Permissible Arms

I might call this “Sharks vs Jets.”

Posted in afghanistan, american media, us military by Karaka on 16 October 2009

You know, Michael Yon may be a controversial figure in embed journalism, but the man sure can take a picture.

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These photos were from his dispatch on the Afghan election back in August, still relevant now given that rumours of a runoff have resurfaced. From the Post:

“We’ve got to figure out a way to give legitimacy to whoever wins,” an official said. A second round, “if clean, and if done properly, basically washes away the sins of the first,” he said.

But officials agreed that a new vote would also be fraught with peril. It “definitely cuts both ways,” said J. Alexander Thier of the U.S. Institute of Peace, who hosted Jawad at the think tank Thursday. “On the one hand, holding the runoff could clear away some of the problems and allegations of the first round that have tainted the process and rightly made the administration, if this is truly a work of partnership, want to hold off until they knew who the government was going to be.”

“But at the same time,” Thier said, “there is obviously no guarantee” that a legitimate election could be organized in a few weeks or could avoid another cascade of allegations of abuse.

“There are costs to it, no question,” he added, including the possibility that the Obama administration “would have to go ahead with a [strategy] decision without knowing” who the winner is.

Kate Brooks from Behind the Lens, has some remarkable photographs as well from Abdullah Abdullah’s presidential campaign.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

With the continued fuss about new restrictions on journalist embeds, I think it’s worth the reminder that allowing access for photographers and videographers is the only real counter to the apathy of the general public mentioned frequently by servicemembers.

And speaking personally, photographs are a method of connection, and a method of understanding. I can read all the articles in the world, but a single photograph from this presentation and the Frontline documentary tell me more about the situation on the ground than a dozen articles. Mandating that embeds can or cannot run something has the net effect of further distancing their audience from the war, something I don’t think any of us want.

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One Response

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  1. onparkstreet said, on 17 October 2009 at 08:41

    Agreed – it’s as a diarist and photojournalist that Michael Yon displays his skills, I think.

    Well, I’m a visual person so the photographs always attract. I suspect most people are visual people: it can be a communications problem, sometimes.

    – Madhu


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