Photo appropriate or not?

Editor's note: On Wednesday, we sent an e-mail question to 100 of our readers, asking them what they thought of that day's Page 1 photo of the Marines and a dead Iraqi fighter. We received a dozen responses, a few of which are included below:

“While photos of war are disturbing, I think it is good to keep reminding people that we are in a war and deaths will happen. Perhaps then the war will end sooner.”

“Photo OK. Better them than us. I don't like to see any of our boys dead or wounded but that's the reality of war. People need to know.”

“While I do remember the photo, it didn't have a significant affect on me. I've a feeling that had that been a terrorist standing over an American service man I would have had a much stronger reaction. I suspect I would consider that propaganda in favor of the terrorists. Was the picture you did present propaganda for the administration? Maybe, but then as we're all Americans here in America I couldn't look at the picture in anything but a positive light. We are at war.”

“When I first saw the photo, I thought it was inappropriate. However, I did take the time yesterday to think about it. The photo is a reflection of war and the photo itself is not offensive. But the fact that a photo of a dead Iraqi fighter was prominently placed in the newspaper is no different than our enemies displaying photos or other footage of Americans killed in war. Using the media to display your "victories" is the new way governments gain support for their military efforts. Even though the concept is gruesome, it is the times that we live in.”

“Although I am a photographer myself working for a newspaper...I have a hard time appreciating photos of dead soldiers REGARDLESS of their ethnicity. I don't think it does anything but make people cringe.”

“It was too graphic. We get enough of this coverage on TV and in the weekly news magazines.”

“I thought it was in poor taste. As I was looking at it, I couldn't help but think that I would be absolutely outraged if it were an American laying there. Even though the insurgent fighter got what he deserved, I still think it shouldn't have been shown on the front page.”

“There's nothing wrong with the truth - unless that which brought it on was avoidable.”

“When I looked at the photo, I felt sorry for the young soldiers that had to continue to do their duty. I thought about how they would be scarred for life by the things they have seen and done, while on their tour of duty.”

“I think it could be helpful to show, as it was, the body of a dead Iraqi - it puts a human body and, therefore, what was a life to what may seem like such a foreign entity to most people from this country. It would be good for us to be able to empathize with their grief, fears and misfortunes as well.”

“Perhaps it might have been better not to include the body, but I don't seem to have very strong feelings on this, except to say that since all life is of value, it might not be desirable to depict dead bodies, despite the fact that this is not an unusual reality in war.”

“When I first saw the paper today I must admit I was a little taken aback by the picture because I did indeed think it was a picture of an American soldier killed. The Iraqi man had on a camouflaged flak jacket making it appear he was American at first glance.”

“I didn't find it too graphic, although I was surprised to see the picture. Maybe if these kinds of photos had been shown from the beginning, folks who are supportive of the President and his Administration would give it another thought.”

“Graphic? Yes but graphic is not what should determine if a picture is newsworthy, but rather does it make a point?”

“It is very foolish to show pictures of this nature, especially if your newspaper can be viewed in a place like Iraq or other places where Americans are view with anger and hatred.”

“I think people need to be made very aware of what is going on over there. I hate to see that kind of photo, whether it is Iraqi or American, but facts are facts and people here need to be aware that we are also a part of this horrible error in judgment.”

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