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Obama makes midnight visit to Dover Air Force Base to honor fallen soldiers

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Like him or loath him, you have to give Obama credit for such actions. Indeed, one of the biggest responsibilities of those who order others into harms way is being there to see the outcome of such actions, positive and otherwise.

On a related topic, in addition to the somewhat spotted service record of some senior members of the previous administration, one thing I found very upsetting was the policy that tended to ignore the return of casualties . Such secrecy is totally uncalled for. In an open society, if people (the nation in general) are to send their kids off to fight, then they must be able to live with the scenes of body-bags and wounded coming home.

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timorborder,

No offense, but this is one article I really hope nobody interjects their politics in just out of decency, no matter how mild of a criticism. Your a war vet and I am a war vet we can understand that between us. I'll let these words below speak for themselves.

To always place the mission first.

To never accept defeat.

To never quit.

To never leave a fallen comrade.

This is the American soldier.

Never forget.

May their spirits find peace now that they have returned home.

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timorborder

Like him or loath him, you have to give Obama credit for such actions.

I do give him credit, but I would have given him more credit had there been no direct press coverage.

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This is only for PR. His approval ratings are in the toilet.

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The pattern is now clear. Obama will make a highly visible token act of respect or seemingly good faith while or before he stabs the same group in the back.

Morale among US troops in Afghanistan is reported to be at an all-time low.

The majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

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Creepy to do this at midnight......

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The Pentagon this year lifted its 18-year ban on media covering the return of U.S. service members killed in action if family permission is provided.

Thank you, Secretary Gates.

The majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

If so, it is clear that President Obama has continued too many of the policies initiated by his predecessor. Nearly everyone thought the country was headed in the wrong direction from 2006 on. (Earlier for many, if not most.) That it still may be headed that way is a clear indictation of the lack of a break from what went before.

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This is merely a stunt to try to win approval ratings and make it seems like he is doing something about the war that he said we should have been fighting.

If the US wants to get ahead in this war, they have the most powerful tool at their hand right now that Bush didn't have, namely the free press. IF Obama ordered the US troops to take off the gloves, and revise the rules of engagement so that we will not be giving Talibani, Pashtun or whomever, chances to hit us first then hide among the civil population, that will probably decrease some of the attacks. However, unlike in the case with Bush, the press (in my opinon) "owes" a lot to Obama and he just simply needs to call in the favor. Don't highlight the fact negativly that the US is fighting back, but highlight the fact that the enemy is the one using tactics like hiding in Mosques and among innocents.

I think that the US media is far better (even though it leans to the left) than all of Al Jezeria and if they really wanted to we could win the public opinion war. Just my thoughts.

Overall, a nice gesture from the President. But it really dosen't solve anything.

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Not an American and never served in any military, but if my son was and died and the President came to the place where he came back to home soil, I don't think I would be critical. People on both sides of politics should realize that sometimes a President or Prime Minister can do things not for publicity but because they want to do it. At the risk of offending everyone, I don't think Bush OR Obama takes any pleasure in US casualties. The question is what to do now. Regardless of decisions made in the past or who you think was right or wrong, Obama has- to make that decision now, and if I were him, I would be consulting with as many people - military and non-military who know Afghanistan. If I were American, I wouldn't have voted for Obama, but now that he is President, I applaud him for taking his time. Anyone who thinks there is an easy answer to what to do in Afghanistan is in delusion.

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Bravo Zulu to the fallen and Bravo Zulu to our President....Nuff said

Well said sailwind, this not a moment to throw in politics. These folks deserve their nations respect.

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At least President Obama made the effort to respect our fallen troops.

Thank you. < :-)

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Good move.

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This may be a sign that he's preparing to anounce a surge. Otherwise, people may perceive that all the war casualties may be in vain.

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He did not do this for publicity, as it was unannounced. The Associated Press is present for every transfer of remains, so he would obviously be seen by them. Even the story on CNN and ABC websites are filed by the AP.

I don't think any one of us could imagine the weight of a decision like this. President Obama sees reports every day about what is going on, but doesn't get to see the human side very often. I think it was a very good thing for him to view the transfer.

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"A president of two inherited wars"

This is all Bush's fault.

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I am glad that he went, but like I said, I think it was for publicity. If as some say it was not, then why the story at all. He should have just went and not worry about it. To go in the "still of the night" to me seems a bit of a dishonor. True he is paying his respects, but he should be able to do the same in the broad daylight with opposition press around.

Once again, I am glad he is honoring the dead, but to do so under cover, you may as well just not do it. I know he is the President, but trust me, I have seen these men make ship movements delayed so that one could fly out and greet the ship, so I am sure it would not have been a real problem to get the flight to arrive in daylight.

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As a war vet...I applaud our president. To any American or otherwise who says this is for publicity, shame on you.

