If there is one thing the civilized world can collectively agree on currently,
it's that the initial photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib were egregious at
best, stomach turning at worst.
Showcasing the complete disregard for another human being that was a daily
staple of life for the prisoners, it didn't matter that some photos were
grainy, some blurred by the media in order to pass muster for public
consumption. They were enough. If a picture is worth a thousand
words, shut up already. We get it. The world gets it.
But wait! Now comes the titillating debate about whether to release the
thousands of other photos and the media is salivating like a hungry pit bull
with a steak being dangled just out of reach.
Breaking News: They are the only ones slobbering for more.
The world's populous does not need to view them, the descriptions are more than
adequate and the human imagination can take it from there. We do not need
to see the video of Nick Berg's decapitation to appreciate the horror of a
medieval execution in the 21st century. And we do not need to see
digitally blurred photos of naked Iraqi men being forced to masturbate, in
order to grasp what they are, well, grasping.
America's image is already burning, we do not need to fan the flames.
But that won't stop the media. The sizzle is there and they will get
their teeth around that steak. They will preface their showcasing of more
images with disclaimers of "The pictures you are about to see..." and
defend their right to do so as "reporting the news". They will
run them and rerun them and use language that is as exploitive as the pictures
And the American government, under pressure from the voracious media, will
refer to the release of more as photos as "being transparent", the
latest addition to the political vernacular. What they are all ignoring
is the "slippery slope" - another pundit fave - that is being
created. Donald Rumsfeld freely admits the scandal "is going to get
worse before it gets better", but then told a reporter, "I would be
happy to release all the images to the public and get this behind us."
Behind us? The only thing that will get "behind us" is an
increased swell of anti-American sentiment that will threaten to wipe out every
good deed done in addition to wiping out more soldiers' lives. Show these
images and an already unstable environment in the Middle East has no where to
go but down.
I don't deny the rubber necking, voyeuristic tendencies of the human race.
If you show it, we will watch. But the public simply does not have a
right, much less a need to see everything. We get it.
And the media are the only ones hungry for more.
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