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September 25, 2004

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The idea that photojournalism is always anti-war is a lot older than Vietnam: just look at the picture and the reception of Civil War photography. Matthew Brady and Tim O'Sullivan were not exactly anti-war, although there was a strong anti-war movement at the time. But the newborn art of photography brought home the carnage of the Civil War in a way that probably wouldn't have been possible with line art and newspaper reports alone. And these were not "action" photos, but, because of the state of the art at the time, were largely photos of corpses which obligingly sit still for 10-minute exposure times.

Basic truism: photography represents a threat on the domestic front in any war. This is because once people at home get a good look at war, they quite sensibly don't want a damn thing to do with it. So the Pentagon has become quite adept at managing the photomontage of its wars, and we're back in a situation where photojournalists are playing a role similar to the court-appointed painters of the Napoleonic era. Nowadays it's damn, that war looks good.

Is the PKK in Iraq? Last I heard they were not on good terms with the Iraqi Kurds, but I may be out of date here.

Completely, or at least mostly, off topic, but the best view into the mind of a war correspondent is Chris Hedges' book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning".

It's easy to see what would make a journalist want to cover a war, but to understand what addiction would make a journalist want to cover war after war after war for decades on end, this book is a must read.

I second that recommendation for Chris Hedges book.

Is the PKK in Iraq?
Unless the took him across the border while blindfolded (which he didn't think had happened), they had a hideout in Iraq.

Actually, after I wrote I googled it (when will I learn to do this before I post?), and yes, they are. Poor Northern Iraq, is all I have to say.

According to this Life picture (http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0309/lm02.html)Roosevelt wanted the American people to know just what the sacrifice of war was to harden their resolve.

War photography does not have to be anti-war photography particularly if it presents a picture of what will happen if the enemy arrives on your doorstep.

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