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Iraq to Bar Media Coverage of Bombings

Iraq Civil War

Hi everyone, it’s Jeralyn from TalkLeft filling in for Jane this afternoon.

I was going to write about opening arguments in the Jose Padilla trial, or the new DNA database legislation introduced by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer that would make it easier for inmates to request DNA testing to establish their innocence or the three missing soldiers in Iraq, for whom al-Qaida now warns the U.S. to cease search efforts and whom it now seems were seized in retaliation for the 2005 Mahmudiya rape and killing of a teenage girl, but then I spotted this:

Iraq’s interior ministry has decided to bar news photographers and camera operators from the scenes of bomb attacks, operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said on Sunday (local time).

His announcement was the latest in a series of attempts to curtail press coverage of the ongoing conflict, which has already attracted criticism from international human rights bodies.

That got me thinking, how real is the War in Iraq to Americans who don’t have a loved one fighting in the conflict? Where has the news coverage been of the gory daily details?

For those of you old enough to remember the media coverage of the Vietnam War, you’ll remember how vividly it was brought to us every evening on our television screens by the nightly news programs.

Without the internet or e-mail, a massive anti-war movement grew. I don’t think anyone doubts that it contributed to the war’s end.

By contrast, we hardly ever see the damage inflicted in Iraq up close and personal on television news. The war has become something we hear about in headlines, like “5 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq” and “37 Civilians Killed by Roadside Bomb,” but we don’t actually see it.

Maybe we should. Maybe the visceral effect of watching people die and be maimed, which is a daily occurrence in Iraq, would spark greater outrage here at home and force Congress to act to end this war once and for all.

So, what do you think? Is the media doing its part to expose the atrocities in Iraq? Has self-restraint dictated media coverage to date or is the Administration controlling what the media shows?

This new embargo on showing bombings in Iraq is very troubling. I think Americans need to see the blood and gore to absorb the reality of war and the lives lost.

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Jeralyn Merritt

Jeralyn Merritt

Jeralyn is a Denver-based criminal defense attorney. She writes daily at TalkLeft: the Politics of Crime .