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After the debate- the reality

July 10, 2009

Mullen at Dover

Months ago, the debate over the press access to the “Dover Arrivals” raged on the blogosphere. Friendships were damaged, the vituperative statements flew like confetti, and the anger was palpable. Conservatives were certain that the “MainStream Media” were going to exploit the photographs and that we would be seeing weeping families splashed across the newspapers and dominating the TV, intrusions on the mourning of the families would be blatant, and we would be “USED” to make political points; to quote one commenter’s response to a statement that I expected most family members would be kind to each other’s point of view whether their loved one’s coffin would be shown “They’ll throw you under a bus, they don’t care”.

Liberals were hopeful that “pictures of the true cost of the wars” would make the rest of America remember that there were wars going on, servicemembers were dying and the country would take a moment to remember that. Neither, so far, has happened. True, the first arrival was filmed. After that – silence. Families have allowed the media to film the arrivals, and the MSM has dutifully gone to Dover, but the actual coverage – only on the local media if a servicemember was a local person, and then very briefly.

A recent article on the National Guard online site quoted Adm. Mullen (CJCS) telling the National Press Club:

“It’s been very well done,” Mullen said. “I’ve been up there and observed the process. I personally believe it was a very important decision.

“And what I’ve seen is that that dignity and that respect has been — has been very, very much supported in the time that certainly the press has been there,” he said. And I’m very encouraged by that. I think it’s important that all of us understand the sacrifices that these young men and women make.”

And that’s the point: Understanding their sacrifice and that of their families. I spend a lot of time online (too much according to some folks!) and I have not seen photographs of the families at Dover, other than a “crowd shot” of the media gathered and perhaps the back of a group of family standing on the tarmac. The photograph above, of Adm. Mullen saluting, (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik) is the one I have seen before. For all the screaming, the accusations, the polarization of a very small group of the American public, the truth turned out to be a slightly sad reality – we as members of the One Percent respect and honor the families, but the rest of the country is still oblivious.

The day that I got multiple DoD press releases on the deaths of 7 military servicemembers, the MSM was still fixated on the death of one pop star. That, to me, is just plain wrong.


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