The Picture

By David Glenn Cox at Salon:

Photo by  Eugene Richards

Photo by Eugene Richards

I want you to look very closely at this picture and try and keep it in your minds eye. This was a perfectly healthy twenty two-year-old young man who in the service of his country got half of his head blown off. I think that’s important, I think that’s newsworthy. Let me tell you how newsworthy I think it is. I think that it’s more important than chocolate cake recipes and far more important than comic book reviews. It is more important than who fell and whose swell at the winter Olympic games.

It is far more important than any self-serving load of crap banged out by Pseudo doctor Amy. It is more important than American Idol or Lost or any other mindless goat droppings the public chooses to chew on. This is some American mother’s son, her little boy, he may be gay or straight or transgender but his life is fucked forever.

How did this come to happen to this poor mother’s son? It came to happen because the people in the media who are supposed to foster a public debate on such public issues as war instead used their franchise to promote articles about chocolate cake and comic book reviews. They see their free press as free to choose not to look when bad thinks happen. They feel no need to explain to his parents or to anyone that the war that blew off half of this poor boys head was based on out and out lies.

It was a war perpetrated by people who hoped to gain from it be it in oil or pipelines or service contracts and like the media they don’t care that this mother’s son is mangled and mutilated. Do you care? I’ve been married twice for a combined twenty-five years and in that time I doubt my wives ever baked a chocolate cake. I don’t read comic books or watch goat crap TV but you see I’ve got a son about this boy’s age. My heart aches and my mind fills with rage because the people that have the power and authority to show this picture would rather talk about American Idol and from where I sit that makes them an accomplice to a war crime…

[continues at Salon]

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  • Hadrian999

    the world is full of bad shit,
    always has been, always will be, I'f you break down or stop living whenever somebody somewhere gets the short end of the stick well ….you might want to punch your own ticket right now, cause thing aren't getting any better.
    I've done my time on the line, so have a lot of other people don't expect us all to stop living, because of some spectator's guilt trip, If you want to do something DO something writing indignant articles and slapping magnets on your car is a BS cop out

    • 5by5

      Gee, Little Miss Sunshine, you're just a giant ball of compassion, now aren't you? Why, the entire group is BASKING in your warmth.

      • Hadrian999

        I'm sorry a fellow soldier lost half his head, but that doesn't keep the world from turning,
        If people want to change the world they have to do something, not talk about doing something

        • gest

          You have a point, but sometimes it starts with talking. Bumper sticker philosophy won't change anything (I've always thought they should have one that says “bumper stickers are not the answer) but since so many peoples conscience are so dull now it takes something like this to get them out of their comfort zone. (I have to admit the picture says more than the article, even if the writer does get the point across)

          And on a practical level, what DO you do? Can you help with any specific ideas? That would involve you talking about it wouldn't it? Believe me when I tell you I'd like to do something that makes a real difference, not the usual symbolic gestures.

  • emperorreagan

    A lot of people have had their lives ruined for wars that have done nothing to improve national security.

    I've seen some poster presentations from people doing artificial limbs – the post explosion/amputation pictures are pretty unnerving, where someone's arm or leg looks like a Christmas ham.

  • mbo

    My friend, your indignation is nothing but hot air. The reality of your posting is clear: your guilt actually makes you feel better.

    You roll in it like a pig in shit, and what's even worse, you celebrate it.

    Good luck with that…

    • gest

      First, I'm guessing phunkychic666 is not the author, and that to actually address the author you'd need to go comment at Salon.com. Secondly although I would agree it's a bit over the top, it seems the strength of your words just seek to top his and is not actually warranted.

      But I agree with Hadrian, it is certainly unreasonable to expect people to stop living. If anyone is actually called to work on the situation of our time, though it does call for a lot more than a rant. Thing is, it wouldn't be the usual mindless kind of living – we would occupy our minds in very different ways. Frankly I'm not one that's so interested in the kind of entertainment he mentions anyways, although social networking with intelligent thinking people interested in doing something would be helpful.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      **I retract the “like” I gave you. It was an accident. I meant to hit “reply”.

      Celebration of guilt? I don't feel the joy here. Nor does any sane person. Its seems more possible that you are practicing avoidance of the reality the article presents by attacking the poster.

      Your comments don't address the article directly anyway. We get it, you don't give a shit about the guy who got his head blown half off. So much for relevence or compassion for that matter, good luck with that….

      • mbo

        Sorry, but when a author suggests our media is complicit in war crimes for making money off American Idol coverage AND then shows me a horrifying/deeply moving, nothing but provocative, image of a solider with his head half blown off and then has the nerve to ask me DO I CARE, well that to me is just a way of spreading (“IE celebrating”) the authors own guilt.

        It may surprise you that someone can feel compassion without guilt?

        How you can make assumptions about my personal feelings after viewing said photo is curious, to say the least.

        Plus you cant retract the “I like”. You totally like me now.

  • mbo

    Gest:

    Fair enough. I should direct to Salon.

    ” the people that have the power and authority to show this picture would rather talk about American Idol and from where I sit that makes them an accomplice to a war crime…”

    Sorry, I come FAR from topping this nonsense. Holding popular culture accountable as accomplices for war atrocities is not only a wildly misguided notion it's also naive. Even a casual perusal of our national news sources for the last 50 years will reveal that our so called “hard news” is really just another form of entertainment. To condemn our media for lack of meaningful war coverage is a hollow gesture at best.

    And while it may be convenient to characterize Americans as Zombies of the banal it's also a very cheap shot. Yes, we have lived in an incredibly insular bubble since World War Two, but I would maintain that this bubble has (fairly recently) popped, and our awareness of the impact of our foreign policies continually grows year by year. While it may be hard to fathom (as Virginia Woolf said “It's difficult watching the grass grow”) our notion of who we are right now, as a collective American mind, almost universally includes us on the planet interacting with other people.

    Anger directed towards ill advised policies that result in war is always justified. But neatly blaming an entire culture is just flipping lazy and represents the worst of our increasingly polarized political landscape.

    • bodhi

      I think I see where this guy might be going with his rant about being an 'accomplice'. If you are going to are licensed by the f.c.c. to use our public domain to make billions of dollars theoretically you have an obligation to tell us the truth of what is happening in the world. Having said that (and boy do I feel better) anyone who believes networks are going to lose market share by forcing us to watch “truth” at the end of a hard day looking for a McJob is nuts…

  • GoodDoktorBad

    If you can look at this and NOT be profoundly disturbed, I would suggest that you probably use as much of your brain matter as this soldier is now actually able to. And if your still able, try fishing your heart out of the sewer where you left it to rot.

    • mbo

      It's pretty clear that from your former “I like” tagging that you may like me too much? Oddly these intense “like” feelings often manifest as dislike. It's kinda similar to a grade-school girl punching a boy when she likes him. She just LIKES HIM SO MUCH she has to HIT him.

      But don't worry. I'm not taking it personal and I understand your confusion. In my grade school I liked Paula Moylan so much I peed my pants. So I get it ok?

      I remain a steadfast vessel for your “like” emotions.

      xo

  • bob

    He chose to go to war, probably hoping to kill few eye-raqis. Got his head half blown off instead. Another case of someone trying to “do a service to Humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool”

  • bodhi

    I think I see where this guy might be going with his rant about being an ‘accomplice’. If you are going to are licensed by the f.c.c. to use our public domain to make billions of dollars theoretically you have an obligation to tell us the truth of what is happening in the world. Having said that (and boy do I feel better) anyone who believes networks are going to lose market share by forcing us to watch “truth” at the end of a hard day looking for a McJob is nuts…

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