The web is covered in stink today because of a reporter for the Associated Press, Julie Jacobson, who photographed the death of a Marine whose legs had just been blown off. The kid was Joshua Bernard, a Lance Corporal of 21 years. When the photo appeared, Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense [sic] furiously tried to get the AP to quash the photo. It didn’t, to its everlasting credit.And -- let's not forget! -- other people's children, too.
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Photographs are death to a war, boys and girls. They can asphyxiate a war faster than roadside bombs can even dream. Gates does not want the sprawling somnolent inattentive beast, the public, to see what his wars really are.
In wars, there are many enlightening things to see. For example, the Marine with a third of his face and half a lung, going ku-kuk-kuk as red gunch rolls out of his mouth and he drowns in his blood. Ruined or dying teenagers whimpering the trinity of the badly wounded: Mother, wife, and water. The brain-shot guy jerking like an epileptic as he tries not to die. Ever see brain tissue from gunshot? I have. It makes a pink spew across the ground. Like strawberry chiffon.
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Next to keeping the public quiescent, keeping the troops (and potential recruits) bamboozled is vital. If a high-school kid saw what awaited, if he saw the cartilage glistening in wrecked joints, he wouldn’t sign.
Do I think that the press should publish such photos? Not yes but hell yes on afterburner. Every time an editor covers for the Pentagon, every time papers refuse to show the charred bodies still ... slowly ... moving, the dead children, the ... never mind. The effect is to ensure that more kids will die the same way. And the press almost always does exactly this. We are a trade of whores and shills. Except that whores give value for money. The press kills our children.
Monday, September 07, 2009
How Many Words is a Picture Worth?
Check out an angry Fred Reed. An excerpt: