There was an article in today's Sunday Telegraph written by an embedded reporter. Some of it appeared to be slightly leaning towards "hey, look at me, I'm with the Army" but it is worth a read for its candour.
'Hey, hurry up. You're holding up my men'
Once the fighting in Fallujah began, Toby Harnden was keen to prove he would not be a burden to his platoon. Here he reveals his life embedded with the US Army.
The ground rules were simple, said Lieut Nathan Braden, as he read out all 12 pages of them to our group of embedded journalists. We were to bring no drugs, no alcohol and no guns. Especially no drugs, he repeated, his gaze lingering over the longer-haired photographers.
"If you have it, get rid of it. If we find it on you, we'll kick you out."
We had just been helicoptered into Camp Fallujah for what the United States marines referred to euphemistically as the likelihood of "increased activity in our area of operations".
This was the attack on the rebel-held city. It was going to be a big battle and we would be part of it. First, we had to agree to behave.
In addition to forswearing all illegal substances, we promised not to print or broadcast details of battle plans, troop numbers or force locations. The names or images of dead American soldiers were not to be published until their next of kin had been informed.
In return, we would have a soldier's-eye-view of the conflict.
With our flak jackets marked "Press" and helmets that had our blood group scrawled on them - one wag had a sticker reading: "O+. If found injured, please apply drugs. Lots of drugs" - we joined our units.
I was assigned to the US army's Task Force 2-2. On the Thursday, I was told that the battle would start at 7pm on Monday.
I knew that 24 hours earlier US Special Forces would seize the hospital on the Fallujah peninsula and secure the bridges on the west of the city. I could not report any of this. I could not even reveal where I was.
"Near Fallujah" was as specific as I could get.
None of us had much difficulty with any of this. After all, anything that put the lives of soldiers at risk would be potentially just as dangerous for us.
For the next two weeks we would share the vehicles, fears and possibly the fate of the troops. One reporter was to be hit by shrapnel and a photographer injured when her convoy was hit by a roadside bomb on the eve of battle.
The soldiers received me with some bewilderment. "You don't have a weapon?" asked a sergeant, brushing aside my protest that we weren't allowed to carry a gun, as I climbed into the back of his Bradley fighting vehicle.
"If you change your mind, there are plenty spare."
They were also mystified that I wasn't being paid more to go into combat.
"You're either crazy or have balls the size of watermelons," observed the sergeant. After that, I was treated as one of the team. The sergeant was responsible for my safety as well as that of his men.
I had already pondered the gun issue. If it came to it, I wanted to be able to use one. I had visions of being stuck in a damaged Humvee with three dead soldiers and several M16s lying around me as insurgents approached.
So while in America a few months ago, I had persuaded a friend to take me to the National Rifle Association range in Virginia where I fired an AR15, the civilian variant of the M16, the US army's standard infantry rifle.
In Fallujah, I was essentially a member of the platoon. When clearing buildings, I was an extra pair of eyes. If a room had been overlooked or there was a possible sniper position nearby, I would tell the sergeant.
Before becoming a journalist, I served in the British armed forces. Last week, if the distinction between journalist and soldier was becoming blurred, it was part and parcel of being an "embed".
On one occasion, I spotted a copper wire that could have been the trigger for a booby trap. The sergeant thanked me and we all stepped over it.
My view of the action was detailed but incomplete. Task Force 2-2 went only into the east and south of the city. I knew nothing of what happened elsewhere. What they saw, I saw - nothing more, nothing less.
Yet my access to them was total. Lt Col Pete Newell, Task Force 2-2's commanding officer, had a policy of transparency.
I attended the main battle briefing, held over a mocked up battlefield using broken bricks for city blocks and artillery rounds for mosques.
I heard the eve-of-war address at which he pointed to Fallujah and told his men: "I expect you to pile in and kick someone's ass."
During a morning command briefing, a hulking chief warrant officer saw a Washington Post reporter and me taking notes and ordered us to leave.
We protested, saying that the colonel knew we were there. "Are these civilians cleared to be present?" the marine asked, halting the briefing as 30 pairs of eyes turned to us. "Yep," said Lt Col Newell, as we inwardly cheered.
Once the fighting began, I had to prove that I would not be a burden.
"Hey, hurry up," one soldier shouted on the first night, when I hesitated momentarily before vaulting over a wall. "You're holding up my men." I vowed to do better.
Sitting in the back of the Bradleys for hours, sweating, I soon learnt much about these men.
"I went to London once," a medic told me. "I met a girl on the internet. It didn't work out because she hadn't told me about her two children, and the picture she had used was of her sister. When I arrived, she said, 'I thought you were lying too'."
When we heard the fighting was over, we were in an abandoned house after spending the night sleeping on the floor.
Spontaneously and joyfully, the soldiers began to smash up the place. It had been wrecked already but there were a few windows and doors still intact.
They jumped, trying unsuccessfully to pull down a cheap fan hanging from a high ceiling. Seeing it was on a hook, I grabbed a piece of wood.
As they watched, I gave it a sharp prod and it came crashing to the floor. There was a hearty cheer from the platoon. I had become one of them.
But relations did sour towards the end, when a photograph of a dead soldier - whom I had been speaking to minutes before he was killed - appeared in a German newspaper.
It was a haunting image of the body lying in a dusty kitchen, blood seeping from a bullet wound to the head. For me it summed up much of what had happened in Fallujah and was also a memorial to a brave American who died for his country.
In the pain of the moment, Task Force 2-2 saw it differently.
"Grab your stuff, asshole, and come with me," was how a captain addressed Stefan Zaklin, of the European Picture Agency, when news of the picture reached the unit.
Zaklin was placed under armed guard and told he had violated the rules of propriety. Nothing in the rules had been broken. The soldiers had seen Zaklin snapping away in the kitchen - but it seemed that this was where the military and the media parted company.
I, too, was castigated, for quoting a searingly authentic talk by a staff sergeant, in which he suggested to his men that their commanding officer had been killed because he had been careless. He did say it. But only so much reality could be tolerated.