Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bush Sanitized War By Censoring Photos

NYT: While the Bush administration faced criticism for overt political manipulation in not permitting photos of flag-draped coffins, the issue is more emotional on the battlefield: local military commanders worry about security in publishing images of the American dead as well as an affront to the dignity of fallen comrades. Most newspapers refuse to publish such pictures as a matter of policy.

But opponents of the war, civil liberties advocates and journalists argue that the public portrayal of the war is being sanitized and that Americans who choose to do so have the right to see — in whatever medium — the human cost of a war that polls consistently show is unpopular with Americans.

Journalists say it is now harder, or harder than in the earlier years, to accompany troops in Iraq on combat missions. Even memorial services for killed soldiers, once routinely open, are increasingly off limits. Detainees were widely photographed in the early years of the war, but the Department of Defense, citing prisoners’ rights, has recently stopped that practice as well.

4,000 soldiers dead, 90,000 Iraqis dead.
Independent photog Zoriah Miller's photos will break your heart. Zoriah's blog.

The military eventually tossed Zoriah out of a Marine unit for documenting the war.

These photos are graphic and hard to look at but maybe we should all see them and wonder what the hell? 

Why did we let Bush and his war mongers drag us into a war that didn't need to be fought. No wonder soldiers are coming back with PTSD.

We ought to be outraged. But ultimately, it isn't Bush's fault. It's ours. We elected him. We let it happen.