Rumsfeld Bans Camera Phones In Iraq… Or Not
from the oh-come-on... dept
Just as a number of news stories have come out over the past few weeks talking about how technologies like camera phones have changed the way war is perceived in ways that those running the war in Iraq simply didn’t expect, comes the completely unsurprising news that Donald Rumsfeld has responded to the various photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse by banning camera phones at military bases in Iraq. Now, no matter what your politics are, or however you feel about the situation in Iraq, (and as unsurprising as this is) this seems like a particularly pointless move. First of all, I’m sure taking camera phone photos within a military prison environment was already very much against the rules before this happened. However, it still happened. All this does is ban a technology, not an action. Second, and more importantly, this doesn’t seem like what you do when you’re trying to put a stop to whatever caused the prisoner abuse to happen in the first place – it’s an action to prevent more such “bad publicity” from getting out there. It’s the typical reaction to technology when it’s used against you: ban the technology that unveiled something embarrassing, rather than trying to stop whatever was the real cause of the embarrassment. That, alone, is an embarrassment. For someone so focused on using technology for military purposes, to then go and assume that technology is only okay when he controls it shows a particular lack of understanding about how technology works. Technology empowers everyone – and those who assume it only empowers their side show a particular lack of foresight. Update: Engadget points us to a story from a few weeks ago at TheDailyFarce, which looks somewhat similar – raising the question as to whether or not this is yet another case where media sources were taken in by farcical online stories.