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you’re going down, bucko

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Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

you’re going down, bucko : Richmond richmond45@juno.com : 2005-11-16

I am writing in regard to your website: http://mindprod.com/politics/iraqwarpix.html#IRAQWARPIX. I marhced against the war before it began and I’ve been working in opposition to it to this very day. But to post these illegally obtained photos of mutilated American corpses is beyond the pale of human decency. You’re a fucking souless piece of shit and I would dearly love to kick your fucking ass within an inch of your life. In fact, why don’t you let me know the next time you’re in New York City because I’d love to show you some of the local sights, like your fucking teeth all over Broadway. TTYL.

First, there are no mutilated American corpses. Second, even if there were such a law, one ought to resist it since its primary purpose is to sanitise and hence promote war. Let us say that I did as you asked and removed all photos of corpses and the horror of war from my website. That would be contributing to the Republican lie that the war in Iraq is bloodless and humane and without cost in human misery, both American and Iraqi. The photos are far more eloquent than any words. You can tell by looking at the hit counts on the various pages.

Personally I think you have your priorities out of whack to be more concerned about the hiding the dead than protecting the living from a similar fate. Obviously, this is a big deal for you. You are the first person I have ever encountered with this taboo. You must go nuts with the TV news showing the injured and dead every night.

you’re going down, bucko : Richmond richmond45@juno.com 2005-11-16

Don’t give me that bullshit line about these pictures being necessary to show the American public the real cost of the war. That can be accomplished just as effectively with photos of the KIA (Killed In Action) from when they were alive (http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/) or a simple list of the names, as with the Viet Nam memorial, which doesn’t lose any power or efficacy by its lack of dismemberment and mutilation photos. What you did is sick, perverted and inhumane.

Unfortunately, those photos of the dead are necessary. The photos give me nightmares. I wake up screaming, startling the neighbours. But the thought of continued slaughter is even worse. Those are the photos that get under people’s veneer of denial. Lists of names are lame and sanitary, totally divorced from the reality. If anything, photos of the living are more of an invasion of privacy than photos of the dead. But soldiers involved in the war are hired thugs. They don’t deserve honour or respect of any kind. There we obviously differ.

How would you feel if you surfed onto a website and saw your son like that? It’s also illegal.

I have never heard of such a law. It is highly unlikely such an event could happen because all the corpses are Iraqi. The average Iraqi makes  $5.00 USD a month. They are not likely to have Internet access. However, if you believe showing people killed by Americans is illegal, then file a police complaint. Keep in mind I am a Canadian citizen living in Canada. And keep in mind you have issued two violent threats against me.

You surely do not have legal access to those photos and I’m going to make sure that the authorities know about this. Starting tonight, I’m contacting every government figure and media source, American and Canadian, that I can find an address for. This is my crusade. Those pictures are coming down or you’re going down, bucko.

You forget that Time magazine put a corpse on the cover to protest the Viet Nam war. All magazines showed horrific photos of the tsunami dead. I am by no means the first to protest by rubbing the public’s nose in how sick war is. And who gave you the right to speak for the dead? It if were me, I would want my death to mean something to be used to stop more slaughter. I would not want it hushed up.

you’re going down, bucko : Richmond richmond45@juno.com 2005-11-16

Thanks. I will be filing a complaint against you, as I said. I’m quite sure that morgue photos from the US military were not legally released. And I’m not worried in the least that any sane judge would find my comments rising to the level of threat.

Your arguments are fatuous. American support for the war has fallen precipitously, even without viewing the innards and brains of its fallen soldiers. In the 3-plus years I’ve been involved in the anti-war movement, I’ve never come across pictures like yours on the web and I doubt most Americans have either. The so-called sanitary lists and photos and arguments have caused a sea-change in public opinion without recourse to your death-porn.

You are the only one offended. I am quite willing to offend you if there is any chance it will end that war one minute sooner and save one kid from a bullet to the brain.

Your justification of your strategy is merely an excuse for you and your perverted friends and supporters to get off on these gruesome photos. The high hit count doesn’t mean anything- you could say the same thing about kiddy-porn websites which, judging from some of the things I’m reading about you, I would imagine you might be familiar with. And if I’m the first person to find these things objectionable, then that really says something about the kind of sickos you associate with.

You claim to be a war resistor, but you sound a heck of a lot like Karl Rove.

I’m not familiar with the photo in Time magazine, but I’m pretty certain it didn’t depict a soldier’s brains dribbling onto a morgue slab. It was probably no more graphic than the corpse you would see at the end of Hamlet . Basic human decency gives me the right to demand respect for the dead. What gives you the right to violate their dignity and their families’ peace, just because you disagreed with the cause they died for? I repeat- you are a piece of shit and this is not the end of this. Good night, faggot.

You see only the obscenity of the image and ignore the far greater obscenity of the murderous act it depicts. You want to hide and therefore encourage the acts because you can’t stomach the images. Stopping the acts is far more important than stopping the images. You are so traumatised by the images, you can’t even begin to consider the acts. To your way of thinking, your precious sensibilities are more important than saving lives. Have you ever seen Dr. Strangelove? You are the soldier who refused to shoot a coke machine to get a dime to recall the nuclear bombers. You gag on gnats and swallow camels. You pose as a war resister, but you do exactly what Bush wants, help sanitise his war. You are not committed to the anti-war movement. You put your own personal queasiness over the lives of other people. All you are thinking about is yourself and your own feelings. You refuse to sacrifice your comfort for those who have no voice.

There is only one question that matters in the long run: will my website make the war end sooner or later? I can’t see how it could possibly make it later. Therefore, if you do manage to take me down, you may become in effect a premeditated accessory to murder, causing deaths that would otherwise not have happened. Go find some real evil to fight.

You are a control freak. You don’t want to look at these photos because they are too disturbing, so you don’t want anyone else to, even if they want to view them. You think you know better than other adults what is suitable for them to view. You imagine yourself everyone’s parent. People obviously want to find out the truth about war. They see the big red warnings. Their browsers are ignoring the ICRA (Internet Content Rating Association) violence encodings. They come anyway even if the images sicken them and give them nightmares. You can see by the hit counts that people pay more attention to the photos than the text. A picture is worth 1000 words.

The main reason to stop all wars is because they create too much suffering and horror. If you try to minimise, disguise or hide that suffering, you are effectively promoting war.


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