews in 1985 to pin Purple Hearts to the caskets of marines killed in San Salvador, and, at Mayport Naval Station in Florida in 1987, he eulogized those killed aboard the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf.

    During President George H.W. Bush's term, there were ceremonies at Dover and Andrews for Americans killed in Panama, Lebanon and aboard the USS Iowa.

    But in early 1991, at the time of the Persian Gulf War, the Pentagon said there would be no more media coverage of coffins returning to Dover, the main arrival point; a year earlier, Bush was angered when television networks showed him giving a news briefing on a split screen with caskets arriving.

    But the photos of coffins arriving at Andrews and elsewhere continued to appear through the Clinton administration. In 1996, Dover made an exception to allow filming of Clinton's visit to welcome the 33 caskets with remains from Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown's plane crash. In 1998, Clinton went to Andrews to see the coffins of Americans killed in the terrorist bombing in Nairobi. Dover also allowed public distribution of photos of the homecoming caskets after the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

    The photos of coffins continued for the first two years of the current Bush administration, from Ramstein and other bases. Then, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, word came from the Pentagon that other bases were to adopt Dover's policy of making the arrival ceremonies off limits.

    "Whenever we go into a conflict, there's a certain amount of guidance that comes down the pike," said Lt. Olivia Nelson, a spokeswoman for Dover. "It's a consistent policy across the board. Where it used to apply only to Dover, they've now made it very clear it applies to everyone."
  2. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    another bush policy:

    make then ignore it, the problem will go away.

    doesn't this stink of infringement on free speech?

    way to honor our dead.

    i fucking hate the president.
    hate him!
  3. One_in_Ten

    One_in_Ten Guest

    welcome to the FBI watch list. Take a seat and well be
    with you shortly.

    Hate is so un-American, go back to new jersey.
  4. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    get over yourself.

    the president deserves hate because he kills thousands of innocent people with his directives.

    hate is not concentrated in new jersey.

    the FBI isn't looking at this board, and if they were, they couldn't find me through it, my info, or my IP address

    blind acceptance of our government is un american.

    go back to bed
  5. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2000 Messages: 6,979 Likes Received: 2
    I almost wish I lived in the States just so I could find a nice country to move to.

    If you dont love America and support the government then move you commie!
    I would but I dont want to be a vicitim of American foreign policy!
  6. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    it just seems dishonorable to the dead...

    i may not agree with the war, but those are our guys coming back in body bags, and dam it, why are we not giving them their just attention....
  7. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    sorry, this isn't really related, but
    how do you guys feel about this?
  8. crave

    crave Veteran Member

    Joined: Jan 20, 2002 Messages: 6,728 Likes Received: 10
    it is dishonorable to the dead. and for what? because bush doesn't want his already tarnished political reputation any dirtier? what the fuck.
  9. the_gooch

    the_gooch 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 15, 2002 Messages: 11,566 Likes Received: 431
    half of the guys i know do not vote, this upsets me to no end. bush need to be removed from office and the only way to do it is to have him voted out! the guys i know are more concerned about the yankees than the future of our country.

    my sister just moved overseas

    dam it's looking more like a good idea every day
  10. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
  11. Æ°

    Æ° Senior Member

    Joined: May 12, 2002 Messages: 1,974 Likes Received: 6
    We support our troops.
  12. »§ÜGÅR«

    »§ÜGÅR« Senior Member

    Joined: Aug 16, 2003 Messages: 1,519 Likes Received: 0

    this sums up all of what i wanted to say. The media covers a lot of shit and keeps airing the same thing for one purpose. ratings. Tv ratings to me do not equal respect for the dead.
  13. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    American casualties in Iraq are very light

    As I've said before, even one death is a human tragedy, but anytime a anti-guerrilla war can be conducted for SIX MONTHS and only lose 106 soldiers killed, you are doing very, very well.

    To compare, the U.S. NEW INFECTION RATE for HIV in 2001 is conservatively estimated at 44,000. That's close to the death toll for eleven years of war in Vietnam.

    Fighting heavily armed fanatics isn't the dangerous part of Iraqi war service, it's the leave and liberty back in the U.S. that's really dangerous. A soldier might survive a year of fighting guerrillas and catch HIV from a girl he picked up in a bar in New York.

    Another example--during WWII, we lost 330,000 Americans killed. In the years following the war, MILLIONS of WWII vets died from lung cancer from the free cigarettes they were given in their K-Rations. They developed a cigarette habit that resulted in cancer, heart disease, emphysema, etc.

    I feel very sad about those 106 men who bravely fought and died in Iraq. But the news media TOTALLY distrorts the danger, and the cost, of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party nazis. The news media hates the Republicans, and especially President Bush, so they distort the real meaning of the 106 casualties.

    In taking the island of Okinawa from the Japanese in WWII, we lost 10,000 Marines killed in the first three days of the amphibious landing. And those casualties were lighter than anticipated. About that same period of time, in the European front, we lost more than that from air crews shot down over Germany over a couple of months.
  14. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    Re: American casualties in Iraq are very light, so it ain't that bad

    aww, the poor poor republicans.
    ?you're about as queer as a three dollar bill.
    so..the 'real' meaning is that being a stand up
    guy and lying to familys of military personnel,
    americans, and the world while killing huge numbers
    of innocents to secure and perpetuate
    american and western countries suicidal consumption
    habits is legitimate?
  15. old*824

    old*824 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 8, 2003 Messages: 1,362 Likes Received: 0
    its still wack though, after all the soldiers killed in the name of the usa....................you would think we would know better.

    telll you like how it should be.......shit motherfuckering bitches in power woulda lifted sanctions shit woulda allready been rebuilt and we swooop in and take power.....