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As a vet, I ask, when is our Ditherer in Chief going to give our brave troops in Afghanistan the extra troops they need? ( the extra troops that our military commanders and our defense secretary say our troops in Afghnaistan need )

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Alpha,

to go in the "still of the night" to me seems a bit of a dishonor.

They land in the still of night of night at Dover to avoid the flight traffic and daily operations. It is on purpose so there will be silence when the plane lands and after she shuts down her engines that Dover will be silent, and they effect the transfer of our fallen.

They do not wish jet noise or flight-ops during this. It is not a dishonor that they do this at this time, it is in fact a great honor. Just wanted you to be aware as to why these things happen at the late hour when they return home.

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so I am sure it would not have been a real problem to get the flight to arrive in daylight

You want a flight filled with the fallen soldiers to be delayed, so more of the media can be there?

Democrat or Republican president, soldiers are just doing what their ordered to do and honouring the dead should be free of politics.

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Heaven forbid he would do this in the light of day.

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Heaven forbid he would do this in the light of day.

Your into jet noise and flight-ops during this transfer?

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Vietnam all over again. Americans seem to be totally incapable of learning the lessons of history.

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The gutless bush administration was never willing to really face the deaths of our soldiers, I am sure in their hearts they were ashamed of the deaths that occurred in the end for no reason at all, other than oil.

Obama does not need more PR, he is the president. He did this because he is a man of character and he is deciding if he wants to see more US soldiers die in ultimately a failed war. The Russians lost 15,000 and killed 800,000 Afgans in their nine year failure. The US has been there 8 years now. Enough is enough. He needs to end yet another Bush failure.

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"Vietnam all over again"

You wish.

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Your into jet noise and flight-ops during this transfer?

What an inane comment! You and I both know ALL traffic would be diverted if the POTUS was to show up. Heck, they even shut down the Rhine for W! The RHINE for heaven's sake! Surely a runway or two would be silenced for Obama.

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Sarge, real life isn't ARGOSY magazine. It's time for your country to grow up and stop loving war.

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"The gutless bush administration" blah blah blah

Yeah, if the Bush administration was gutless, they never would have ordered U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

"The Russians lost 15,000..."

The U.S. has lost way fewer.

"and killed 800,000 Afghans"

The U.S. has killed way fewer.

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Beel, we don't love war, we just win wars, for your benefit, lol.

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I'm sure both Bush and Obama feel respect and consideration for the people who die for the US. They're human beings.

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So if the POTUS is coming to meet the plane with the fallen soldiers on it, they should delay the flight with the fallen soldiers on board, completely break with tradition and change the flight schedules of all the airplanes in the area for the whole day. All so the POTUS can visit when the sun is up and more media can arrive to take more of the same type of pictures? Is it that anything done at night is some how less respectful?

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Is it that anything done at night is some how less respectful?

Not necessarily, but there is supposed to be a new openness in the current administration. I, like many, am very suspicious of stuff that goes on either behind closed doors, or under the subterfuge of night.

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"deaths that occurred in the end for no reason at all, other than oil."

I don't think it's trolling, can't speak for American soldiers but the Canadian soldiers that died in Afghanistan sadly seemed to have died for no reason at all. The Afghanistan government is corrupted, the democratic process(I.E. elections) is a shame and the government still voted in Sharia law. It's truely sad that gave their lives to fight for what the beleive in, when the people they were fighting for don't really seem to care all that much.

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Successive empires have found to their chagrin that Afghanistan is where they go to die. Not being a very astute student of history, the US has been condemned to make that same mistake. Death, slowly and publicly. But would they listen? Good_Jorb above makes an excellent point. Not to mention that in the past 24hours the US administration seems to have given Karzai the cold shoulder, after the CIA links to his drug-lord brother were made public. The Taliban have very local interests. They want foreigners off their land. They're not afraid to fight for years and years and years to achieve that. Like Mao said, "Guerrilla war is only over when the guerrillas decide it is." Over to you NATO & Obama?!

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under the subterfuge of night.

What could the POTUS have done on the subterfuge of night when watching the dead being loaded of a plane? Pick his nose, spit, turn into the undead? I am sorry but I can't see there being anything Nefarious that the president could have done, well being surround by soldiers even in the middle of the night.

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"we don't love war, we just win wars, for your benefit, lol."

Which wars, Sarge? I'm assuming that you aren't old enough to be in WW2 so if you're in the military now you are a LOSER.

Afghanistan = no "victory" in sight, forget about Osama? Iraq = quagmire, no WMDs, just occupying a country is not victory Vietnam = U.S got their ass kicked. Running with tail between the legs. Korea = North Korea is still there.

