A Reminder That War Is Indeed Hell
The Bush administration's refusal to allow news media coverage of the arrival of soldiers' coffins at Dover Air Force Base was always more about trying to limit the bad news out of Iraq and Afghanistan than respecting the privacy of next of kin. It matters not that the prohibition had been handed down from the administration of the president's father.
Which is why the Obama administration's relaxation of the ban, while respecting the wishes of families should they not want media coverage, was such a positive, necessary and I daresay cathartic move.
And so there was sight on Sunday of a flag-draped coffin bearing the remains of Army Staff Sergeant Phillip Myers being carried from a transport plane at the Delaware air base. Myers, 30, of Hopewell, Virginia, had been killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device.
For the record, the Pentagon says that at least 4,262 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, while another 673 have been killed in Afghanistan since U.S. forces went there to oust the Taliban in late 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks.
George Bush is gone but the wars go on.
Photograph by Reuters