Monday, September 26, 2005

War as pornography

As many in the blogosphere no doubt know, there seems to be a porn site which has become a repository for GI trophy pictures of Iraqi dead. The rules of the porn site as I understand it are that access to the pornography requires either money or the donation of a picture, which I guess is the reason for the pictures of the dead Iraqis. There are lots of photos of the dead, found, as of today at least--I suspect it will soon disappear--at

A more appropriate url cannot be imagined.

They are pretty gruesome, these pictures. The premise of the site is even more gruesome.

I resisted the temptation to put some of these photos up on my blog. But as disgusting as the site is, I think it would be a good idea for Americans to look at them. Modern weapons of war do terrible things to their victims. We unleashed this mayhem.

The trouble is, I fear Americans are now so desensitized to gory movie violence, that viewing this may not be sufficient to awaken in the viewer a civilized response of repugnance, much less a morally necessary and desperately evaded response of contrition.

Maybe in some it would. Perhaps the bizarre and kinda American location of the pics as tokens of admission on a porn site would shock supporters of the war more than the pictures themselves. Maybe. I don't know.

The dismemberments and mutilations shown in the photos actually didn't surprise or horrify me. What horrifies me is that these images represent what are, or were, real people, not so long ago, probably loved and needed by other people, who are now bereft. When someone has had his head blown off, the problem is not how ugly it looks, the problem is that his life has been cut short and other people, who cared about the person killed, have had their lives shattered.

But the ugliness of the pictures could perhaps do some good if viewed in Republican households.

I am hoping the site stays up, and that people start looking at it. Not you, good readers, who are almost guaranteed not to be the people who need to see it.

But the sanitized war, where (to give an example many of you may remember) the shooting of a wounded prisoner of war was filmed by a tv cameraman, but not actually shown on tv for fear of offending, has been sanitized long enough.

Hide the coffins. Hide the bodies. This has been how Bush and company have hoped to evade the revulsion that attended the death and destruction shown on tv every day during the Vietnam War. Keep this war secret. The real war, as it really is.

This porn site is kind of like leakage around a poorly constructed levee. I suspect someone official will try to patch up the leak pdq, or the war may be in trouble.

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