I thought long and hard about this post. I WARN YOU, THE NEXT PICTURE MAY (AND SHOULD) TURN YOUR STOMACH
This is the official image of a Marine who died fighting in Iraq. I have blurred his face so that I could use his image to represent the 2200 or so thus far who have died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is a classic portrait of a soldier, honored and remembered as disciplined and proud and noble, regardless of "race" or sex.
Over 2200 Americans have died thus far in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Iraqis have suffered well over ten times that amount as both soldiers and civilians and yet more will die on both sides and especially 'in between'--as the "collateral" damage that occurs when grand politics combine with simple bullets and cheap explosives
For an administration that refuses to allow the flag draped coffins of its "heroes" to be photographed upon their sad but noble homecoming from their service to the great causes the administration espoused, these men and women, these soldiers and their families are faceless.
For an administration that orders men and women to battle, yet rewards those who return from sacrifice to yet more sacrifice--loss of jobs, income, health and health insurance, child care and medical benefits, they are faceless.
Whilst demanding the support of all yet demanding the sacrifice of a few and with the collusion of the mainstream media too embedded in the production or seated too far away to understand the play and recognize the actors, these men and women are faceless.
This is a photograph of a Marine killed in Iraq late 2005, long after the WMD weren't found, long after Hussein was captured, long after Mission Accomplished, long after Rumsfeld said that democracy was "messy".
As I look at this Marine's picture many questions come to mind.
Who is this man? Why did he get his face blown apart? Did he die for his country? Did he die for me? Did he give up his life and his face so that I could be free? Did he die becuse my taxes sent him to a warin which he got his face blown away in a conflict I didn't support? Is it my fault he has no face? Is it his fault for joining the marines? Is it the fault of those who ordered him to war or are we all complicit?
Well one thing is for sure, I'll never know because although I found this image easily enough, I don't know who this soldier is, and I'll never know anything about him because his face and his brains and his thoughts and his life have been blasted to smithetreens because some tiny group of assholes decided it would be a good idea to invade Iraq and a larger bunch of assholes agreed.
Well now it's not just the namby pamby liberal elite who think the Iraq adventure was a bad idea, more and more of it's supporters are turning around. That's great, but too fucking late! Look at this guy! He's dead and he's got no face! Why? WHY?!
As an opponent of this war I owe this Marine and his buddies FUCK ALL! ! He didn't die for ME, he didn't die for my rights and freedoms, the Constitution or the Bill Of Rights, he didn't die for the good old US of A; he died for his buddies, his military and his Commander in Chief. And he got his face blown off in the process.
Excuse me, I'm assuming too much. I don't know this Marine. He may have served despite personal objections. Now he's dead and he doesn't even have a face. His family is entitled to remember him as he was when he was alive and full of promise. I'd prefer to remember him that way too. But though it's more productive to remember how people lived, one shouldn't forget how they died.
No matter the circumstance, no matter how great or mean the context, no one should be faceless.