July 1, 2007  


For politicizing the issue of when and how photographs of wounded American troops can be published. New rules now being imposed on photographers embedded with American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan require a signed release from a wounded service member before a photograph can be published. The practical effect of that rule, to somehow be complied with during the chaos of combat, is to bar photos of the wounded. This is not about ensuring next-of-kin are notified before a photograph is published. A system for that, although not perfect, is widely honored and works. The deliberate impracticality of the new rule smacks of message control. War is often an ugly business. There is honor in combat; there is also pain, grief and great sacrifice. None of that should be hidden from the American people, who deserve an honest picture of war — good, bad and even disturbing.