Letters to the Editor: What Americans have that the Russians don’t — honest wartime journalism

An injured pregnant woman is carried on a stretcher in Ukraine.
Emergency workers carry an injured pregnant woman from a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9.
(Evgeniy Maloletka / Associated Press)

To the editor: Robin Abcarian’s op-ed column brought tears of sadness, rage and fear. Her closing sentence said a lot — this is a “pointless” and “unforgivable” war.

Her words also brought to light how factual photojournalism is vital. The rest of the world would easily shut out the bad stuff if we did not have journalists risking their lives to show the world the truth.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is trying to keep the truth from his people. More power to those who are trying to defeat the dictator’s propaganda machine. In the same print edition that carried Abcarian’s column, there was a news article on the brave journalist who held up her “no war” sign on Russia’s state TV.


How we get the truth and how we live with it are our individual rights in our free country. Although it pains me to watch nightly news and read The Times during times such as this, I must. And perhaps I am foolish, but I also must keep imagining peace.

Starflower Thomson, Joshua Tree


To the editor: The images provided by courageous photojournalists in Ukraine are invaluable. They expose the needless misery caused by Putin’s horrific attack on his neighbor.

But I am bothered by our country’s lofty and virtuous reaction to this event, when our own hands are far from clean.

Our government discouraged images of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were wounded and killed in our own war of choice. Graphic images could well have roused greater domestic opposition.

We also see very few images today from Yemen, where our arms and logistics aid have contributed to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.


Arms are big business, with annual expenditures worldwide amounting to about $3 trillion. A fraction of this amount would go far to provide for real human needs and solve legitimate grievances.

Where are the images that would focus us on these concerns? Lifting up all of humanity would help end the motivation for conflict. It would weaken leaders whose first recourse is bloodshed. And it would feel so good.

Grace Bertalot, Anaheim


To the editor: Another unforgettable image comes to mind reading Abcarian’s recollection of powerful photographs from around the world. That would be the nine-year-old naked girl running from napalm in Vietnam, her fear and pain so vividly displayed for us all to see.

Ann Tyler, Moorpark