Fumento With the Band of Brothers
This article is terrific
!The Iraq war is covered mostly by reporters who hole up in Baghdad hotels and send out Iraqi stringers to collect what the reporters deem news, as an article in the April 6, 2006, New York Review of Books described in great detail. The reporters convert these accounts into prose and put them on the wire. Except for that all-powerful "Baghdad" dateline, they might just as well be writing from Podunk. But you can't just blame reporters for the non-coverage. I asked military public affairs for 15 days in Ramadi, was told the request had been granted, flew to Baghdad, and only then was informed that I would instead be sent to Fallujah, with a few days in Ramadi to come later. Last year I was also told I would be embedded in Ramadi, only to have it denied entirely once I arrived in Iraq.
Part of the public affairs officers' reasoning probably is that it's bad karma to lose a reporter, and Ramadi is a likely place to do so as photographer Toby Morris discovered a few months earlier. While on patrol with the 1st Battalion's D Company, he tried to photograph some soldiers while standing in the middle of the road. Big mistake. A sniper nailed him in the thigh, shattering his femur. Sgt. Patrick Meyer leaped to drag him to safety, only to be shot himself in the leg while the sniper pumped a third round into Morris, snapping his ankle. Morris now has a rod in his femur and a plate in his ankle. Meyer is still recovering. Soldiers repeatedly told me this story, which initially I thought was meant to get a rise out of me. Later I realized it was intended as a warning; even small mistakes in Ramadi can lead to pain and death. I promised myself I wouldn’t unnecessarily expose myself for any photograph; nor would any soldier risk his life for me. I would soon break both promises.
Lots of multimedia as well. Highly recommended!