Pentagon bans casket photos

When Karen Meredith lost her son to a sniper in Iraq, she wanted a photo of his casket at Dover Air Force Base, but was not permitted to take one.


Julia Scott
April 2, 2005 2:00AM (UTC)

The Bush administration's decision to enforce the ban on media photographs of flag-draped caskets returning from Iraq was widely reported last year -- but even mothers of dead soldiers are being shut out by Pentagon. When Karen Meredith lost her son to a sniper in Iraq, she wanted a photo of his casket at Dover Air Force Base for personal use, but was not permitted to take one, reported Cox News Service.

"It's bad enough that they won't let the country see the pictures of the caskets, but a grieving mother?" asked Meredith. "It's unforgivable after what I lost."

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Ironically, the Defense Department introduced the policy (back in 1991, when Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense), in the name of protecting the privacy of families who don't want their loved ones' caskets photographed by the press. But Meredith said she wasn't buying it: "They say it's for privacy, but it's really because they don't want the country to see how many people are coming back in caskets."

That may also explain why the Pentagon has them all coming back only under cover of darkness.


Julia Scott

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

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