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To shoot or not to shoot?

Sep. 12, 2009 - 02:59PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 12, 2009 - 02:59PM  |  
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Not sure when it's OK to break out your camera while deployed?

As with your weapon, let training and common sense rule your trigger finger.

"The rules of common sense should always apply,'' said Defense Department spokesman Army Lt. Col. Les' Melnyk. Troops should remember to keep security in mind at all times. "If it's anything operational or could be valuable to a potential enemy, show some common sense and don't take pictures."

In terms of specific do's and don'ts, he said, "It really is locally driven. You should know the restrictions of your local command."

For example, he said, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "everyone knows there are some buildings you don't even point your camera at."

In the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, any photos involving prisoners are particularly sensitive.

"Photos that identify detainees, or subject detainees to curiosity, cannot be released based on Geneva Convention prohibitions," said U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Air Force Capt. Marcella Hopp.

Photos of the dead or injured can also be a problem, particularly if posted on social networking sites where family or friends of the fallen could see them.

Bottom line: Use common sense. Still in doubt? Ask your command.

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