Friday, October 21, 2005

Media omnipresence in wartime

I am not posting this in attempt to convert anyone to "flower-power" (as I still believed in armed action in certain circumstances), but I was reading an article from Radio Free Afghanistan about the burning of dead Taliban bodies, and I realized that war in the information age seems to be quite problematic.

The 10-cent version of the story is that U.S. soldiers killed two Taliban fighters, then burned the corpses after 24-48 hours for health reasons. In addition, while the corpses were burning the soldiers called out to the remaining Taliban (over a loudspeaker), taunting them with only slightly more inflammatory remarks than Governor Schwarzenegger. After reading the article, the only thing I can find that the soldiers did wrong is they did not follow the Muslim practice of cleaning and burying the bodies within 24 hours of death.

Was this act overblown? Poor judgment? Wrong? Reprehensible?

With the media (or video recording devices) seemingly everywhere, has war stopped becoming a viable option, due to the ability of opponents to manipulate even smaller transgressions?

Do we want to keep the "war" card on the table and somehow limit media access?