4,000 U.S. Deaths and a Handful of Images

Zoriah Miller, a freelance photojournalist who published images of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack in Iraq, has been forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country and may be barred from all United States military facilities throughout the world. His case "has underscored what some journalists say is a growing effort by the American military to control graphic images from the war," write Michael Kamber and Tim Arango. "News organizations say that such restrictions are one factor in declining coverage of the war, along with the danger, the high cost to financially ailing media outlets and diminished interest among Americans in following the war. By a recent count, only half a dozen Western photographers were covering a war in which 150,000 American troops are engaged." Miller, who took the photos while embedded with a Marine unit, explains that "the extreme dangers of working in Iraq" make embedding necessary because "it is impossible to for a independent journalist to move freely from place to place without an incredible amount of security and financial resources. ... Without the option to embed, journalists would have to pay literally thousands of dollars a day for security and transportation. To lose the ability to embed is the equivalent of losing your ability to report from Iraq. This is the reason it is important to fight for the rights of embedded journalists to document freely."