2009 Photo: The Obama administration lifted the ban on media coverage of fallen troops returning to the U.S. (for more of CNN's disgusting explanation on the lifting of the ban, go here. They speak to Bush's motive, what is Obama's motive? Too painful to contemplate.)
Obama reverses lift, bans media: No Media Access for Return of Service Members to U.S. FOX News. Clearly, the visual of a parade of coffins, the worst day in recent US history, would not be an opportune Obama photo op. Cold-blooded calculation.
The Pentagon said Monday it will not allow media to document the return to the United States of the bodies of 22 Navy SEALs and eight other service members
Last week I pointed to Obama's cynicism, and CNN's, concerning this very matter. Here is what Jack Cafferty reported on CNN in 2009. Where's Jack's old flapping tongue now?
April 2009: Since the Obama administration lifted the ban on media coverage of fallen troops returning to the U.S., most military families are choosing to allow reporters and photographers to witness the ceremonies.
The press had been banned from covering these solemn ceremonies ostensibly to protect the privacy of the soldiers' families. Cynics suggest it was because President Bush didn't want attention drawn to the fact that soldiers were being killed in the phony war he started in Iraq.
The ban was actually imposed 18 years ago by Bush's father, the first President Bush, during Operation Desert Storm. The father of one Army corporal recently killed in Iraq said, "I think it was to protect the government's butt." That's exactly what it was.
So far - 14 of 19 families have allowed the media cover their loved one's return. The Pentagon calls it "a pretty good majority." The Air Force Mortuary Affairs office says reporters have been cooperative and there haven't been any problems. They also say they'll help facilitate a meeting with reporters if the family wants... although only one family has done that so far.
Sadly, media interest has dropped off rather dramatically in just a few short weeks: almost 40 members of the press turned up for the return of the first combat casualty they were allowed to cover... at a more recent ceremony, the AP says its photographer was the only one.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S.?
Yes, Jack, what does it mean?
Leftwing flashback: Obama’s accomplishments: Lifting the media blackout at Dover
Today the Obama administration:
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said Monday it will not allow media to document the return to the United States of the bodies of 22 Navy SEALs and eight other service members because the remains are unidentifiable and therefore families can't grant permission for access.
The bodies were expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday following the weekend helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Military officials say a rocket-propelled grenade took the Chinook down. It was the deadliest incident for American forces in the decade-long war. Twenty-two elite Navy SEAL personnel, Air Force troops and an Army air crew, along with eight Afghan soldiers
"Because the remains are unidentified at this point, next-of-kin are not in a position to grant approval for media access to the dignified transfer. Therefore, in accordance with DoD policy, no media coverage of the arrival and dignified transfer is permitted. Families will however, be given the opportunity to be present for the arrival," Capt. Jane Campbell, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.
Campbell add that the bodies will be positively identified by the Armed Forces Mortuary Affairs Office at Dover.
In 2008 former Defense Secretary Robert Gates helped lift a Bush-era ban on media access at Dover that prevented the public from seeing images of fallen troops returning home. Until then, the ban had been widely criticized for being politically motivated with the intent to cover up the so-called "cost of war."
Since then, permissions have been routinely sent out for coverage. This time, members of the press are requesting an exception in this case so that photographers are allowed to cover the arrival ceremony.
The crash has taken a heavy toll on military families and their supporters, and President Obama said Monday that the deaths present "a time to reflect on those we lost and the sacrifices of all who serve, as well as their families."
"These men and women put their lives on the line for the values that bind us together as a nation. They come from different places, and their backgrounds and beliefs reflect the rich diversity of America. But no matter what differences they might have as individuals, they serve this nation as a team," Obama said of armed forces.