Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 5, 2006

Haditha: Return Of The "Bad Apples?"

Hadithasequence1

The overwhelming majority of American troops in Iraq are

dedicated military professionals, doing their best to behave

correctly under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Their

good name requires a serious inquiry, not another deflection

of blame to the lowest-ranking troops on the scene.

— from NYT editorial (6/4/06)

As the Haditha killings work their way into the public consciousness and impact the political calculus of the war, The BAG is curious how the corresponding visual narrative is going to play.

These three shots — taken on a night raid in Haditha and dated simply “2005” — showed up on yesterday’s newswire.  By grouping them together and adding a little “noise,” don’t they look like frames from a dramatic recreation on a true crime docu-drama?

Having gone through the Abu Ghraib cycle where visual evidence was used to exclusively put away a whole group of low level soldiers, I couldn’t be more cynical of file photos like this.  If the higher ups who were responsible for training, supervising and reining in the renegade soldiers are not held to circumspection, and the officers who tried to cover-up the event are also shielded, then affecting images like these — which draw lurid attention to the triggermen, and are only too readily served up by the MSM –  can only function as the government’s latest weapon of mass distraction.



(images:  Jaime Razuri/AFP.  2005.  Haditha.  Via YahooNews.  Caption from 1 & 2: US Marines raid a house during a night raid in the Iraqi town of Haditha )

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