Saturday, September 1, 2012

Interesting WW1 Website: Photographing the Dead

Greetings all:  Yes, it has been a long time and yes, we have been a bit neglectful on posting things.  We tried a few times, but ran into difficulties posting blogs. Google, in its infinite quest to make their blog site more user "friendly," made their site rather unfriendly in our view.  Repeated requests for help went ignored, so the blog slipped to the backburner.

We have been busy over the last several months.  T finished at the Army War College (a masters in strategic studies...yay!), we sold our house in Virginia, packed up everything we own, spent three weeks at our cabin in Idaho and driving down the Pacific coastline, and flew the dogs and ourselves to South Korea where T is now assigned.  Whew.  Moving the dogs alone gave us additional gray hairs.  We have now been in South Korea for about 2 months, and yes, we have a number of things to write about concerning our recent adventures.  In due time we will do so, but first, we thought we might post a link to a fascinating, although a little morbid, website.

T subscribes to a WW1 online newsletter called the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire  The newsletter itself is well worth the small cost if you are interested in the war, and this month, it included a link to a website called "Photographing the Dead.," which I (T) found fascinating, I think in large part because here in the US we try as hard as we can to sanitize the costs of war, particularly the human cost.  Heck, we get upset about photographs of our own casualties and decry as distasteful photos of caskets of dead American servicemen.  In my view, a democracy/republic should not hesitate to make public the costs of war, and photographs are probably one of the most effective methods for demonstrating the missions and sacrifices our government asks of its citizens and generating discussion about our role overseas.  Others will certainly disagree; that's the beauty of our system, but as a combat veteran who lost a friend in war, I think photographs are the most effective way of showing that war is not just something to be read about in books, glamorized in TV and movies, or promoted by chickenhawks on certain news shows.  It is real, and it is ugly, as these period photographs of British, French, German, Russian, and Turkish casualties show.  Of course, considering the First World War was just a precursor to the equally brutal, if not more so, Second World War, these countries did not learn much of a lesson either; perhaps we will.

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