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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 5, 2009

DEFENSE SECRETARY TELLS MEDIA NOT TO SHOW PHOTOS OF DYING SOLDIER

One of the reasons we continue to have pointless wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan is because the government and the media work hard to limit unpleasant photos of military conflict. It is okay to bomb wedding celebrations but to show a dying soldier is a breach of "common decency."

Politico - Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting "in the strongest terms" to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision "appalling" and a breach of "common decency."

The AP reported that the Marine's father had asked - in an interview and in a follow-up phone call - that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it "conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.". . .

4 Comments:

Anonymous pj said...

Glory. Are we so divorced from our humanity that we can't grok the horror of war without having the latest photo of the latest victim pixelled before our eyes??

Are we really just geno-sadistic adult infants married to a suicidal lack of imagination and a very steep poverty of horizons?

What a tragicomedic species we are!

September 5, 2009 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About this Marine. It's all very nice that some of you get all teary-eyed that the image of his dying was made public. But let us remember: Marines kill people. They are trained to kill people and not ask questions. Now and then the supposed "bad guys" manage to kill a few Marines. That is part of the bargain. Join he Marines and there is a chance you get killed! Of course, you won't see this in the recruitment literature. So let's put aside all this faux "concern" for sensibilities. Can't stomach it? Fine. Stop war. Stop funding war. 'Nuff said.

September 5, 2009 10:41 AM  
Anonymous pj said...

I couldn't agree more that the real heroes are those who have grown bold and brave enough to reject war altogether.

Every school in the land should be introducing our children to Smedley Butler's "War Is A Racket"!

September 5, 2009 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gates recent remarks favoring "common decency" could be a faint foreshadowing that a McNamara-like confession from this sorry-assed apparatchik might be in his star crossed cards for the very distant future.

20 years or so would be right on belated schedule, taking into account that Gates , like Mcnamara before him displays a doggedly dumb blindness to the reality currently staring him in the face.

The Defense Sec'y's rearguard duties as slaughter manager -in- chief obviously do not require that he know the slightest thing about carnage or its consequences.

He can't bear to know,either... witness his angry reaction to a mere photograph on the subject, one of the slightest forms of all the available knowledge.

For after all, Gates may be thinking, only a savage unfamiliar with modern principles of information management would clumsily mistake a picture of the frivolous destruction of a hapless young Marine for a clue to the insane nature of Mr.Gates' grisly racket.

So I'm betting on the appearance of a "confession" way before Mr.Gates gets his day in court, earnestly blinking from the dock a la Eichmann back in the glassed- booth day, incessantly mumbling on the theme of faithful service, fretting over the widespread misunderstanding about the actual scope of his supposed authority , a rumpled loyal man hunched over and desperately clutching at stacks of redacted documents and classified dispatches, cartons of discs,and boxes of old... photographs, now eagerly pressed into exculpatory service by a fully ripened war criminal.


- John A. Joslin, Detroit

September 5, 2009 12:12 PM  

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