Fighting For A Free Press?

The escalating hostilities in Afghanistan were evident today when a suicide bomber launched an attack intended for a convoy of American Marines. Initial reports estimate that the blast killed 16 civilians and injured up to 34. Witnesses say that following the attack, the Americans fled, firing indiscriminately at vehicles and pedestrians along a six mile stretch of a busy road. Accounts of these events come primarily from victims of the shootings at a local hospital as well as other eye witnesses on the road. But accounts from local media may not be forthcoming:

“U.S. forces near Sunday’s bombing later deleted photos taken by a freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and video taken by a freelancer working for AP Television News. Neither the photographer nor the cameraman witnessed the suicide attack or the subsequent gunfire. It was not immediately known why the soldiers deleted the photos and videos. The U.S. military didn’t immediately comment on the matter.”

I’m not sure where these soldiers got the idea that they had the authority to interfere with local journalists. I’m not sure how they came to believe that it was acceptable to destroy their photos and video. But I am sure that this is not the way to promote freedom. The Afghan people will certainly hear of these events and it will undoubtedly exacerbate the anti-American sentiment in the region. But suppressing the media, and the truth, will only make things worse by inciting further resentment, distrust, and hostility. And it doesn’t make for a very good example of American values either.