It was announced today that SecDef Gates has ordered a review of the ban on media coverage of soldiers remains who've returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. This is going to likely turn into one HOT topic over the coming months.
The NYT has it here; what is interesting is how they lable the story- 'bodies'.
...skeptics, who include some families as well as opponents of the war in Iraq, say that the bodies in the returning coffins are not publicly identified, so privacy is not an issue, and that barring photographers is a political maneuver meant to sanitize the war.
The Denver Post has the story here, with a poll. The resuts may surprise you.
The ban, initiated in 1991 prior to the First Gulf War, has been even more tightly enforced during the GWOT. Given the controversial nature, the potential spread of the photos usage over the internet, and the likelihood that ne'er-do-wells would use the images in VERY negative ways, I believe this ban has become even more necessary.
I'm betting that most families would say so, as well. Who wants to open up a web page and see some war-protestor (or heck, even 'academic' use) of your loved ones remains? Its too likely that these images may end up in 'fair use' ways that will be horribly, horribly inappropriate.
In respect for the families, Sec. Gates, do not overturn the ban.
I would push that ANYONE who can contact their representatives, do so, and push that they also push the SecDef to not overturn the ban. While they might 'lift' it somewhat, there is no 'controlled' use of images once they are placed on the 'net. Just.won't.happen. If they DO, I would push for a lawsuit to put an injunction until more are heard from- publicly.
I really want to see the comments on this one....
Over at Mudville Gazette, you should read how this was brought up during the President's press conference:
Ed Henry with CNN, who asked the President whether he thought the arrival of American coffins at Dover should be accessible to the media to "show America the real cost of the war...." and would he reconsider the policy of not allowing the media in. Ed Henry and CNN seem to want to make it a spectacle to "behold" when our FALLEN Heroes arrive at Dover on their final trip home to an honorable rest. Absolutely not!!!! Why shouldn't we let the media have access to film and put it on the evening news? Well for the same reason the media should not be the first to know the identity of the fallen before the family is told.
Go read. Its a must on this issue.