I have no problem with the Pentagon releasing the grisly pictures of the dead Hussein Boys (am I the only one who, upon first hearing the names Uday and Qusay, thought Saddam must have named them after consulting “The Big Book of Pig Latin Baby Names” — and that Uday would be pig latin for “dude”?).
Whether the photos will actually prove anything to Iraqi non-believers is another question. There are always people who refuse to accept the truth, regardless of the evidence. I’m not talking about being skeptical of what comes out of politician’s mouths, which is healthy and should be encouraged. I’m talking about hard-line denial in the face of a ton of evidence to the contrary.
For example, a recent poll of a thousand Germans showed that almost a third of those under 30 years old believe that the US attacked itself on 9/11. Twenty percent of Germans of all ages believe that lie.
We still have a lot of morons in this country who claim the Holocaust never happened. You could take them to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, let them meet Holocaust survivors, take them to Auschwitz and other concentration camp sites, and they’d still think you were phonying it all up.
Same thing will be true in Iraq. For some, it will be out of fear borne of decades of oppression by Saddam & Sons. For others, it will be the inability to trust any government after the lies that were shoved down their throats for so long.
Regardless, I don’t see a downside to releasing the photographic evidence. Sure, they’re not the prettiest pictures in the world, but we’ve seen worse in just about any violent R-rated movie.
There were a lot of people who were upset during the war when Al Jazeera showed Iraqi photos of dead US soldiers. They claimed it was a violation of the Geneva Convention (which I’m pretty sure Al Jazeera is not a signatory to). I wasn’t one of those who objected. I wasn’t happy seeing their bloodied, lifeless bodies captured on film, but I recognized it as a consequence of battle.
The problem with modern warfare is that it’s too easy to forget that people are being killed. We happily watched the video-game-like images of high-tech attacks from the air, the breathless reporting of embedded correspondents, all from the comfort of our living rooms. We need the reminder that human lives are at stake here.
People die in a war. It’s not pleasant, it’s not puppy-dog cute. It’s brutal, it’s raw, and it’s real. Let’s not shield ourselves from reality so much that we forget that.