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Published:February 20th, 2009 17:01 EST
President Obama and Department of Defense Consider Access of Press to Hangars at Air Force Bases

President Obama and Department of Defense Consider Access of Press to Hangars at Air Force Bases

By Philip Lawrence

At the direction of President Obama, the Department of Defense is currently reviewing the policy which has heretofore precluded the press from entering the hangers at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and Travis Air Force Base, California, where the bodies of deceased U.S. service members are flown and from where arrangements are made to deliver them to their families. 

I urge readers to support a change in this policy.  A number of purported reasons have been advanced to support the policy but such reasons are merely a pretext to mask the real purpose of the policy which is to prevent support for the war in Iraq from eroding or further eroding by showing the cost of the war in terms of American lives lost.

 Supporters of the current policy seem to forget that it was censorship of the press, political secrecy, and distortions of truth which caused rampant distrust of government in the 1960s which contributed to the erosion of American support for our intervention in the Vietnam War. 

Americans have a right to know what their government is doing and the press is often the only entity in a position to ascertain this.  And whether you agree or disagree with U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq, these U.S.-flag draped coffins contain the last remains of our brave warriors. 

It is a disgrace to fly them in under cover of darkness as if they were the plague, and a dishonor to their service to curtail freedom of speech and the press under the First Amendment, freedoms for which these courageous young men and women gave their last full measure of devotion.