Pentagon May End Media Ban on War Dead

Policy under review
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 12:07 PM CST
Pentagon May End Media Ban on War Dead
The US flag, carried by members of an honor guard, is seen through a sea of tombstones at Arlington National ceremony during a burial ceremony, Feb. 5, 2009.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Robert Gates has asked the Pentagon to review its policy of barring the media from photographing the coffins of military casualties returning to the US from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports. “I think, if the needs of the families can be met and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can afford these fallen heroes the better,” Gates said.

Gates says he asked about changing the policy more than a year ago, but was told that if the media were allowed to cover the coffins arriving from overseas at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, then family members would feel compelled to attend, posing a financial hardship. Critics say the Pentagon is just trying to suppress images that would drive home the human cost of the wars. (Read more Robert Gates stories.)

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