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...Saluting Coffins of 18 Americans Killed in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Nov 2, 2009.


    X-PASTER Moderator

    Nov 2, 2009
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    Obama Breaks From Bush by Saluting Coffins of 18 Americans Killed in Afghanistan

    Times Online

    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.

  2. B

    Bull JF-Expert Member

    Nov 2, 2009
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    Kama wao wameenda Afghan kwa mission ya kuuwa, wacha waafghani wawawahi kabla hawajaanza kuuwazaidi wanawake, wazee na watoto. Shame on them!!!

    X-PASTER Moderator

    Nov 2, 2009
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    Bush alikuwa anaficha kuhusu askari wanao uwawa kwenye medani za kivita, ila naona jaluo anakwenda kinyuma na kichaka...!

    May be ni mbinu mojawapo ya kutaka kuondoka Afghanistan, maana kelele zikizidi za raiya zao watakuwa wamepatia sababu ya kuondoka, kuliko wakiondoka sasa wataonekana kuwa wameshindwa vita.