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Good_Jorb, relax, I'm on your side. I'm thinking back to when W decided that there would be no coverage of either the transport, unloading or, even, burials of fallen soldiers. My take is that everyone who serves deserves the right to a full, publicly broadcast funeral. Maybe THEN the "We the People" would get angry enough to bring enough pressure on the pols to stop this madness. That's the openness that I'd like to see.

Maybe this undefined lunacy called Afghanistan would come to a swift end?

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If you don't think this is a PR stunt then you are naive.

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If you don't think this is a PR stunt then you are naive.

Agree. If the Nobel Peace Prize means anything, Obama should be moving swiftly to extricate NATO & the US from this Quagmire of Quagmires, and find a better alternative.

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I'm thinking back to when W decided that there would be no coverage of either the transport, unloading or, even, burials of fallen soldiers.

Wrong. That decision was made during Clinton's administration. But, hey, don't take my word for it. From this article:

The Pentagon this year lifted its 18-year ban on media covering the return of U.S. service members killed in action if family permission is provided.

Next time, how about reading the story before posting.

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Vietnam = U.S got their ass kicked. Running with tail between the legs.

Having served in combat in that one I seem to recall a thing called The Paris Peace Accords signed in 1972.

Korea = North Korea is still there.

A peace treaty has yet to be signed between NK and the U.N.; hence, that war is still not officially over.

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Having served in combat in that one I seem to recall a thing called The Paris Peace Accords signed in 1972.

Did the Paris Peace Accords mandate a roof top exit?

As for the POTUS to witness the price of American foreign policy roll onto the tarmac, I think it is always a good idea. It is also PR, but then again you can say any record of the POTUS doing something is a PR event. But images do have meaning. Obama went in the middle of the night to witness the return of the fallen. I never could understand why Bush could not have done the same.

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Wrong. That decision [of the Pentagon to ban the media from covering the return of the fallen] was made during Clinton's administration. But, hey, don't take my word for it.

Let's see: Eighteen years back from 2009 puts us in November of 1991. That would be the administration of George H.W. Bush.

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Re: the previous should read -- "November of 1991 at the latest."

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RR: Wrong. That decision was made during Clinton's administration. But, hey, don't take my word for it.

Don't worry we won't.

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What isn't for show sometimes. I mean I hear how he's using this as a photo opportunity. Gosh sure. Kinda like george bush riding onto the USS Lincoln and strutting across the ship with the flakjacket and the "Mission Accomplished" banner waving in the back.

It doesn't make the act wrong in it self. But strictly showboating like the USS Lincoln deal and the republicans see nothing wrong. < :-)

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My fear is that yes, this will become Pres. Obama's Mission Accomplished moment.

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I would have been happier if there had not been any cameras! Hope we only hear of it. Noticed that the cameras were on him and not those of the coffins.

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SushiSake3, FYI, I have served my country with 20 plus years in the USN. So if they let me back in, I would go (actually, I will have to anyway since even though I am retired, I am still on the list to be called back up at the President's discretion).

So be mindful of what you post, others may actually know what they are talking about in these matters.

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sushi: I served. I did my time and if need be, I'd do it again. it is not me what they need, they need leadership who isn't afraid of losing political points. So to the writer of the Huff and puff post, let him or her try it for even a short time - heck without having to go into combat. I feel those of us who have served have every right to make an opinionated statement. I don't recall losing that right. When was the last time you pulled a bullet out of someone or have had to try to figure whose body parts belong to who? Unless you've been there, I would ask you quit trying silence us. We do at times come up with valid points. And of all people, you back a lady like Huffington....

lastly, it would have been a lot better if MSNBC hadn't used the moment to say "ah... look at this president look at his stress". They treated like a photo opt. One day when you have a kid and he/she goes into combat and comes back like that, would you really feel this good about them bypassing your kid's info and the only important thing there was "the prez was there"? They are under his watch now, it is hardly a Kodak Moment. Now, what many of you don't know, a particular usual poster here on JT who I know personally lost one his sons not too long ago. Obama didn't show up for that one coming back.

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I would ask you quit trying silence us.

Oh please. This is the internet, who's gonna stop you? Certainly not any of the JT posters you spar with. So, continue the drama queen act if that is what need to do, but I would rather hear your ideas rather than your paranoia.

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This was nothing more than a photo op for a struggling president that can't make a decision unless it creates entitlements for future votes. Obama is "Jimmy Carter" part 2 (but less manly)...

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The relaxing of military rules was done so for political reasons. Only one family gave permission for photos to be taken. The remainder did not.

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I dont think they would have gone at all if that one family had not given permission to let the cameras come in. I would like to note about how this president almost gleefully used casualties when he was a senator to attck Bush's foreign policies in the Middle East. Also about how he has put his hand picked generals leaving voice mails for months and months when they say they need something.

Now lets not forget that Afganastan actually attacked America and the taliban and al qaeda did actually commit acts of war against the USA before talking about this and that.

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