War Porn

This news is over a month old by now but I just saw it on the CBC for the first time yesterday, and it raises just all sorts of questions (and more than a little bile).

US troops in Iraq have been trading 'trophy photos' of dead Iraqis, really gruesome stuff, for access to the porn site nowthatsfuckedup.com.

At [the] site, you can see an Arab man’s face sliced off and placed in a bowl filled with blood[...] A man in a leather coat who apparently tried to run a military checkpoint lies slumped in the driver’s seat of a car, his head obliterated by gunfire, the flaps of skin from his neck blooming open like rose petals. Six men in beige fatigues, identified as US Marines, laugh and smile for the camera while pointing at a burned, charcoal-black corpse lying at their feet.

The captions that accompany these images, which were apparently written by soldiers who posted them, laugh and gloat over the bodies. The person who posted a picture of a corpse lying in a pool of his own brains and entrails wrote, “What every Iraqi should look like.” The photograph of a corpse whose jaw has apparently rotted away, leaving a gaping set of upper teeth, bears the caption “bad day for this dude.” One person posted three photographs of corpses lying in the street and titled his collection “DIE HAJI DIE.” (from East Bay Express; see also Aljazeera's report.)

So, groups like the Council on America-Islamic Relations is pissed and wants to sue, but the Army says it can find no evidence of a crime. And then you get into issues of freedom of expression, defence lawyers point out it's the war itself, the source of the images, that should really be pissing people off...

I guess my own take boils down to this: While alternative media sources are needed, something more real and closer to the grisley truth, this isn't field reporting, this is just trading one sick jolly for another.

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