Our editors & readers talk
This op-ed by Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger appeared in The Guardian.
When Wikileaks published the harrowing video of the deaths in Iraq of my colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, the world finally had the transparency it should have had about this tragedy.
It was impossible for me to watch and not feel outrage and great sorrow – but this is not about trying to tell anyone else what to feel. This is about trying to find out exactly what happened and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
What I want from the Pentagon – and from all militaries – is simple: Acknowledgment, transparency, accountability.
Acknowledgment means both understanding at headquarters and training in the field that journalists have a right to be on the battlefield, and not just those embedded with a military unit. A journalist’s mission is to provide understanding, provide context and provide the reporting that citizens deserve. That mission requires journalists cover the story from multiple angles, including ones that potentially put them in harm’s way. A war prosecuted in darkness is a war without accountability. The journalist’s role is vital for a democracy and it must be acknowledged.