Tuesday, June 06, 2006

As Kimberly Dozier Keeps Getting Better, The News From Iraq Keeps Getting Worse

Context and Perspective from the Killing Fields
Of course, it's great to hear that Kimberly Dozier continues on the slow but steady road to recovery from the bomb blast that severely wounded her and killed her camera man and sound man.
As a former colleague of Kimberly's, you shudder when you hear her name used in such grave terms. It especially rattled friends over at my old stomping grounds at CBS News Radio, as she had just been in New York recently, and she looked as good as ever. You never heard "shrapnel" and "Dozier" used in the same sentence until last week.
When her Dad told CBS last week that Kimberly's "sharp as a tack," the sigh of relief on West 57th St. was palpable.
But the story continues, and it's a grim reminder of just what Kimberly and her journalistic brethren are up against.
Nearly 1,400 civilians were killed in May -- many of them execution style -- and that number doesn't include those killed by bombs.
Which only underscores how being an intrepid journalist in Iraq is hazardous to your health. And Kimberly, at the time of the attack, wasn't even covering the car bomb du jour, or the other selections on the bad news menu that the military flacks rail against.
She was serving as a 21st-century Ernie Pyle, showing how Memorial Day back home was just another dangerous tour of duty outside the Green Zone for a typical G.I.
The fact that she was even embedded is a remarkable feat nowadays. Reporters, to the extent that they feel safe, often feel more protected going out with the military. But those arrangements nowadays can take weeks.
If you ever thought about the glamour and excitement in the life of a war correspondent, Iraq has done a great job to disabuse you of those notions. It certainly has for those working there, who have covered many a conflict.
Along those lines, must reading is a recent New York magazine profile by Jennifer Senior about Iraq-based correspondents, and the toll their assignment has taken on them, written before the Dozier attack.
You admire what they do at the same time you're glad you're as far away from that mess as possible. It's the kind of story that at once is emblematic of why people want in to the news business, but it's also the kind that might send you running and screaming from a laptop once you've realized what you've gotten yourself into.

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