Saturday, June 10, 2006

Civilized Nation?

So I'm at the health club just now and I'm listening to some nice, limp liberal podcast from NPR and recoiling in disgust as the image of someone's dead, bloated, beaten face is broadcast again and again and again and again on the news. And I'm not just talking about Fox News, 'cause I would expect that from them.

I just assume it's Al-Zarqawi's face they've got up there in his last close-up, but there's no identifying banner so I'm not sure.

I understand this is war and everything. We got a bad guy. A real bad guy. But you know, I keep assuming -- silly me -- that I live in a civilized nation and I'm just a little sickened by the way the television keeps flashing this man's dead face in extreme close-up.
I get it. He's dead.
But is showing his corpse every three seconds supposed to be some magical formula for making me feel all patriotic and happy about all that great democracy-building we're doing in Iraq?

Because it's not.
Instead, it's just making me feel like our media assumes the public is a bunch of blood-thirsty pigs who wants nothing more than to feast our eyes on the sight of our vanquished enemy.


Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

And see, I've missed all that. Another good reason not to watch the news.

Blogger Jess said...

The cover of the Chicago Tribune today is that same gross picture, with "Got Him" as the headline.

Walking around today I had to keep turning my kids' heads away from the newspaper machines. Gross.

Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Preach on, sister. Glad to know I'm not the only one who had that reaction to the gloating/swollen dead body photos. Ugh.

Blogger Kim said...

bunch of blood-thirsty pigs who wants nothing more than to feast our eyes on the sight of our vanquished enemy.

But much of America is that. Or, at least, the media is trying to make us that.
Remember all those times "they" told us that the media just gives us what we want? It isn't their fault that we want that.... (can you hear the sarcasm?) Just like SUVs -- the public demands SUVs or they, poor innocent darlings, would never make them. Forget that no one demanded them before they advertised the heck out of them.

Blogger Bill Baar said...

The media didn't show the video of the three Iraqi soldiers beheaded the day after Zarqawi's death.

The didn't show the beheading of Nick Berg, or Danny Pearl (The camera man botched it so they had to put his head back on and do it over), or the many others killed this way.

There is a good deal of carnage the media does not display.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Bill, that's just not a very persuasive point for me.

Blogger Bill Baar said...

not sure I'm trying to persaude you of anyting.

Western Media has sanitized much of the killing from this war.

Jiahidist use beheading videos to recruit.

Maybe if we showed some of those recruiting videos people would have a better sense of why we fight.

I'm not one for censoring war footage. I'd show it all.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Bill, my point is that by parading the corpse around in a modern equivalent of displaying heads on the ramparts, we are behaving just like the extremists.

For those who say, "Wow, isn't this evidence that the war is going better?" I have to say, "Not a bit. We could have fought Al Qaeda without declaring war on a sovereign nation. This war is not going 'better.' It was a moral and military travesty from day one."

For each Zarqawi there are how many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead? And we have the nerve to put his face on the front page as though we're somehow victorious? Inciting yet more hatred of the U.S. over there and making a case that we're every bit the savage we deplore?

That's where I'm at. Pretty vehement.

Blogger Bill Baar said...

Zarqawi ritually slaughtered captives and placed the videos on the internet to recruit and terrorize. Days earlier Zarqawi had beheaded a dozen heads in Baguba and left them to be found. It was a instrument of terror.

The coalition displayed Zarqawi's corpse (and Saddam's sons earlier) to give some tangible evidence to those terrorized that were in fact doing something for their security.

Iraqi's lived for thirty years with a censored press and government they didn't believe.

Two vastly different purposes.

We, the US and coalition, are loath to display the carnage of war. A lot of this is sensitivity to families. The US media was loath to display the carnage at the WTC. (A friend of mine wrote me of the body parts strewn all over the street near where he lived).

I'm more inclined that the reality of it all be shown... the reality of war... I think it's necessary.

I'm not sure how people would react. My great fear would be retribution against local Muslims.

I do know these images have effects on people. A friend of mine was a nurse at the Detroit VA Hospital during the first Gulf War and she had her nurses view slides of gun shot ones in preparation for taking casualities... to desensitize her staff to the carnage they expected to receive (estimates then were approx 10k).

The reality never happened but the desensitizing works she says.

So I can go both ways.

As a footnote, for many years the media in Chicago routinely showed the corpses of slain mobsters. It was to strip a bit of the heroism away from them. I remember Sam Gianciana bullet hole filled corpse displayed on a steel table on TV at the Cook County morgue.

I don't think this was the motive at all with Zarqawi. His display was to give some peace of mind to a terrorized Shia and Kurd community. And I think they deserved that give their suffering at this mans hands.


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