Surgical strikes. Clinical precision. Liberation. Limited collateral damage. Mission accomplished.
This image (Copyright: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad/Getty Images) shows how unclean the war in Iraq is (And I mean "is", not "was". It's still going on.) According to Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, the journalist who took the picture, on 12 September 2004, in Baghdad's Haifa Street: "Twenty-two Iraqi civilians were killed and 48 injured when US helicopters opened fire on crowds celebrating around a burning US armored personnel carrier."
Now if this journalist had been "embedded" with the US armed forces, he wouldn't have taken this picture of maimed civilians. Instead he'd have got a long range shot of boys toys hardware making big bangs and flashes. His copy may also have mentioned a successful operation against militants, insurgents or that useful catch-all phrase "terrorists".
That kid in the baseball cap doesn't really look like a terrorist, does he? (Oh and that guy in the checked shirt lying on the ground on the left? He was upright in the previous shot in the series. Subsequent shots make me think he's dead. How's that for a surgical strike.)
The Digital Journalist has an extensive gallery of these images. And it carries an excellent piece on why a small group of journalists risked their lives to cover conflict while others took refuge among the Coalition soldiers:
"We crossed the lines because we believe it is more important to humanize a conflict than it is to trade in rhetorical truths, or to reinforce easy notions of enemy and friend, which are mere propaganda. Instead, we wanted to document honestly what we witnessed in the war because this is the sole duty of journalists, regardless of their nationality and religion. We were able to do this precisely because we did not carry weapons or claim allegiance to one of the warring parties."