Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photographing Truth

“Afghan photos worry military” reads the front page headline in today’s Oregonian.

The headline reflects the story that follows — up to a point.

The story says that the “revelations...caught on camera” have “intensified questions within the military community about where fundamental discipline is breaking down given the nature and length of the war.”

Questions: Are the photos intensifying the questioning? Does the military require photographs before it knows what is happening within its units? Before it gets serious? Do those photographs have to be made public in order for action to be taken? What if they had never been published?

As is all too common with stories that put the heat on government institutions, the very publication of the news (in this case photographs) becomes the story. Should the Los Angeles Times have printed them? What will the publication do to the morale of our troops? Will their lives be in danger?

(THIS STORY in today's New York Times reveals that the Pentagon made an issue of the publication and tried to stop it.)

In short, the publication itself, not what it reveals, becomes the headline grabber.

Lest we forget, the outrages depicted, like those of Abu Ghraib and others (the list long), are bought and paid for by us, the taxpayer. To extend the consumer analogy, we need to know what we are buying. If it isn’t what we had in mind, we need to stop buying it.

The problem is that we are forced to buy it. We have no options. The two major political parties are identical with regard to the brazen barbarity they have allowed in the military, the intelligence agencies and contract mercenaries.

As we get farther and farther into the 2012 campaign, the candidates will lay out sharp, allegedly “defining” differences between their parties. But who will point to their troubling similarities: reliance on massive contributions from the super-rich, the need to pander to and serve the military-industrial-media complex, the defense of “justice” that is anything but, the support of covert operations at home and abroad that shred human rights and human dignity, the denial of the need for immediate, urgent action to stop global warming, the acceptance of grotesque inequality?

“Afghan photos worry military.”

What kind of photos will it take to “worry” us, the People, into changing our current unresponsive political/governmental/military/industrial system?

HERE is an example of what's possible. The short clip is called "Things Happen."

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