I just spent an hour going through all three of The Atlantic’s nightmarish photo sets on the Iraq War—starting here—and when I finally finished and got up and walked around I found myself muttering “no more war, no more war, no more war”, thinking I had to do something, Bush needs to be in an Iraqi jail for the rest of his life, and I’m finished reading anything written by Hendrik Hertzberg, who recently posted a blog on The New Yorker website which contained the following—
Drones are different. Apart from austere pacifists who reject war or violence in any form, hardly anyone rejects drones as a matter of principle, the way much larger numbers of people reject torture.
—yes, apart from crazy activists, everyone agrees that there’s nothing wrong with robotic airplanes randomly blowing people up around the planet with no oversight of any kind. Come to think of it, I haven’t encountered a single person outside of the media who’s said they approve, even in the slightest, of the drone program. What exactly are we defending, after all, if there are no checks or balances on these weapons?
But as for the photo sets, moving, horrifying, and truthful as they seemed, I couldn’t help thinking that even a magazine as leftwing as The Atlantic still can’t bring itself to depict America’s enemies in a remotely heroic fashion. There’s no problem with showing Iraqis as pathetic cowards, surrendering weaklings, charred corpses, screaming children, or stampeding old men—but will we ever see a picture of a terrorist running to save a wounded friend? Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen, and don’t even tell me it hasn’t been photographed, because these people—even the nutcases who blow themselves up in crowded mosques, committing murderous acts of terror and cowardice that pale beside the tens of thousands of corpses and millions of broken lives that lay on the hands of George W. Bush and the Supreme Court Justices who awarded him the presidency—are still human beings.
Call me Hanoi Jane, but there it is.