Politicizing war casualties ?

In 2009, the Obama administration changed Pentagon policy to let the families decide if photography was permitted when remains of US servicemen arrive at Dover Air Force Base. Previously, policy prohibited any such photography. Although 19 of the 30 affected familes did not want media coverage, a White House photographer shot a somber, backlit photo of Obama saluting the arrival of the casualties from the Special Forces helicopter recently shot down in Afghanistan. That photo is available on the White House Photo of the Day webpage (#2 of 8).

So, is this a case of the man who railed against “politics as usual” being hypocritical or was he just honoring the 11 of 30 familes who were OK with media coverage ? Or do you buy Press Secretary Jay Carney’s explanation that, “in this case, the White House released the photo, in the interests of transparency, so that the American people could have as much insight as possible into this historic and sobering event.”

To their credit, none of the media covered the event or retransmitted the White House photo.


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