Monday, May 31, 2010

Crosspost: Sanitizing War: What would "Memorial Day" Be Without The Memories?

"We don't do body counts,"General Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, famously remarked, when asked about Iraqi civilian casualties. We do do body counts of our own -- though we don't talk about them much. (source)

In modified form, from Auntie Imperial's News & Blog Review
The war to liberate Southeast Asia from communism resulted in the deaths of 3.5 million Vietnamese, 2 million Laotians & Cambodians, and 58,000 Americans.

Rather than raping and pillaging the lands for its resources, the American military napalmed its jungles, carpet bombed its cities, defoliated the jungles with 20 million gallons of herbicides (including Agent Orange) and slaughtered women and children (My Lai Massacre).

It was easy to rationalize these acts when referring to the inhabitants as gooks, dinks, tunnel rats, and Uncle Ben's boys. Racism makes it easy to treat human beings as objects and dehumanize your acts of horror. ~~Jim Quinn, Charlie Don't Surf, OpEd News, February 2009

Here's a little something Auntie Imperial lashed together for Memorial Day 2010. It's Dedicated to those who have fallen, and Americans still at risk, in our ongoing IMPERIAL wars.

[Pop Out Player]

(Also See: Vietnamistan - PoP dEFECT Radio, Agitational Propaganda For A 'Failed State')

Peace HelmetThat A/V montage was brought to you courtesy of Vietnam Vets Against War (historic footage), OuterNational (Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine) and The Asian Dub Foundation with the credit music, Rivers of Dub, Adbusters: Live Without Dead Time CD (, currently showing 4 'seeds')

Some photos pulled from various sources follow the Outernational credits

The bulk of the rest of this post is taken from Cabale News Service's Labor Day post last year titled: A 'Labor Day' Message - The Working Class And The Employing Class Have NOTHING In Common. It has been slightly edited for clarity.

Labor Day 2009...
There was a breaking story.
It revolved around an image of a dying soldier, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard.

Democracy... We Deliver!As we head into Memorial Day 2010... because it's not JUST Memorial Day this weekend, it's also Trillion Dollar Day because that's what the AfPakIraq war has cost us (The direct cost of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan)... so far, with no real end in sight, just troops moved from theatre (Iraq) to theatre (Afghanistan) to theatre (See here for a list of them)

I think we should all ruminate on what we're getting for that money.
Corrupt colonial governments?






Dead soldiers?


But the Pentagon, and the other interested parties who want you to just simply play along with their murderous imperial wars like "Good Americans-cum-Germans" don't want you to think about... REALLY think about, those Absofuckinglutely dead soldiers.

[The soundtrack player for the rest of this post]
Source, PoP dEFECT Radio, Courtesy of Skidmark Bob Freek Radio Santa Cruz

To Wit, one of the headlines @ Cabale News Service, on Labor Day 2009 read:

"Not Supposed To..." Times Two:

One of the primary rules of Journalism... "The journalist IS "NOT supposed to" become part of the story..." has been broken by Associated Press, apparently not on purpose, but because they 'violated' a 'rule' of American social mores...

Associated Press has published a picture of a dying US Marine, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard.

Lance Cpl Joshua Bernard - AP
Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.
Photograph: Julie Jacobson/AP

Astonishing! If you thought the pictures of soldier's caskets coming into Dover AFB raised a shitstorm, you ain't seen nuthin'.

It IS notable that it took a FEMALE photojournalist to push this limit.

What's ALSO notable is that Photobucket violated my TOS over this picture, NOT due to AP's copyright or insistence, but due to it's graphic nature, despite MANY pictures of dead and dying Iraqis and other third world folk in my album, including THIS gruesome and heartbreaking photo:

Talafar Girl

It's nice to know that cares more about American soldiers and their privacy-in-their-dying-moments than an INNOCENT BLOOD-SPATTERED IRAQI CHILD SCREAMING IN GRIEF OVER THE MURDER BY US SOLDIERS OF HER FAMILY WHILE SHE WAS SITTING NEXT TO THEM IN THE FAMILY CAR.

Censorship is NOT Dead in America.

The Guardian UK hints that the flap over it's publication was essentially merit-less :
It is a graphic image of the harsh realities of war: the fatally wounded young marine lying crumpled in the mud, his vulnerable face turned to the camera. And it is one the US defence secretary would rather you did not see.

Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, pictured being tended by comrades in southern Afghanistan, died of his injuries soon after. Now the release of this record of the 21-year-old's last moments has divided America, prompting furious debate over the sanitisation of war at a critical time for the military offensive. [In Full]

Whereas Tom Ricks, EX-Washington Post War Reporter, now ensconced as a pundit for CNAS (Neo-Liberal Think Tank) affiliated Foreign Policy magazine Headlined it this way:

"The dying marine: What the hell was the AP thinking?"

Yours truly responded to Mr. Ricks, as have others...
I'm just surprised... stunned really, that it made it to copy at all in the current milieu of 'embedded' reporting and "'sanitized' for the discerning media consumer who doesn't want their conscience bothered" war reporting by the majors.


If the Pentagon, and your peers at CNAS want to continue these worthless wars Tom... Better stop the lying, the dissuasion from the belief that we're not vulnerable to the mayhem and non-culpable for it.. and hiding our deaths (incl the mundane, such as the returning caskets @ Dover AFB) in these wars IS a particularly creepy, Big-Brotherish, semantically corrupt, way to lie to the citizens of the country.

I feel for this soldier and his family, but "War Is Hell", whether one wins OR loses, as a nation, and as an individual human.

Condolences from AP is in order... Maybe they should MAKE SURE that the soldier's family gets every single benefit due them, because the Pentagon sure won't.

But they DO NOT owe an apology.

The last so many presidential administrations INCLUDING the current regime owe his family that.


([Should we] Publish this picture...) To a nation full of children raised on video game and fantasy movie violence?

Whose parents who often don't let those children out of their sight to the age of majority?

A nation who's media panders them and tells them they NEED the trinkets sold them ('trinkets' often produced by what amounts to 3rd world slave labor) at behaviour controlled shopping malls where they lose the ability to socialize or empathize with anyone besides people just like them (consumers of products we destroy countries like Afghanistan to obtain the extractive resources for..)

([Should we] Publish this picture...) YES! Absolutely.

[Read what Tom Ricks had to say, and other comments, at his Blog, The Best Defense]

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