Over 4,000 US troops have died in Iraq but only a handful of photographs of dead Americans have reached the media, the New York Times reports. Military regulations do not forbid taking photographs of casualties, but access to death sites is often denied. Photographers who do publish grim images often find their access to military units swiftly terminated.
The military says graphic images give the enemy too much information—and newspapers generally refuse to print them—but journalists argue that the public has a right to see the war's human cost. “It is absolutely censorship,” said a photographer banned after capturing the aftermath of a suicide bombing. “I took pictures of something they didn’t like, and they removed me."