Whatever the costs of this war, however gruesome its details; the American people should know the real cost of this war.
The Bush administration claims that its decision to forbid news organization from publishing pictures of war dead at military bases is not new. It argues that this has been the policy of administrations since the first Gulf War in 1991. The purpose of this decision it claims is to protect the feelings of the families of the victims.
Scott McClellan the White House press secretary had stated that those who had made the greatest sacrifice in the service of the country should be honored and shown the greatest respect. And this she said is the president's primary concern. The administration
Kathy Moakler, deputy director of government relations at the National Military Family Association, emphasized that the only purpose in banning publication of pictures of military dead being brought back to the country was to protect the privacy of the families who had lost a loved one. "At the devastating time [of loss], being sensitive to the families is what needs to be done," she said. (Madore)
Another reason the administration cited for its objection to the publication of pictures of war-dead, was that this would be depressing to the families involved and attenuate the sacrifice our troops are making in the service of the country.
The administration also stated that its objection to the publication by news agencies of photographs of flag-draped coffins was in keeping with the sentiments of the mourning families. It claimed that such publication invariably led to the invasion of the privacy of these families.
The News Media Has its Own Conviction
The news media has its own conviction. It is of the view that the American public has the prerogative to also know the cost of this war in terms of American lives. Besides the Freedom of Information Act of 1966, gives the American public the right to information relating to the operations of federal agencies.
It reasons that reporters in the actual field of battle are given unbridled access to the war. This being the case, it claims that the administration's ban on the publication of photographs of war-dead is its attempt to censor crucial war images.
The news media claims that the policy of administrations on such matters has not been consistent. And in support of this it cites the instance of President H. W. Bush allowing media coverage of war-dead being brought back home from Panama and other wars in which the US was involved, but banned it during the first Gulf war. It also states that in 2000 the Clinton administration allowed publication of photographs of the victims of the terrorist attack on the warship USS Cole. It contends that the ban of 1991 was the consequence of some TV networks simultaneously airing split screen images of the then-president laughing in one portion, and coffin ceremonies of Gulf war I, in another.
This time around the imposition of the ban on photograph publication was the Government's desire for secrecy. The news media contends that pictures of dead servicemen were being published as "a