I'm a Coward

Sherry Ricchiardi from American Journalism Review interviewed me for a story on the dangers facing reporters in Iraq. Kudos to Sherry: the story's great and features one of my personal heroes, John Burns from The New York Times, and friends of mine such as Monte Morin from Stars & Stripes. But I came off sounding like a real coward:For freelance journalists operating in Iraq, the stakes are even higher. Most enter the country with little logistical support, such coward.jpgas a safe ride along the dangerous road from the Baghdad airport or lodging in a hotel with proper security. They bear their own expenses for an interpreter, car and driver. The high cost and serious risks cause some, like David Axe, to opt out.Back home in Columbia, South Carolina, Axe says he has no plans to return. "To be honest, trying to get there just isn't worth it anymore. Except for a handful of major media, journalists are getting out," says Axe, whose stories have been published by the Washington Times, the Village Voice and Salon.The final blow came when Axe had a run-in with the military over information he filed on a blog, www.defensetech.org, that deals with technology. The report had to do with a radio jammer called Warlock, used to thwart remotely detonated IEDs, one of the chief killers of U.S. soldiers. That got him evicted from his embed and caused him to rethink staying without security. In Iraq, "angry looks and whispered words can be a prelude to death," Axe wrote in a January 20 piece for Salon. He went to cover the war, he said, because "it is the biggest story in the world ... but I also don't want to die."Read the whole story here.-- David "Scared to Die" Axe

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