Questions Are Discouraged When Women in Military Die

Department of DefenseQuestions Are Discouraged When Women in Military Die

Pentagon seeks to spin, squelch stories on female fatalities

More than 140 U.S. military women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military has officially placed nearly 50 of these deaths in the ambiguous “non-combat” category. In at least two of the 20 deaths under scrutiny, the military has tried to strongarm media that were questioning the official ruling, in one case threatening to pull military advertising if a story were to run.

During a decade of war, the old observation that truth is war’s first casualty has been reconfirmed. Perhaps most notoriously, the military was caught lying that Army Ranger Pat Tillman had died from enemy fire, when in fact his own unit had cut him (Nation, 5/25/09). The Tillman family accused the Department of Defense of covering up the real reason of death so as to protect the military’s image as it aggressively sought volunteers for the “Global War on Terror.”

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