Letters

Readers respond to Salon's uncensored look at the brutality of the Iraq war.


Salon Staff
August 24, 2005 11:42PM (UTC)

[Read "Iraq: The Unseen War," by Gary Kamiya.]

I want to commend Salon for the integrity and grit it took to post this article and the companion gallery. These are the realities we all need to see. We can close our eyes and ears no more.

I couldn't imagine that anyone viewing or reading this could not be affected on a profound level. Even as I write this I have a knot the size of a stone in my throat. As a former U.S. Navy Corpsman I have seen some rough things before, but this put the destruction involved in this shameful conflict into a perspective that hollows out any questions regarding the value of what we have allowed to happen in our name.

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-- Chris B. Clark

Thank you for the photo gallery of the war in Iraq. As a journalist, I am shamed by the timidity and paternalistic attitude of the major U.S. media. War is hell. We are a country at war, but most of us are far removed from the consequences of our actions. We need to see these images. We need to see the suffering so that we know what's at stake here; so we know the true price of our government's policies, and who is paying that price.

Almost any night on cable television, you can find graphic violence, simulations of death -- war as theater. We aren't afraid the American people will react negatively to the sight of death and destruction; we're afraid they'll react negatively to the truth. Thank you for publishing it.

-- J. Trout Lowe

This is why I pay for access to Salon. Every once in a while, amid the excellent, the good and the mediocre, this publication does something incredibly brave and important for American journalism. No matter what your feelings for the Iraq war and occupation, it is important that we hold those opinions with the full knowledge of all that the conflict entails. Salon does Americans an important service by publishing these images. The decision to publish could not have been reached easily, and I thank you for your honesty and courage in making it.

-- James Elliott

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Thank you for publishing the photos from the front lines of the Iraq war. I went through them, at first with the steely hate of the Bush administration and of this war that I have cultivated since it began. Finally I just wept. I would rather be alive to this reality and grieving than political and detached. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

-- Maryann Gorman

Thanks for running the war photos and running them with a thoughtful preamble. I agree that, support the war or not, we need all of the information we can get about it, including photos. Those who only want media to carry good news about Iraq (or any other war) are not doing our service people or our country a favor. If one does not want to look -- and I can easily understand why -- just don't. Insisting that others not look is censorship without reasonable justification.

-- Bruce Phillips

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A friend in my women's political discussion group had an excellent idea: could these photos be sent to Camp Casey, perhaps enlarged, for the mothers to use? It may be the only way that our president ever sees them, since he's so busy getting on with his life these days.

-- Kim Pananides

I am a British reader of Salon. Although I do not have the same background as many of your readers, I do however experience a similar media blackout. Our press may be more candid and willing to report on the darker side of the war (it is, almost by default, typically the American part of the war -- how convenient for us Brits) but we still rarely see the full extent. That is why I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your story.

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It is vitally important to make people aware of this grim reality from which they have been kept. Your report was balanced and without hyperbole; just a simple statement of fact. Thank you.

-- Andrew Sharp

Seeing the Iraq pictures in Salon was bracing and a refreshing shift from the puerile stuff in the mainstream press.

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The story, however, is something else. I recall plenty of graphic photos of World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. It was not an issue until the Bush dynasty.

The military's attitude was different from this highly politicized caste group. When Marine censors decided to release pictures of the dead at Tarawa in 1943 -- photos which caused consternation and anger--a Marine officer said, to his credit, that the American public needed to know what they were up against in the Pacific. Generals received bitter letters from some grieving loved ones, but the pictures kept coming.

In any case, thanks from this derelict jarhead for the coverage. What starts in the ether moves on to the airways of the world.

-- Larry Van Goethem

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Your decision to publish these pictures comes right on the heels of a viewing of the documentary "Outfoxed." I couldn't imagine a more polarized juxtaposition. It is exactly this type of journalism that is required to "shut up" the state-run propaganda machine known as Fox News.

Brutal and difficult as it is to look at these, it is our responsibility to change this carnage, and we cannot do that with our heads buried in the sand. Last night, I merely wanted to punch Bill O'Reilly's lights out. Now I think I'd rather send him to the real Iraq.

-- Philip Powell

Thank you. I am ashamed that my country will get involved in this war but not have the courage to look at its consequences.

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-- Edith Conrad

Thank you for publishing this article and the accompanying photos. I sent them to my friends and family, because everyone should see the war that their tax dollars are paying for. These photos were horrible, unlike anything I'd ever seen. They should be on the cover of every newspaper in America. But they won't be.

-- Shira Zamir

As a human being, I am repulsed and tormented by the photos of war you have published. As an American, I am both disgraced by and outraged at what our government has done, and continues to do, especially in the name of 9/11. I am a native New Yorker who was there that day and lost many dear friends; this is not justice for them or me. It may seem an odd thing to say thank you for: grotesque, painful images that are supposed to be "too real" for us, but I do thank you, and salute you, for showing us the truth of what our troops are going through, and, more importantly, allowing us to finally begin looking in the mirror.

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--K. Frederick


Salon Staff

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