"I attempt to speak with the U.S. Special Forces advisors. They agree as long as I don't show their faces. The press officer stops me,
'You're here to show gulf forces,' he tells me, 'this story is about gulf forces.'
'Please don't tell me what my story is about,' I say, 'It will be about what I report, not you.'
'You can interview them when you make your own arrangements to get here,' he tells me, 'this is about gulf forces.' We go back and forth like this for a few minutes until he says 'fine, cover what you want, but CNN will not be invited on any more trips.'"
And keep in mind that this "coverage" of the war also requires that both the scripts and the footage be approved beforehand by the Pentagon.
The people who *could* potentially do independent reporting that might mean something are in Baghdad, including press, the locals, human rights observers, and human shields. However, it's unlikely they'll be able to do much if the US decides to use EMP weapons on Iraq, as is rumored in Kevin Sites' email. Computers, camcorders, cameras, communications equipment... most of these kinds of devices would be fried by HPM weapons, along with other "collateral damage" like dialysis machines, pacemakers, life support machines, etc.
Would-be independent reporters can probably expect the same kind of treatment the press received in Afghanistan. Reporters who went to Afghanistan with the Marines found themselves quarantined in warehouses and handed press releases from Central Command in Tampa about casualties less than 100 yards away. Some who got close to the action had film confiscated and guns pointed at them by Special Operations soldiers.
No matter how many innocent people die, this could be the cleanest conflict of this size we've seen in recent history. That should be a terrifying thought to anyone who wants a peaceful future.