On Memorial Day: No Photographs of American Wounded, Please | Harper's Magazine

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On Memorial Day: No Photographs of American Wounded, Please


As the New York Times’s David Carr notes, the Pentagon seems to be taking a page from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It has just issued

paragraph 11(a) of IAW Change 3, DoD Directive 5122.5:

“Names, video, identifiable written/oral descriptions or identifiable photographs of wounded service members will not be released without the service member’s prior written consent.”

This decision is designed to make it increasingly difficult for American news organizations to transmit images of wounded service personnel from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It dovetails with the existing Pentagon policy on photographs of coffins of the dead being returned to the United States.

I wish I could say this was motivated by respect for the wounded service personnel and their rights. In fact, it’s quite plain it’s not.

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