Thursday, September 23, 2004

When I read that Eddie Adams had died and saw once more his famous photograph of Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a Vietcong prisoner in the head with a pistol at point-blank range, I remembered the furor this caused at the time. I wondered what the public reaction would have been if major newspapers and television news programs had obtained a photograph of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi executing six prisoners with a pistol in a similar manner. According to a story by Paul McGeough published in the Sidney Morning Herald on July 17, 2004, that is exactly what he did. The SMH documented this with eye-witness accounts from two people. I read a reference to this story in the Chicago Tribune, a paper that, in general, has had some of the best foreign reporting to come out of Iraq. I don't know what other newspapers here covered that story, but it received scant attention. Certainly if the story had been given front-page treatment (or cable-news lead-in treatment) it might have been a wake-up call to the American public about the true state of our Iraqi adventure.

If there had been a photograph of Allawi shooting a prisoner (or prisoners) in the head, many people undecided about the nature of the Iraq war might have been tipped into the anti-war camp.