In another dramatic reversal of the previous administration’s policy, the Pentagon has announced it will now all allow video and photo coverage of the return of dead U.S. soldiers to American soil.
At his daily briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “The president asked that the secretary of defense review our policy toward media and photos at Dover air base for victims returning of — from Iraq and Afghanistan. And what the…president supports is a policy consistent with that that we have at Arlington cemetery, which allows at the families position for that to be open, which allows them to make that decision and protect their privacy if that’s what they wish to do.” President Obama said earlier this month he was reconsidering the policy, which was put in place during the 1991 Persian Gulf war and covers the solemn transfer of flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the first US stop on the journey to the final resting place for the military personnel. Press groups pushed for the change, but the American Legion and other military groups opposed lifting the ban.
It will now be up to the families of the killed soldiers whether to allow press coverage of the return of their loved ones’ bodies. To my mind, this change will only speed the end of the war.