Pictures, more than ever, tell Iraq story
By GEOFF PEVERE
TheStar.com - Pictures, more than ever, tell Iraq story:
"The power of these images lies in their unofficial status. They capture candid and uncontrolled moments from a regime that has otherwise exerted a certain fanaticism in the area of message management.
Bush, possibly the least public and most verbally impaired of all Presidents, is hardly ever permitted to hold forth extemporaneously. (When he spoke before the commission investigating his government's response to Sept. 11, Bush did so on the rather startling condition that his testimony be held behind closed doors and not recorded. So much for history.)
Working with a largely compliant mainstream media, the administration had, for the first several months of the war, successfully prevented images of dead American soldiers - or their families - from making it to TV. War journalists are 'embedded' by the U.S. military or they don't cover the war.
Now all that's in meltdown. With stellar timing, Fahrenheit 9/11 debuted at one of the world's most-watched movie events at the same time that other crisis of image mismanagement - the photos and videos depicting prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison - was erupting daily in the world press.
The story there was in the pictures: pictures taken by American military personnel of their comrades in arms in the act of torturing Iraqi prisoners, recorded with digital cameras that everybody now uses, and e-mailed anywhere instantly.
Massive chinks were now apparent in the Bush administration's once impenetrable public relations armour, and they were being caused by people taking pictures."