Feature

We need to see war’s horrors

If Americans saw the nauseating images of war, they’d be better equipped to decide whether to undertake another foreign intervention.

Christian Caryl
ForeignPolicy.com

“Do Americans really understand what war is?” asked Christian Caryl. Sadly, “the answer, almost certainly, is no.” How can we, when our news media shelter us from all but the most sanitized images of armed conflict? During the nine-year Iraq War, you could watch the news for days without seeing a dead or wounded U.S. service member; the government even banned photos of the returning coffins. Now, when the U.S. is considering military action in Syria, most TV networks and major news sites are once again engaging in excessive self-censorship. Few Americans have seen video of victims of the chemical attack foaming at the mouth, or the dying children twitching on the ground. Nor have they seen the video of rebel troops coldly executing government soldiers with a shot to the head and dumping their bodies in a sewer. In war, “unimaginably horrible things” are done to human bodies—things words cannot truly convey. Soldiers and civilians “are riddled by shrapnel, shredded by blast waves, burned to a crisp.” If Americans could see these nauseating images, they’d be better equipped to decide whether to undertake another foreign intervention.

Recommended

Civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 4,000, U.N. says
Bombed school in Luhansk
fighting to survive

Civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 4,000, U.N. says

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2022
Protesters outside the NRA convention
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2022

Strong earthquake hits southern Peru
Peru.
shaken up

Strong earthquake hits southern Peru

Fire kills 11 newborn babies in Senegal hospital
Senegal hospital fire
tragedy

Fire kills 11 newborn babies in Senegal hospital

Most Popular

Is the war shifting in Russia's favor?
Vladimir Putin.
Opinion

Is the war shifting in Russia's favor?

CDC identifies 9 monkeypox cases across 7 states
Monkeypox virus.
more pox

CDC identifies 9 monkeypox cases across 7 states

Jury begins deliberations in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial
Johnny Depp
you heard it here

Jury begins deliberations in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial