This is what you won't see in the paper.
This is what you won't see on CNN or on MSNBC or CBS News or on any major media Web site anywhere and especially no goddamn way ever in hell will you see it within a thousand miles of Fox News.
You aren't supposed to see. You aren't supposed to know. You are to remain ignorant and shielded, and, if you're like most Americans, you have been very carefully conditioned to think Bush's nasty Iraq war is merely this ugly little firecracker-like thing happening way, way over there, carefully orchestrated and somewhat messy and maybe a little bloody but mostly still patriotic and good and necessary and sponsored by none other than God his own angry Republican self.
And hence you and I both have no real idea what the hell goes on in Iraq, no real images to gnaw on and be deeply horrified and saddened by, except for maybe a tiny handful of carefully sanitized snapshots of bombed-out Iraqi cities and maybe some grainy video of U.S. soldiers enjoying a dusty game of pickup football and a turkey dinner at the posh military digs way, way outside of Baghdad.
Or maybe you think war is manly and heroic and cool, as exemplified by that now-famous shot of that macho "Dogface" Marlboro-smokin' Marine whose dirt-encrusted mug was eagerly picked up by newspapers and media Web sites across the nation (including this one), and he became an instant icon for the war and the military was positively giddy about using him an ideal recruitment tool, a model of how to make soldiers look all studly and rugged and badass as opposed to the often poorly educated, disposable hunks of politically abused postpubescent meat BushCo considers them to be.
So then. Here is your uncensored truth: fallujahinpictures.com. Real pictures from Fallujah. Real pictures of war. Brutal and explicit and shocking and just one site of many. Be warned: this is very graphic content. Horrific and deeply disturbing. No censorship. No suppression. No Photoshop. No bogus shots of happy Iraqi children running in the streets begging for candy from American soldiers. No night shots of Marines in bitchin' night-vision goggles bustin' down the door of some palace and then cheering.
Because if you think that's what it's all been about, if you really think war is just this tragic but necessary evil that contains some unfortunate violence and regrettable death but is nonetheless still full of righteous democratic American truth, you have been wildly misled and deeply deceived and might want to consider a nice intellectual emetic. You and Dubya both.
Mind you, fallujahinpictures.com is not all gross-out shots of imploded skulls or severed limbs or brutally decapitated children or mutilated women or splattered brains or rivers of blood and intestine and excrement lining the Iraqi streets. Those horrific photos are indeed available (just Google "Iraq war pictures"). But, really, who wants to see that? Not Dubya, that's who. Besides, that's what slasher movies are for. Republicans and war hawks don't actually want to see that stuff in, you know, real life.
And maybe you already know that our government instituted an unqualified ban on pictures of all those flag-draped U.S. coffins that are pouring into American Air Force bases by the hundreds. Maybe you remember that cargo worker who lost her job last spring for leaking such photos to The Seattle Times.
Maybe you know how back in June the Republican-led Congress upheld the ban on coffin photos, all under the guise of "respecting soldiers' families," which of course translates directly into "If the pubic saw all those kids coming home dead, they might not wave that flag so wildly."
As the saying goes, Bush may be dumb, but he ain't always stupid. Even he doubtlessly remembers the effect of watching TV in the '60s and seeing all those American kids coming home from Vietnam in body bags. Not exactly good for morale back home. Not exactly good for the country's view of itself. And true poison to the pseudo-noble idea of just what the hell it is we think we're doing by launching such brutal and unwinnable wars in the first place.
Make no mistake, the government knows the power of the photo. Words, it's not so worried about. After all, you can read the war descriptions and you can check the appalling U.S. death stats and you can scour the dour headlines and still most of us just shrug our shoulders and say gosh that sounds bad and get on with our day.
But much like that other "un-American" site, sorryeverybody.com, exemplifies so beautifully (in a wholly different but no less effective way), sometimes words just aren't enough. You need to see it. You need to feel it. Visceral and human and deep.
Funny thing is, many right-wing neocons consider the act of displaying such pictures unpatriotic, even traitorous. As if revealing the true horrors of war somehow disrespects our long-suffering soldiers, somehow harms them by depicting the full violence of what they must endure for Bush's snide and viciously isolationist policies. You think soldiers don't want the folks back home to know what they have to deal with? You think they want you numb to the truth of war and pain and death? Guess again.
Maybe this should be the rule: If you can't handle seeing what really goes on in a war, maybe you don't deserve to support it. If you can't stomach the truths of what our soldiers are doing and how brutally and bloodily they're dying and in just what manner they have to kill those innocent Iraqi civilians in the name of BushCo's desperate lurch toward greed and power and Iraqi oil fields and empire, maybe you don't have the right to stick that little flag on your oil-sucking SUV. Clear enough?
The major media, by the way, is often hamstrung and torn. They can rarely run such photos. Newspapers and TV are hemmed in by "no-sensationalism" policies and are often paralyzed by the notion that if they ran such pictures, they would be called insensitive or inflammatory or anti-Bush and advertisers and readers alike would run away in droves. After all, most readers just aren't keen on seeing gross-out pics of 19-year-old kids from Kentucky with massive bleeding head traumas. It just totally ruins "Garfield."
You have to seek the facts yourself. You have to dare yourself to click, to take it in, to see if you can, in fact, handle the truth. It is not easy. It is definitely not pleasant. But in this time of ever escalating numbers of war dead and flagrant BushCo lies and sanitized BS about the real effects of war, all coupled with a simmering plan to attack Iran and maybe North Korea someday real soon, seeking out such visceral truth is no longer just optional. It is, perhaps, the most patriotic thing you can do.