I hiked up my pantlegs and waded into the conservative blogosphere today and saw this post over at Power Line. It seems that the Blogger-Formerly-Known-as-Hindrocket (who decided recently to start posting under the name John since his latent and [to him] embarrassing homosexuality was getting a little obvious) saw the following Time magazine advertisement and decided that it was yet another example of how pictures are making his pet war look bad.
Here's what the eminent attorney had to say:
"Know why." Know why what? Why American soldiers are beaten and dispirited, I guess. Why we're losing in Iraq. Is there any other way to read this ad? I've studied it more than I'd like to admit, and I can't think of any. If you want to know why American soldiers are defeated and demoralized, read Time.
I'm glad this dipshit is a litigation attorney and not a criminal lawyer. He's never heard of motive. Time is clearly saying that, while other magazines and news sources show you what happened, Time wants to delve deeper and try to explain why things happen. Unless you're a kook who sniffs every document to determine validity or who finds media bias in crossword puzzles, you'd probably see that right off the bat. Not the Once-and-Future-AssMissile.
For my part, I find it a deeply affecting advertisement, especially when you take into account something that isn't readily apparent, but stands out like a sore thumb to anyone who's served in the Army: the folder between the soldier's feet is an Army medical record. I want to know his story now. Is he crying? Is he in pain? Is he praying that he'll be OK or thanking God that he's on his way home and simply carrying his records to his redployment station? In other words: Who is he? Where was he? When was this taken? And, yes, why is he there?
As the incomparable Athenae wrote a couple of days ago, those who supported the war in Iraq fear any photo that doesn't involve waving flags and cheering crowds, despite their willingness to chant "freedom isn't free" to anyone who suggests that it wasn't worth the loss.
Freedom isn't free, you say, giving me the impression that whatever other xenophobic homophobic fundie whackjob tendencies you harbored, at least you understood that for your bravado somebody pays a price. I hope you got a receipt, because it sounds like freedom's a little more expensive than you counted on. In fact freedom's so fucking expensive you can't stand to be told what market price is these days.
While Little Johnny Hinderaker seems to take a "to make an omelet you have to break some eggs" approach to the war, he hates it when the press shows the leftover shells.
Something else: A large part of my job is to take pictures of soldiers. Almost every soldier I've met would love a photo like this of themselves. It's not glamorous, but the prettiness it lacks is more than made up for by its honesty and its appreciation of soldiers' struggles. If you were always clean and happy and waving a flag, then everybody would serve.
You see, today's soldiers (myself, of course, included) were raised on the photos of dirty dogfaces crouched in Bastogne foxholes and the Vietnam-era photos of tired, worn soldiers coming back from the jungle patrols. I don't want to idealize them too much, but these are photos that speak of warriors who have given their all and have lived through it. If you had just won the Super Bowl, would you want to go clean up before someone took your picture, or would you rather be remembered sweaty, filthy and beaten up, standing on the field on which you'd been victorious?
The best that some people could do to support soldiers is just leave them alone. You got your way and your war. Let soldiers have their pictures.