Michael's Dispatches

More Flak from Military Public Affairs


29 July 2011
Over the past seven years, there has been a long string of issues flowing from military public affairs officers.  Most of the PAs have been professional, but on balance the experience has been extremely negative.  This is the opposite of what I've experienced with combat units, wherein the experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.

The latest meddling from Public Affairs began yesterday after I published photos supplied to me by the Army.  The images show a young Afghan boy who stepped on a bomb.  Apparently the Taliban made the boy step on the bomb which blew off part of his right leg.  Our people at Task Force Spartan took him in for treatment.  Distant busybodies in Public Affairs, who can’t seem to stand it when the military gets positive press, wanted the story taken down.  (After FOX, Instapundit, and others ran the story.)  They cited paragraph 21 of the embed ground rules.  Perhaps they did not imagine that I would review paragraph 21.  The paragraph is unrelated.  The ground rules are published below.

Importantly, if it were against rules to publish photos of wounded locals, the Army would not have released this photo, which I made in 2005.  Military Public Affairs released this photo (illegally, in breach of my copyright protections) before I did.  Here is the photo of a young Iraqi girl, who died shortly before Public Affairs illegally released the photo:  Little Girl.

And so if releasing this is against the rules, public affairs surely broke those rules when it suited them.  However, paragraph 21 makes no such mention.  There is nothing wrong or illegal against my releasing such images.  Nothing is stated or implied that precludes release.

Distant Public Affairs officers are wasting the time of the busy combat leaders here.  Public Affairs is wasting my time.  Stop.

The outcome of this meddling will be published on my Facebook.

isaf media ground rules-1

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Disappointed · 8 years ago
    Michael, I am a long time admirer of your work but you or your webmaster are eroding some of that goodwill you have earned by your censorship of those with opposing view points. The repeated deletion of Kriste's comments is shameful. Her husband is fighting on the front line for precisely the freedoms such actions take away from his wife.

    I may not personally agree with her message but I do believe she should not be silenced is she chooses to voice it. You can't always be right but you can always be respected if you let your readership challenge and decide for themselves.

    Thank you for all your work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dawn · 8 years ago
    Public affairs and everyone else who sits up in a cubicle somewhere, take note reality,and the truth ,,,will not be silenced. This is war stop trying to micromanage things that cant be. Keep up the great dispatches and know that you are doing a great job.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Lemon · 7 years ago
    I here that the Marine Corps is actually cutting back on their public affairs organization. Apparently they finally decided it was too expensive to play journalist and media escort

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