Back when we were a nation, death didn’t upset us. It was a fact of life best expressed by Gus in Lonesome Dove, “Life is short; some are shorter than others.” Middle class homes all had parlors where the bodies of love ones were displayed before burials.
When we went to war, we honored the dead through photographs and drawings. Mathew Brady brought the Civil War home to America with his horrific photographs of corpse-strewn battlefields. World Wars, Korea and Vietnam featured film footage and photographs of the fallen.
It kept our leaders honest. The public accepted the death of the young only as long as they felt the war was necessary. But if, as in Vietnam, the war appeared to be unnecessary, the public, shocked by scenes of carnage, turned against it.
But, that was when we were a nation. Now that we are a corporate state, things are different. Corporate states thrive on dishonest wars. In dishonest wars, public support is tenuous at best' so wars must be sanitized and reduced to video games.
This means no more dead bodies, no more film clips of grieving parents of children killed in airstrikes. In the public’s eye, war now takes place in a sterile void where there is neither blood nor death. It’s war that isn’t really war, a make-believe Noh drama in which the public quickly loses interest, especially if it’s been going on for eight years.
Our corporate masters like it that way. It gives them a great deal of latitude to wreak havoc on the world while its citizens sit comatose and unaware.
But, God help the media that allows reality to dribble into this void!
Recently, the Associated Press released a photograph of a wounded Marine who later died.
The outcry showed that hypocrisy is the cement that hold the corporate state together. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the Associated Press lacked “common decency.” He spoke of the “pain and suffering inflicted upon the Marine’s family.”
I hate stating the obvious, but I have no choice here. Since when did bombing civilians cease to display a lack of “common decency?” Which caused the Marine’s family more anguish, the photograph or the death of their son in an unnecessary war?
It is telling that so few people noted the obvious. The corporate state has done its job well.