Friday, April 23, 2004

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ The current ban is in sharp contrast with recent history. During the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, the Pentagon encouraged coverage of its increasingly elaborate events for those killed in Egypt, Lebanon and Grenada. President Jimmy Carter was photographed praying over the remains of airmen killed in the failed hostage rescue mission in Iran, while his successor, Ronald Reagan, was shown pinning Purple Hearts to the caskets of Marines slain in El Salvador.

Ban started in 1991

Publicity for such ceremonies continued until Jan. 21, 1991, when officials started to prohibit filming at the Dover base in Delaware, home to the military's largest mortuary and the primary arrival point for remains.

There is disagreement about the reasons for the ban. Historians say then-President George Bush was angered when TV networks used a split screen to air his news briefing with reporters, in which he was seen to laugh at one point, and the coffin ceremonies during the 1991 Gulf War.

Department of Defense officials, however, say the restrictions were to protect mourners.

"Over the years, the families [of deceased service personnel] have told us that their privacy is very important in the immediate aftermath of being notified of their loss," said an official, who requested anonymity.

Despite this, exceptions were made for the return of caskets from Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown's 1996 plane crash in Croatia and the 1998 terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. Officials also permitted public distribution of photos from the coffin ceremonies for those killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000. And during the first two years of the current Bush administration, journalists photographed remains arriving at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

But the Pentagon now says those pictures violated a total ban instituted in November 2001 on casket pictures at all U.S. bases and led to reiteration of that ban in March 2003 - the month the Iraq war began.

I distinctly remember the pentagon saying the ban was issued by the Clinton administration. Once again, it was Bush, Sr, remember the one that threw up on the Japanese Prime Minister and laughed during a coffin ceremony, "a thousand points of light", and couldn't speak in complete sentences.
Now the reports are that the Air Force "reluctantly" released the photo's under the Freedom of Information Act.
Having spent more than half my life married to the Air Force, I feel I have a right to the hunch that it wasn't all that reluctant. I'm disgusted that I didn't think of it myself.
The best way to honor our Airmen and Soldiers is to fight this miserable failure bastard that sent them over there on a lie. Show him there is nowhere to hide and shine "a thousand points of lights" on every inconsistancy this administration utters. Get him the hell out of the White House and put in a man that not only cares but knows a little something about war and diplomacy.

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