Monday, May 28, 2007

A Picture Is Worth A 1000 Words

How many times have you heard that? It sounds so abstract until you see an image that takes your breath away. They can be happy images, capturing valuable moments in time with one's friends and family or they can be those images never that are seared into the brain, never to be forgotten. In my lifetime there have been more than a few of those. I will never forget JFK's funeral procession or how lonely Jackie looked, a feature that seemed to haunt her through the years.

The Vietnam war brought several disturbing images to the American dinner table. Who could forget the execution photo or a little napalm in the morning? Understanding of the horror of war was brought about in an instant.

Then there are the images that need no words at all. Our national psyche was scarred by a tragedy that was replayed for weeks on end, until nothing else existed but pain and anger with an unthinking need for revenge. It didn't matter who, as long as somebody paid the ultimate price.

As the Iraq war grinds on and more Americans lose their lives in a country on the far side of the globe, one wonders why with all the technology that we have why there aren't more images to convey the devastation that occurs on a daily basis. Is it because if the citizenry saw the true horror that has accompanied our invasion of a country that hadn't harmed us, we might turn against the war? Well have no fear, you don't have to worry about any images from Iraq compelling you to empathize or have compassion for those killed and injured in Iraq. Not unless the injured soldiers have given their consent first.

They make it sound good, using the excuse that the families of the victims don't need to see their loved ones last moments splattered all over the media, but in reality it is to prevent that one image that would solidify support against the war. Last night, 60 Minutes did a one hour special on the Iowa National Guard and showed one of the fallen coming home in a box. I found watching the coffin being offloaded from the plane to be one of the saddest images from this sorry debacle that is called the "war on terror". Which is one of the reasons why the Bush administration has done its best to prevent those images from being shown on the nightly news.

Today is Memorial Day, a day in which we honor our dead, which now includes an additional 1000 of our military added to the ranks of the fallen since this time last year. As a nation did we gain anything in this past year or did we lose a 1000 troops and millions of dollars for nothing? Is the return going to be worth the sacrifice? I sincerely doubt it.

My question for today is the same one I've been asking for the last six years. What about that Osama been Forgotten guy? If we are going to sacrifice our military, its equipment, millions of dollars, and our good standing in the world, couldn't we at least find the guy that kick started the hijacking of our national identity? Even if he's hiding? It could make next Memorial Day something worth celebrating.

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