February 26th, 2009
05:26 PM ET

Pentagon allows coverage of war coffins

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/26/pentagon.media.war.dead/art.coffins.transport.gi.jpg] CNN The Pentagon will lift its ban on media coverage of the flag-draped coffins of war victims arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. Military vehicles carry coffins containing U.S. troops in this photo the Pentagon released in 2005. 1 of 2 But the families of the victims will have the final say on whether to allow the coverage, he said. President Obama asked Gates to review the policy, and Gates said he decided after consulting with the armed services and groups representing military families to apply the same policy that is used at Arlington National Cemetery. "I have decided that the decision regarding media coverage of the dignified transfer process at Dover should be made by those most directly affected - the families," he said at a news conference. Watch Gates announce reversal » Not long after Gates' announcement, the political action committee VoteVets.org issued a written statement saying it is "fully supportive" of the decision. Advocates of opening the base to coverage point out that the unmarked coffins make it impossible to identify specific remains. Not everyone had a positive reaction. "Military Families United is disappointed in the president's decision to overturn the ban that has been in place for over 18 years," the group said in a release.   Read More...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Pentagon • Raw Politics
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