Monday, March 19, 2007

U.S. Navy Year in Review: reality missing in action

The U.S. Navy has put together a review of its year in 2006 designed, they say, "to share the Navy experience with the general public":

In 6 minutes and 40 seconds the Navy presents a series of often very good quality photographs in combination with a couple of musical tracks. Featured are a variety of men and women of all ages, either working in the Navy or being helped in some sense by the Navy. There are lots of smiling faces—former President George Bush, film star Halle Berry, and even a dolphin make an appearance.

Strikingly, however, while there are plenty of weapons, there are no victims of those weapons shown. The only reference I noticed to a U.S. casualty in 2006 was that of Paul J. Darga, who was killed in Iraq on August 22. He was symbolized by a gun and helmet. He is one of 3,166 U.S. armed forces deaths in Iraq so far.

The people the US armed forces fought against in 2006 are not featured, with the exception of one photo. Here, a few suspects (as the caption describes them) were alive, but in a submissive state.

There were no human bodies penetrated, bowdlerized, impaired, disabled or pulverized by weapons. I have asked the Navy if this is part of their operational guidelines when producing such materials. Perhaps they will respond. For whatever reason—and there could be plenty—the gruesome reality of violence and death is hidden, replaced by smiley happy people. If all the Navy did was rescue people, that would be ok. But part of their reality is killing and injuring people. Part of their reality having the same done to their personnel. This reality is missing in action from their year in review.

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