It is not clear as to whom the policy not to show flag draped coffins are protecting. Consider the history:
“BERLIN (Reuters) – A ban on media access to coffins of killed American soldiers as they are transferred to U.S.-bound aircraft at an airbase in Germany will stay in place despite calls to relax the rules, officials said Monday…
The ban was set up in 1991 but later relaxed, officials said…
Camera crews did film honor guard ceremonies and transfers of American-flag covered coffins onto planes headed for Dover after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 and also during the war in Afghanistan, Young and other U.S. officials said.
But rules were again strictly enforced just before the Iraq war began.
The issue erupted when photographs of coffins appeared in the media after the Air Force released more than 300 pictures in response to a Freedom of Information request. More than 700 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, including more than 100 this month.”
For a list of the soldiers who died in the Iraq war thus far, CNN has a list , including name, age, rank, unit hometown, details of where the soldier died, and their picture. They do not have a picture of the coffin in which the soldier was placed. CNN also has a list of “Heroes of War.” These are soldiers, members of the IRC, and others “who — through feats of courage, nobility of purpose or life-risking situations — have become “Heroes of War.”"
Here is a list of websites that list similar information:
DefendAmerica.mil (U.S. Dept. of Defense News)
NEWSWEEK (through MSNBC)
Considering how easy it is to get a list of casualties on the internet, including name, picture, and how they died, I am puzzled over the following:
“11:59 a.m. PDT April 23, 2004 – Photographs of flag-draped coffins bearing American casualties from Iraq should not have been made public under a Pentagon policy prohibiting media coverage of human remains, officials said.
Quite frankly, we don’t want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified,” said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense. ”
This was echoed by the White House:
“NAPLES, Florida (CNN) — President Bush was “moved” by recently published photos of caskets containing U.S. military personnel slain in Iraq but stands by his policy barring their publication, a White House spokesman said Friday.
“We must pay attention to the privacy of the families. That’s what the policy is based on,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters, describing that as “our first priority.”
Whom are we protecting? Why can the media give details on how these soldiers died but are discouraged from showing a flag draped coffin? Isn’t it more indecent to list how they died than showing a faceless flag draped coffin? Why hasn’t the military discouraged CNN, USA TODAY, FOXNEWS, etc from giving details?
Why does the White House loathe a flag draped coffin?