For those like me who've never been to war or lived through war, it's difficult to grasp the degree of pain, fear, destruction and suffering its victims endure. What must it be like to cling to tumbling walls when bombs fall, or watch a loved one explode into pieces, having done nothing to deserve such a fate? It took the photo of nine-year old Kim Phuc to show many my age the horror of Vietnam. Discussions of nuclear weapons evoke devastating images of a mushroom cloud and a torched landscape of burned bodies. Mention of the Holocaust brings vivid recollections of emaciated bodies caged behind fences and mass graves piled high with corpses. And in Gaza, because of the hard work and valor of intrepid journalists, we have the horrific photos of dead children and their grieving families that Dershowitz and his cohorts vindictively besmirch.
We need these photos. We need more of them and we need to honor and protect the heroes who take them. Having these photos helps pave a path to ending wars. Having them (for most of us) challenges the perception of glorified war promoted by video games and corporate media. Having these photos allows us to equate war with the pain, loss, suffering and failure that war always is.