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.

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Comments on “Rumsfeld Bans Camera Phones In Iraq… Or Not”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

In this one particular case, the ban probably makes sense (not a political view mind you) By removing the ‘ease’ of taking pictures it will/should prevent some instances of unauthorized pictures … however, if someone really wants a picture, they will find a way.

Like a lock, this is just trying to keep an honest person honest.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: ban photos is good practice

Banning *photos*, yes. In fact, I’d bet that photos are already banned.

Banning camera phones, is going one step further into banning the technology.

As I said, I’m sure it was already illegal to photograph things. However, to then come out and ban camera phones, rather than dealing with the core problems, would look very bad. It says “here’s how we cover stuff up” not “here’s how we fix things.” That’s my complaint. I’m not saying that photos should be allowed… but that banning camera phones is a stupid move.

Beck says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ban photos is good practice

It is not the same thing. The lit cigarette will cause an explosion. Cameras don’t cause the activity on the military bases, they just document the activity that is happening anyway behind closed doors.

Normally it makes sense to ban cameras to protect military secrets, but in this case, with the ban being announced so soon after embarrassing activity was exposed, it leads one to believe that they are not sorry for the activity, but they are sorry that the activity was documented and distributed.

Marcelo Lewin (user link) says:

Re: Are they really banned?

I’m not sure…please check out my story I wrote back on May 6th…..who knows. It could be that I have ESP! 😉

Here is my story I wrote on it:

Marcelo Lewin
The Daily Farce News

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