In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted an 18-year ban on media access to the flag-covered caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base, but this decision runs directly counter to that promise. Caskets have been subject to cameras with the consent of the families of the dead, but since the bodies are not currently identifiable, permission cannot be individually granted and the Pentagon has taken the opportunity to conceal the single deadliest incident for Americans since the start of the war.
Instituted by George H. W. Bush and kept in place by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the ban was justified on the grounds that it protected the families of fallen soldiers. But many have criticized it as an unconstitutional attack on freedom of the press and as an attempt to disguise the human cost of the war from public opinion.
After the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration added to the media whitewash of the human costs of the war by flying in severely wounded soldiers under the cover of night in order to avoid press coverage.
Limits on the right of journalists to cover the killed and wounded are not permitted under the Constitution and this is only the latest in consistent restrictions attempting to control the public’s view of this costly Afghan war.