StrikeFO sends us a link to an opinion piece in which John Rico, a veteran of Afghanistan preaches to the masses at Salon about “Why soldiers take pictures”. He does the best job I’ve seen anywhere. I hope the regulars at Salon take note;
Taking a silly photo to relieve the stress doesn’t strike me as the worst thing in the world, given the circumstances. The desire to document surreal experiences is a normal human motivation. Yes, in this particular context the details are rather gruesome, but this is a gruesome task we’ve handed them.
The real grotesqueness isn’t in infantry soldiers taking a few war trophies. No, it’s the idea that’s been sold to the American public that war can be sterile. It’s the idea that 18-year-olds who have been ordered to kill people will never play with the body parts afterward.
You should go read the whole thing and don’t forget to read the comments as Rico’s explanation, the first honest explanation I’ve read on the subject goes right over the pointy heads of Salon’s readers.
Yeah, there’s an insurmountable divide.