Our 'out of control' troops in Iraq

The U.S. military's killing of Reuters soundman Waleed Khaled on August 28 is just the most recent example of how dangerous Iraq has become for journalists.

David Schlesinger, the global managing editor for Reuters news services, warned the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the situation in Iraq is "spiralling out of control," and in the process preventing Americans from learning the reality about the conditions on the ground in that country.

In a letter to John Warner, head of the Senate committee, "Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of U.S. troops with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday."

According to Reuters, which has lost four journalists in Iraq, three of which the U.S. military acknowledges killing, "at least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in the Iraq conflict since March 2003."

Schlesinger's letter continues:

"The worsening situation for professional journalists in Iraq directly limits journalists' abilities to do their jobs and, more importantly, creates a serious chilling effect on the media overall." [...]
"By limiting the ability of the media to fully and independently cover the events in Iraq, the US forces are unduly preventing US citizens from receiving information ... and undermining the very freedoms the US says it is seeking to foster every day that it commits US lives and US dollars."
"It appears as though the U.S. forces in Iraq either completely misunderstand the role of professional journalists or do not know how to deal with journalists in a conflict zone, or both."
Another journalist working for Reuters, freelance cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor, was arrested by Iraqi troops four months ago and the U.S. military says a "secret hearing held last week had found him to be 'an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq.'"

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