Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hiding The True Cost of Iraq

We're experiencing déjà vu and we don't like it. Remember around four years ago when Rumsfeld and crew were trying to keep images of returning war dead out of the media? Well, our current secretary of defense, Robert Gates, is keeping his successors' legacy alive by allowing officials to block media access to the funerals of dead soldiers, even if the family says it's ok for the press to be there. Oh and in keeping with Bush administration fashion, anyone who speaks up- like former Arlington National Cemetery public affairs director Gina Gray- is fired or otherwise silenced:

Just 10 days on the job, [Gray] was handling media coverage for the burial of a Marine colonel who had been killed in Iraq when she noticed that Thurman Higginbotham, the cemetery's deputy superintendent, had moved the media area 50 yards away from the service, obstructing the photographs and making the service inaudible. The Washington Sketch column on April 24 noted that Gray pushed for more access to the service but was "apparently shot down by other cemetery officials."...

Six weeks after The Washington Post reported [Gray's] efforts to restore media coverage of funerals, Gray was demoted. Twelve days ago, the Army fired her.

Gray contends that Higginbotham has been calling the families of the dead to encourage them not to allow media coverage at the funerals -- a charge confirmed by a high-ranking official at Arlington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Gray says Higginbotham told staff members that he called the family of the next soldier scheduled for burial at Arlington and that the family, which had originally approved coverage, had changed its mind.
More censorship. It goes on and on. Look for us to talk about this on the show today.