The Place Of Journalists
I am writing regarding the August 27 Tech editorial, “Let Journalists Do Their Job In Iraq.” This detailed the tragic death of Reuters journalist Mazen Dana, who was fired on by U.S. troops when the shoulder-held camera he was pointing at them from a distance was mistaken for a rocket launcher by the soldiers. Although the story was correct in classifying this death as tragic, it was absurdly off the mark in claiming that “Members and the audience of the press alike should demand that journalists be allowed to work without fear of ambush from soldiers.”
The use of the word “ambush” is preposterous, inaccurate, and a disservice to those involved in this tragic accident. Furthermore, while it clearly takes courage to risk one’s life in order to report from a war zone, the media are well aware that they are doing just that -- risking their own lives. The editorial states that the “ world’s media outfits are still outraged at what they see as the careless and unnecessary use of weapons in civilian situations, especially when their colleagues are involved.” There are no “civilian situations” in Iraq, a fact which should be painfully apparent to anyone not living in a cave who is aware that the majority of military casualties have occurred since major combat operations ceased. Regardless of one’s opinion of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, they are there. And whether the media is outraged or not, their job is not nearly as dangerous or critical as that of the military.
Let the media continue their noble search for “truth and knowledge,” and ratings. But stay out of the way, don’t wander around “hot” areas unescorted, and let the military do their job in Iraq.
Christopher Hamel G