SECRECY AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY

SECRECY AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY


Margaret Carlson  (http://seattlepi.nwsouce.com/opinions/371647_carlson22.hml)  has written in the Seattle PI about Gina Gray. She was the public affairs officer for Arlington National Cemetery who was first demoted and than fired for her activities in trying to ease restrictions preventing media coverage of burials for families of deceased soldiers.


The three perpetrator’s behind the Iraq blunder, Bush, Cheney and Rumstead, following Karl Rove’s advice, created tactics to avoid public objection to the invasion of  Iraq. In addition to outright lies and false documentation, the strategy included such things as, for the first time, to conduct a military operation without any new taxes to pay for it. That would have caused public outcry. Instead they borrowed the money. So, we have a mounting and insurmountable debt our COFFINS grandchildren will be saddled with. They knew a draft of young people would raise enormous public objection so they strained the system to the breaking point by calling up all of the available reserves and national guard and requiring them to stay well beyond what is reasonable deployment. But, they also knew that the biggest reason the Vietnam war became so unpopular with the American public was the media coverage of the dead and wounded. The photos and video on the nightly news brought the Johnson administration to it’s knees during Vietnam. Result: the Bush administration banned photos and media coverage of the Iraq fighting and especially photos of the wounded and bodies of the military dead.


At Arlington, the administration imposed severe restrictions to keep the media away. There are burials every day at the 624 acre Arlington Cemetery. Gray tried to ease those restrictions in order that grieving families could have the final goodby recorded. As pointed out by Carlson, with the administration restrictions, there could be no recording of the bugler playing taps, the 21 gun salute and the precise folding of the American flag presented to the family. Gray was punished for trying to allow video and photo recording of this final goodby for the families


Carlson points out that the administration goes so far as to hide the returning dead before they get to Arlington. She says that instead of flag-draped coffins returning in military jets and a landing with dignitaries, cameras and a ceremony honoring the fallen heros, coffins are returned like baggage on commercial jets. The flag draped coffin is put on the baggage conveyor belt and loaded like any other piece of luggage. The administration knows that when all the public reads in the paper or hears on the television are statistical numbers about the wounded and dead, but cannot see the reality through photos and video it becomes words and numbers. 


Since this invasion began in 2003 and the Bush “mission accomplished” Some 4,124 military have been killed, an estimated 30,409 wounded and an estimated 93,962 civilian killed as well. But, you won’t see any photos or video coverage of this on U.S. television or in the print media. Thanks to the blanket secrecy imposed by this administration, you have to go to foreign television and print media to be able to see the reality of what this invasion and occupation has meant to men and women of the American military as well as the citizens of Iraq. The invasion was a disastrous mistake based upon lies and false information. To continue to hide the reality of this invasion is wrong. The media restrictions should be lifted and the American people allowed to see with their own eyes the sacrifices this invasion has cost.

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