We the people . . .
A major news story recently is about Afghanistan and how President Obama must make a decision to either send more troops there or scale down the forces. This reminded that earlier this month, AP published a photo of a dying American soldier in Afghanistan. Aside from objections from the family (I’ll address this later), most of the outcry came from Conservatives (don’t tell me it’s not true, you know it is!). The basic premise was that publishing the photo is an attempt by the liberal media to break the resolve of the American people for support of the war(s).
First, that argument is pathetically disingenuous. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear Conservatives cry foul about Obama’s policies. The phrase most used is socialism. The objection most aired is that the government is taking over everything.
Let’s examine that argument for a moment. In a socialist state, the government controls everything and the people are along for the ride. The American government was established based on a constitution with a pre-amble of ‘we the people‘. Have we forgotten that? ‘We the people‘ should run the government (we haven’t for a long time, but work with me), not the other way around. Therefore, ‘we the people‘ have every right to see pictures of war casualties. That is our right, and it is the only way ‘we the people‘ can decide for ourselves whether the sacrifice is worth the price.
Second, although I whole-heartedly support the right of ‘we the people‘ to see war pictures, I see no altruism in AP’s act of publishing this picture. Director of AP photography, Santiago Lyon defended publishing the photo by saying:
“We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is.”
I don’t believe a word of it! Where has AP been for the past 8 years? Their claim of ‘journalistic duty’ doesn’t impress me. This is nothing more than a stunt in search of more readers, attention and revenue.
Third, my heart goes out to the family of the soldier. ‘We the people‘ have every right to view such photos if we wish, but that should not be at the expense of a grieving family. That soldier’s face could easily have been pixellated with the click of a mouse. His identity was not germane to the story; the rest of the picture conveyed the narrative adequately.
Finally, if you’re in the slightest bit afraid of what such pictures may do to the resolve of ‘we the people‘, or if you’re unable to stomach the gruesome nature of such pictures, then perhaps it’s time to rethink our war strategy.
Are we still ‘the people’ referred to in the preamble to the US Constitution?