After Years Of Cheerleading, Media Get To Witness The True Cost Of Iraq War

An airman stands next to the coffin containing the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers as it is lowered from a plane upon its return to the U

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An airman stands next to the coffin containing the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers as it is lowered from a plane upon its return to the U.S. at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware April 5, 2009. Myers, of Hopewell, Virginia, died April 4 near Helmand province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device.

This was a deeply cynical policy, cast as concern for the surviving family members. Just another way the Bush administration covered up the real cost of war:

DOVER, Del. — For the first time since an 18-year ban on news coverage of returning war dead was lifted, the media witnessed the arrival Sunday night of a soldier killed overseas.

After receiving permission from family members, the military opened Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to the press. An eight-member team wearing white gloves and camouflage battle fatigues carried the body of 30-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Va., off a military jet in a solemn ceremony on a cool, clear night.

Myers was killed April 4 near Helmand province, Afghanistan, when he was hit with an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense said.

The ceremony under the yellowish haze of airport floodlights took about 20 minutes with Myers' wife and other family members in attendance.

Myers was a member of the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron with the Royal Air Force in Lakenheath, England, one of the bases the U.S. Air Force uses in the country. He was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery last year in recognition of his efforts in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense said.

The new Pentagon policy gives families a choice of whether to admit the press to ceremonies at Dover, home to the nation's largest military mortuary and the entry point to the U.S. for service personnel killed overseas.

About Susie Madrak

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