Sunday, April 10, 2005


Immoral Relationships

Wretchard at Belmont Club cleanly dissects the CBS Cameraman incident, in which a local cameraman employed by CBS and present at the scene of a suicide bombing and insurgent firefight, was accidentally shot by U.S. soldiers. Based on statements by Iraqi citizens on the scene, the camerman was detained following treatment.

The cameraman had some highly unusualy footage in his possession, including multiple improvised explosive device (IED). In and of itself, this would be hugely improbable for one photojournalist to be present at so many of these events unless he was complicit with the "insurgents." (Quick, someone call the folks at the Pulitzers, we have a potential prize winner here!)

By the rules of the Geneva Convention and our accepted Laws of War, "journalists" are non-combatants and soldiers must make every effort to protect them. But if they're complict in acts of war, if they work with and for the insurgents, they're combatants. And CBS, if they knowingly employ such people, are complicit in acts of war against the United States.

Let that sink in. CBS may be complicit in acts of war against the United States.

If anyone needs any more convincing, Wretchard poses a thought experiment. He carries us back to his earlier coverage of the AP Photographers, and by imagining how a non-complicit journalist might have experienced these events, underscored how pathetically ridiculous is the suggestion that this could be simply "good fortune" or "extraordinary courage" on the part of these individuals:
Yet the assertion that the AP photographer was expecting to cover some innocent or harmless event seems hard to swallow. The Belmont Club wrote caustically on that occasion:
Here was where the killers really lucked out. The AP photographer, though caught at unawares, who definitely had no "foreknowledge" of what was going down and at the worst expected a street demonstration, did not take cover, even as soldiers and Marines are trained to do when shooting starts. He was made of sterner stuff and held his ground, taking pictures of people he did not know killing individuals he did not recognize for reasons he would not have known about. This -- in the midst of "30 armed insurgents, hurling hand grenades and firing guns" -- as the Associated Press report says. And he continued to take photographs for a fairly long period of time, capturing not just a single photograph, but a sequence of them.

The Belmont Club pointed out that the main danger to the insurgents on Haifa Street was the risk it would be compromised to US and Iraqi security forces. And that holds doubly true for the insurgents who planned the roadside bomb attacks against American troops captured by the CBS cameraman. Had those 'insurgents' the slightest doubt of the reliability of that AP photographer or the CBS cameraman they would not have proceeded with the operation. The insurgents' willingness to tip off these persons, protected as noncombatants under the Geneva Convention, to forthcoming attacks where surprise was the prerequisite for the survival of the attacking force speaks volumes about the relationship between the insurgents and these 'noncombatant protected persons'.
Wretchard concludes as I conclude, that at the least, these relationships reveal a stunning immorality on the part of some Western media, in which they are fully complicit with the public relations aims of enemies to the U.S. and free Iraq:

"It is common practice ... several brave Iraqi photographers ... covering the communities they live in ... give them access" are weasel phrases which cannot disguise the essentially immoral relationship where news agencies bestow protected person status on enemy combatants in exchange for bloody images which can then be sold for money. Personally, I would rather be the man who takes the photos, at some risk to myself, than the man who commissions them. It's cleaner.

This has to stop. Opposition is one thing, valid criticism is the foundation of a free society. Actively supporting foreign enemies and cooperating with their public relations war -- which is the only one they can possibly win -- doesn't make these people just "against the war," it puts them on the other side. And that used to be called treason.

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