Sunday, July 27, 2008

Does the military have the right to control graphic images?

Freelance photographer, Zoriah Miller took photos of Marines KIA and posted them on his website. He has now been forbidden to work in Marine Corps in Iraq. "Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the Marine commander in Iraq, is now seeking to have Mr. Miller barred from all United States military facilities throughout the world."

Read the NY times article here.

Here’s the argument...

Technically publishing photos of dead Soldiers is not barred under the “embed” rules...however, out of respect for the fallen Soldiers and their families should these photos be published? Or is this just our government and our military attempting to control journalist? Censorship at its best? Does the public have a right to view such photos? Do we even want too? Would opponents of the war exploit images of fallen Soldiers? I personally do not want opponents of the war plastering images of dead Soldiers everywhere...doesn't sit well with me. On the other hand...I believe the public has become desensitized to the same tired video/photos of Soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan. It is always Soldiers with weapons in hand, running up and down the street...that is it. It is useless imagery...says nothing...means nothing...effects no one. So I'm up in the air with this one. On one hand, I do not want dead Soldiers photos exploited by people for personal gains but I believe the public should really see the effects of war. What if you flipped on the news and saw something besides just a random number…some news reporter wouldn’t just be blurting out 11 Soldiers killed by an IED, photos would be attached. Dead Americans. Would it compel us to do something? Pay more attention? Would the war suddenly be reported more? Or would it have the opposite effect…would we cringe, feel sick to our stomachs, force the war further out of our minds…would we turn off our Tvs all at the same time…and neglect reality? Maybe we should start with something this administration has barred, photos of flag-draped coffins. 4,000 and counting.

*This posted is dedicated to Patrick. My professor emailed everyone in my class my blog address...and Patrick emailed me this afternoon and "half expected" to see a reaction to this NY times article. Here ya go Patrick.


Anonymous Patrick said...

Reality has been so easily rejected by so many for so long that it has found a few ways to sneak back into the lives of some Americans.
Maybe if less people voted for American Idol than for President gas wouldn't be $4+/gallon.

I've never had a blog post dedicated to me before. Thanks :~)

7/27/2008 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miller's photos have created a minor stir in some circles. I viewed the photos. My first thought was for the families. I understand releases were held until notification was complete. A courtesy which does not
change the effect of viewing such photos by these Marine's families. That said, this war has been cleansed, sanitized and hidden from the general public. Many Vets wonder why average, civilian America has a disconnect regarding the war. We are fed brief news blurbs, the same video clip as you mentioned, the latest KIA-with the focus on the total number of KIA, not so much the individual soldier killed. I don't know how many citizens actively seek alternate news sources, such as overseas outlets or read news published from European or Mid East sources to gain a more comprehensive picture as to the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Those of us who do read many sources consistently rarely find a way to discuss the material. I work in a large medical complex, and those who are able to discuss the war with any knowledge at all are those who have family serving or one surgeon who previously deployed. Would a steady stream of bloody newsreals wake folks up, force people pay attention? I don't know. I grew up with Viet Nam footage rolling every night during dinner. There is no doubt these images along with those in Life and Time magazines, played a part in eroding citizen support or approval of that war. Perhaps it is just my age, but these times have a different 'feel' than that of the 60's and 70's. There was energy, engagement, discussion, excitemet 'back in the day'. The air feels heavy with complacency and weariness these days. Would photos and videos of broken bodies, bloody streets, flag draped coffins shake our citizens from malaise? I would hope so, but wouldn't bet on it. It's the same folks who've sat by as our country has shifted from producing to importing, companies acquired by foreign owners, businesses moving from the USA for cheaper labor, our economy drained to support the war effort and KBR. And we've sat by as our politicians accomplish next to nothing. But that may also be a good thing in a way-and another discussion! Time to end this simple overview of a complicated topic.

7/28/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Juan said...

I don't really have a problem of him taking the pictures, he just should not have posted them unless pretty much the family and most of the Marines agreed to allow him to post it. It's not every day you see a BC, Fox 6, and a CPL dead.

8/04/2008 04:53:00 PM  

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