It Doesn't Pay to Play With Photographs

And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine:

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News Flash
The Los Angeles Times has fired a photographer in Iraq for altering a photograph that wound up on Monday's front page. Some sharp-eyed editors eventually noticed something suspicious: A few civilians appeared twice in the photo. Brian Walski, who joined the Times five years ago after stints at the Boston Globe and elsewhere, took two pictures. They show a British soldier directing civilians to take cover near Basrah. He then combined them thanks to the magic of digital editing to produce the one in which the soldier appears to be threatening a man and his child. In an editor's note on today's front page, the Los Angeles Times says Walski "acknowledged that he used his computer to combine elements of two photographs, taken moments apart, in order to improve the composition." The note continues, " Times policy forbids altering the content of news photographs. Because of the violation, Walski has been dismissed from the staff."

Vulgar Vandalism
French vandals have struck a military cemetery that memorializes Britain's defense of France in World War II. The buffoons painted swastikas and slogans such as "Death to Yankees" and "Rosbeefs" -- the epithet for Brits -- "go home." Most of the French public opposes the war in Iraq. But as Sky News and the BBC report, most Frenchmen were disgusted by the vandalism, including the local member of Parliament, who said, "Our disagreement with the British and American governments can in no way justify any assault on the memory of men who sacrificed themselves for our country."

Reasserting Reign?
Belgium's Foreign Minister Louis Michel says the United States has gone to war with Iraq simply to reassert its power after the Sept. 11 attacks and that the United States "is striking Iraq to make an example of it." As for U.S. action since the start of the war, the Agence France Presse quotes Michel as saying U.S. military planners "lack professionalism." Perhaps he's comparing his country's cops to our soldiers. A new Amnesty International report accuses Belgium of heavy-handed reactions to peace protests, including unnecessary police brutality.

Canadian Complaints
The plan to play "God Bless America" at the Toronto Blue Jays' baseball season opener this week sparked many complaints. Recent polls show nearly half of Canadians oppose the war. But when "God Bless America" actually came over the loud speakers Monday night, the crowd of more than 50,000 cheered and gave an emphatic thumbs up.