Uncovering the cost of war

The Pentagon is forced to release some images of the flag-draped coffins of American soldiers.

Published April 28, 2005 9:48PM (EDT)

A Freedom of Information Act request by a University of Delaware professor has forced the Pentagon to release hundreds of images of the flag-draped coffins of American soldiers, which until now the Bush administration has suppressed.

Most of the photographs show soldiers carrying or saluting the coffins, while signs in the background of a few of the pictures locate them in Afghanistan. But the Pentagon is still doing what it can to keep a veil over images of war deemed inappropriate for the American public. "The Pentagon provided most of the images without context, so it was unclear where and when they were taken and whom they portrayed," reports the Associated Press. "The military obscured the faces and identifying badges of many of the soldiers pictured in the ceremonies. A Pentagon spokesman said the pictures were edited out of privacy concerns."

Sure, sounds considerate enough. But then again, any doctored photos of U.S. soldiers doled out by the Bush administration, and you really have to wonder.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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