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Thread: Obama travels to Dover AFB to salute coffins of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Default Obama travels to Dover AFB to salute coffins of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan

    October 29, 2009
    Obama breaks from Bush by saluting coffins of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan



    President Obama publicly rejected the cloak of secrecy surrounding the return of US military dead late last night when he met the coffins of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan in a solemn, unannounced ceremony.

    Mr Obama, under intense political pressure to make a decision on his future strategy on the war, offered prayers over each of the casualties before they were returned to US soil at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

    On a cold and blustery night, the President marched briskly up a ramp on to the Air Force C-17 transport aircraft which had carried home the latest victims of an increasingly bloody and unpopular war.



    Inside the cavernous plane, he privately paid tribute to each of the eight Army soldiers killed by a roadside bomb and to the seven servicemen and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents who died in a helicopter crash this week.



    One-by-one their coffins, wrapped in the American flag, were carried out into the night. Most were borne by fellow soldiers wearing Army fatigues, combat boots and white gloves.


    Seventeen of the bodies were driven away in private, before members of the media were invited by the family of one soldier to witness the return of his body.

    Mr Obama stood silent and motionless in salute as six soldiers slowly carried a casket bearing the body of Sergeant Dale Griffin, from Indiana, out of the aircraft.



    The respectful return of the bodies, pointedly not referred to as a ceremony by officials, was broadcast to the public in a break from almost two decades of secrecy over repatriations.

    President Bush tightened a ban on media coverage of returning US soldiers that has been in place since the first Gulf War in 1991.

    Earlier this year, the Pentagon lifted its 18-year moratorium on coverage providing family permission is granted.

    In the surprise move shortly after midnight last night a few members of the press and some Administration officials accompanied the President to America’s largest military mortuary which serves as the entry point for most service members killed abroad.

    Mr Obama landed in Marine One, the presidential helicopter, before privately meeting the families of many of the casualties in a chapel near the airfield.

    He was accompanied into the aircraft by Eric Holder, the Attorney General, and Michele Leonhart, the DEA Acting Administrator before returning to Washington in the middle of the night to continue his deliberations on the course of the war.

    Polls show Americans increasingly weary of the war, which analysts say is likely to help define the Obama presidency. There is also scepticism among his fellow Democrats over sending more troops.

    Tomorrow’s war council is expected to provide the final lobbying opportunity for senior military figures backing a strategy that would deploy at least four extra Nato brigades to protect Afghan towns and cities.

    Implicit in the strategy would be an admission that the forces could not hope to eliminate the Taleban entirely from the country’s rural areas. Given normal US brigade strengths of 3,000 to 4,000 troops, this would mean deploying up to 16,000 extra soldiers.

    The White House insisted yesterday that the President “has not settled on anything” and that all the myriad options discussed in the Situation Room over the past month remained on the table.

    The Administration’s continued refusal to show its hand has led to renewed claims that his indecision is frustrating America’s allies and commanders.

    Policy on Afghanistan “has been reviewed time and again” and yet more delay was “not helpful to our effort”, Senator John McCain said.

    However, behind the “dithering” alleged by the former Vice-President Dick Cheney, some observers believe that Mr Obama may be close to making up his mind.

    “The signs from the White House are that the President has settled on a resource-intensive counter-insurgency approach but because resources are finite there will be an envelope around it,” one official close to the negotiations said.
    Obama breaks from Bush by saluting coffins of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan - Times Online

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjnTpdMFYx0[/YOUTUBE]

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    another good thing
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I love that he did this and I can only hope that it starts a new tradition of respect and reverence by the White House. Just a thought: If we bring everyone home from the war, we don't have to keep going through this.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    It's important for the person who orders people into war to show respect for the sacrifice. This was a good thing.
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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    My highschool friend is in Afghanistan and it makes me nuts everytime I hear that soldiers have been killed.

    Hope he's ok...

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brookie View Post
    I love that he did this and I can only hope that it starts a new tradition of respect and reverence by the White House. Just a thought: If we bring everyone home from the war, we don't have to keep going through this.
    I absolutely agree.

    And this is a small thing, but I was touched by it. If you watch the video, Pres. Obama even walks in synch with the soldiers (not when he's coming off the plane though). And all thw White House staff members were in synch as well, on the salutes and such. He took this really seriously, and took the time to learn about the ceremonial aspects of this. And rightly so. I'm impressed.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Sad, but good..


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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I'm glad Obama did that. But it's a shame that the president who actually started the two wars couldn't be bothered to salute the dead soldiers.

    Dubya's top concern was surrounding himself with troops in front of that stupid 'Mission Accomplished' banner.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    It's good but let's hope he starts making some decisions SOON.

    None of this 'we need patience to sort this out' nonsense.

    Troops are dying for nothing over there, he can show them respect by pulling them out.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    It's good but let's hope he starts making some decisions SOON.

    None of this 'we need patience to sort this out' nonsense.

    Troops are dying for nothing over there, he can show them respect by pulling them out.
    Sadly, I think it boils down to a moral and factual quagmire. And from there, it boils down to a moral value judgment. Which is horrible and the worst sort of decision a leader can be faced w. bc there isn't a defined right v. wrong answer.

    I feel for him- this is a horrific decision. Do you stay the course and perhaps put the kibosh on the Taliban after thousands of US lives? Do you cut your losses and focus on stop-loss measures in the US? It seems to me that it is all in the grey at this point.

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Did Obama ever serve in the military? Otherwise I can almost already
    hear the critics moaning about him saluting without having served
    hiimself......
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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Heartbreaking

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    My brother leaves for Afghanistan this afternoon for the 4th time. I pray Obama is never there to salute his return through Dover.
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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    Sadly, I think it boils down to a moral and factual quagmire. And from there, it boils down to a moral value judgment. Which is horrible and the worst sort of decision a leader can be faced w. bc there isn't a defined right v. wrong answer.

    I feel for him- this is a horrific decision. Do you stay the course and perhaps put the kibosh on the Taliban after thousands of US lives? Do you cut your losses and focus on stop-loss measures in the US? It seems to me that it is all in the grey at this point.
    Well there's the problem. This is why he was chosen to be president of a powerful nation.

    Not to be wishy washy and think politics first, and how his decisions may affect his political viability for being re-elected and also not alienating any constituent, either pro war or anti war.

    I'll never forget what someone taught me not too long ago. The very worst decision you can make in anything is NO decision. Worse than a bad decision.

    I don't care who the president is, he needs to stop with this b.s. and make a decision NOW. People are dying and there's no support either way, more forces, a clear objective/timeline, or pullout.

    For heaven's sake, make SOME decision already. Just because it's him in the white house does not give him excuse to be wishy washy on this.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HWBL View Post
    Did Obama ever serve in the military? Otherwise I can almost already
    hear the critics moaning about him saluting without having served
    hiimself......
    And the best thing to throw back at the critics (right-wing) will be that Dubya was a draft-dodger, but that didn't stop him from starting two wars.

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