Take a picture of dead soldier, or the child of a killed Iraqi family, broadcast it on your blog, and what happens? Photo journalist Zoriah Miller has found out. He was kicked out of his ‘embed,’ which is the name for the pack of journalists permitted to travel with a group of soldiers and report what those in command want reported. Afterwards, he was prohibited from traveling in any Marine-patrolled area of Iraq. The military command worked to get him kicked out of the country altogether.
Yes, it all seems very premodern and primitive, and contrary to all our pieties about the free flow of information — the First Amendment and all that. But from the government’s point of view, it is running the war, and it should control what people know about it to the same extent it controls everything else about the war. As a result, after 4,000 dead soldiers, countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, millions of wounded on all sides, there are only a handful of bloody pictures to be found anywhere.
Amazing isn’t it, just how effective the state can actually be when it cares intensely about something?