Thursday, February 26

Pentagon Changes Tune About War Dead Coverage

At his first prime-time news conference, President Obama said his administration would review the Pentagon policy that banned the media from taking pictures of the flag-draped coffins of U.S. troops returning from the battlefield with Defense Department officials. Apparently that review was concluded and according to CNN:

The Pentagon will lift its longtime ban on media coverage of the flag-draped coffins of war victims arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, according to a senior U.S. defense official with direct knowledge of the decision.

The coverage must be approved by the victims' families, however. Advocates of opening the base to coverage say the unmarked coffins make it impossible to identify specific remains.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to announce the change at a news conference at 2 p.m. ET, the senior official said. He ordered a review after President Obama asked for more information on the long-standing policy.

Though the Defense Department won't confirm it, it is widely accepted that the ban began after the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, which deposed dictator Manuel Noriega.

While this is a step in improving transparency to reporting the full scope of the carnage of war to the public, it is long overdo.

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