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Thursday, March 27, 2003

Focus on the pictures.

The New Republic (in this subscribers-only editorial) comments that Americans are mentally unprepared for the reality of war — and that the media isn't helping. "We are delicate, and queasy, and disappointed that the battlefield brings bad news," TNR observes; the media is doing us a disservice, the magazine says, by withholding pictures of the brutality of war. "Why should Americans be spared this knowledge? What illusion, exactly, is being protected?"

Just wars are also ugly wars. Fancy wars are also ugly wars. All the moral assurances and all the technological assurances in the world will not make this war any lovelier to behold, especially if Saddam Hussein orders the use of chemical weapons against American troops. Will those pictures be suppressed, too? Perhaps the secretary of defense should lose a little of his bravado, so that Americans are not confused into believing that the rightness of this war is somehow connected to the ease with which it may be won.

I for one am at a loss to know where to find more disturbing photos — and I'm not entirely sure how I would assess a desire to go looking for them. It seems to me that the news weeklies have usually been more graphic than the daily newspapers; will the media divide up some responsibility for graphic depictions along similar lines in this war?

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 March 2003 at 6:05 PM

Previous: Focus on the frame.
Next: In support of an unjust war.

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