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April 28. 2012 6:41PM

Pictures matter: L.A. Times showed poor judgment

Two-year-old photographs of some American soldiers posing with the remains of Afghan suicide bombers surfaced in the Los Angeles Times a couple of weeks ago. Isn't it awful? Well, yes.

It is awful of the newspaper to have published the pictures, in which our soldiers' faces and units are clearly identifiable.

Some of those soldiers are currently redeployed in Afghanistan. Running these photos isn't good for their safety. In fact, running such photos does nothing at all good for the safety of any of our troops overseas, which is why Defense Secretary Leon Panneta asked the newspaper not to run them.

Young men at war face terrible situations. Sometimes they do not think before they act, and it would be better had they not posed for such pictures.

But their lapse in judgment is a heck of a lot less questionable and consequential than that of a major American news media outlet.

Incidentally, the writer Ann Marlowe, who has covered U.S. troops in combat, notes in the Wall Street Journal that the picture-posing was probably less “culturally insensitive'' to Afghans than to Americans. The Afghans are the chief victims of suicide bombings and thus “hate suicide bombers as no one else does.''


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