Friday, August 26, 2011

Pictures of War

There is a story running in the news right now that I find truly offensive, on many levels. It offends me because it plays into the worst elements of rah-rah militarism masquerading as patriotism, and it offends me because it equates the "suffering" of a dog at the loss of its owner with real, human suffering. Indeed, if you read the comments section, the "suffering" of the dog seems to trump human suffering, at least in the case of an American dog owned by a U.S. Navy SEAL (one suspects that the sympathy for some faceless, nameless Iraqi's dog, or Afgan's dog, would be less pronounced).

In case you haven't seen it, the story is about a dog who apparently wouldn't leave the side of his owner's casket at the SEAL's funeral. You can see a treacly "news" piece on it here, or watch this CBS report. 

I consider this shameless propaganda. The worst part, however, comes in the comments, where people describe it as "the most depressing" or "saddest photo" ever. My favourite was one by someone named Pam Stewart, who wrote: "This is the picture of war." That people actually think that way is a sad commentary on our complete and total lack of perspective as a society.

Here's some photos for Ms. Stewart and her fellow commenters that are truly depressing, and representative of the real horrors of war. These aren't some whitewashed photos of a flag-draped coffin with a noble dog lying next to it - these are the real thing, and I think it's time people woke up and got some perspective.

World War I

The Holocaust, World War II



I thought about posting photos of men who had been horribly disfigured by war, but I figured I had made my point. But you can find them on the Internet if you want to look. If anyone really thinks that a picture of a dog lying next to a flag-draped coffin at a stage-managed funeral for media consumption is a "picture of war", or the "most depressing photo ever", then they should seek out these photos of the most horribly disfigured of our war wounded. These are the real pictures of war - the ones that the masters of war don't want us to see, or remember, or ever think about, because if we did, we might all just agree to put an end to war once and for all.

Paul Kimball

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