March 18, 2009

Tell Me Mr. Gates....How Can You Lift the Ban After This?

Please Mr. Gates, tell me how you can continue forward with your plan to lift the ban after visiting Dover and having, as your press release notes: ".... very moving experience ..."?

Gates Pays Respects to Fallen Servicemembers at Dover
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2009 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates traveled to Dover Air Force Base, Del., last night to pay his respects to four servicemembers killed recently in Afghanistan, a senior Pentagon official said here today.

Gates “wanted to personally honor the sacrifice” of the three soldiers and one airman who died last weekend in a roadside bomb attack near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

Jalalabad is located between the Afghan capital of Kabul and the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The secretary’s visit to Dover last night “was a very moving experience for him,” Morrell said.

Gates has wanted to visit the facilities at Dover for some time, Morrell said. Dover’s Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs is the Defense Department’s largest joint-service mortuary facility, and the only one in the continental United States. Dover also is the U.S. military’s largest air terminal.

“The secretary was enormously impressed by the professionalism of the aircrew, the honor guards, the mortuary affairs personnel, and really everyone involved in this process,” Morrell said. “He very much appreciates their steadfast commitment to treating our returning war dead as the fallen heroes they truly are.”

There was no media presence during Gates’ visit to Dover, Morrell said.

“We did not travel even with an official photographer,” Morrell said, noting the trip was “merely a personal visit of the secretary’s.”

Meanwhile, Morrell said, a Defense Department working group probably is within weeks of presenting its recommendations for implementing a change in policy to allow the news media to photograph the flag-draped caskets of returning fallen servicemembers with their families’ permission. Gates announced the policy change Feb. 26.

“There is still some additional work to do, and the secretary has to sign off on the final recommendations of the working group, in terms of how this is going to all take place,” Morrell said.

So your visit to honor these fallen heroes was a personal visit, one no media agent was allowed to impose upon, and yet you are still planning on lifting the ban on media access to Dover. You sir are a hypocrite and a failure to those you serve!


AFSister said...

So let me get this straight.

Gates has NEVER been to Dover to witness the repatriation of our deceased, but yet he felt he had enough knowledge of the situation to overturn the "no media at Dover" rule???

You've got to be kidding me. My faith in my country is failing. Just a few minutes ago I read that ACORN has been asked to help with the 2010 census. Our new President and Shinseki want private insurance companies to pay for military service-related injuries and rehabilitation- at the same time they're going to offer free medical care to everyone else in the country. We own 80% of AIG, and they just paid out billions in un-earned bonuses simply because of a contractual agreement.

I don't get it.
I feel like I'm inside the world's most beautiful and prestigious building, and it's crumbling around me, and I can't get out.... and no one is even trying to get to me.

BostonMaggie said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

I keep ranting on this, right along with AFSister.....I still can't believe that the media, with the history of mockery that it has, would be allowed at Dover.

Huntress said...

I join in AF Sister's rant.
I have to wonder what kind of friggin bizarro world did I wake up in?

*Loving the new site, David*

Stacy said...

This is so sad David. I can't believe that Gates has never been to Dover. Maybe he will change his mind. I don't look for that to happen, but who knows.

Liking the new look David.

Some Soldier's Mom said...

let me get this straight... he lifted the ban BEFORE HE HAD EVER VISITED DOVER??? are you f@#$%^ kidding me??? oh that's right, we also have a CinC that has never been to either of the current battlefields but thinks he knows just how to fight a war. uh-huh. I'll bet Obama has never been to Dover either.

Anonymous said...

A moving experience? When it is your son or daughter in the flag draped casket I would say it is a moving experience - your guts are being torn out; your heart is shattering; your future is forever changed as you see the first demonstrable, tangible, actual evidence of what it is like to be the father or mother of a fallen child. It is not a moment to be concerned whether "somebody" else who does not walk in your shoes has an opportunity to take a paparazzi photo or video to hawk for the highest dollar. While many say it will show how we honor our fallen, we can not honor our fallen if we dishonor the wishes of their family and thus disrespect the thing the fallen cared most about.


proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

yankeemom said...

We've gone through Alice's looking glass, I swear. (And I seem to be swearing a lot more lately)

One more slap to the face of the military and their families.
Hypocrisy doesn't begin to cover this.

Anonymous said...

This just brings me again to my knee in uncontrollable tears of grieve. This %&^%(^^(*^% is wrong and needs to be stopped. What kind of monster does this to our families? It may be just less than 2 years, but with all of this garbage it seems like april 1 2007 another April Fool's bad dream. God help this troubled Country and those of us who claim her for our so called gov't is a sham......
Michelle Arnette Bryant
Proud Mom of a US Soldier
SSG Jason R Arnette
April 1.2007
Deployed to Heaven

brat said...

I have posted and linked to this.

{{{{{{{{Robert and Mickey}}}}}}}} I shall continue the fight - with you.

Claire said...

This makes me sick. Thank you for posting this David. Brat tracked it back at KDH. I also sent an excerpt and the link to the "No media at Dover" group on Facebook. There are 335 members there. I guess we need to vamp up the efforts and scream louder. It seemed to work with the bone head idea of making wounded Vets pay for their own medical care.

Anonymous said...

They are lifting the ban to allow FAMILIES TO CHOOSE if they want media coverage or not. Don't you understand? We are a democracy! Soldiers fight and die for freedom, not bans! Duh!
Families can now choose, that's the American Way!