Last night I was invited to have dinner at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad with a senior public affairs staff member. The senior PA leadership have been following my situation closely. The U.S. Marine Corps continues to push for my complete "barment" (not a word in the dictionary - but is stated in my embed termination letter) from the Department of Defense (which means I could not embed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else the U.S. Military may end up in the future). The Multi National Force Iraq (MNF-I) upholds my rights to keep my credentials, minus the ability to document U.S. Marine operations. I would like to thank all of these senior officials for refusing to make decisions based on unsubstantiated claims.
There are a few people posting comments on this blog who do not seem to understand what an embedded journalist such as myself actually is.
The Media Hold Harmless Agreement journalists sign, which clarifies the definition of embeds can now be found on this page. The remainder of my original clarification post is still on this page along with the comments.
Please read my contract before posting comments that I have violated any rules.
I do not work for the U.S. Military, the Marines, the Department of Defense, or any other government, public, or private organization. I work as a freelance journalist in Iraq under the umbrella of (but not for) a major media organization. This is the standard form of operation for embedded freelance journalists.
Because of the extreme dangers of working in Iraq, it is impossible to for a independent journalist to move freely from place to place without an incredible amount of security and financial resources.
Embedding allows journalists to live with soldiers or Marines and document their lives and their struggles. It also allows interaction, to some degree, with the local population, while remaining somewhat protected. Embedding is not considered ideal to most journalists, but we find ourselves with few choices because it has become so dangerous for us during the past few years of the war. You can easily do a Google search to find out more about the number of killed and injured journalists during this conflict.
Without the option to embed, journalists would have to pay literally thousands of dollars a day for security and transportation. To lose the ability to embed is the equivalent of losing your ability to report from Iraq. This is the reason it is important to fight for the rights of embedded journalists to document freely.
EDIT: The Multi National Force Iraq (MNF-I) upholds my rights to keep my credentials, minus the ability to document U.S. Marine operations. I would like to thank all of these senior officials for refusing to make decisions based on unsubstantiated claims. Click here to read my July 7th post.