The Images We Need to See from #Syria

At the outset, I want to issue a warning for the graphic nature of this post.

But these are images I think we need to see - we being Americans, we being everyone who wishes to participate in the debate about Syria, we being Democrats, liberals and progressives.

In his weekly address today, the President spoke of the debate over using military force in Syria:

"We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria."
That is what I want to show you today. The images we have seen out of Syria. We have, on this blog and in Congress and all over the country, been waging a spirited debate on the merits of  a possible military intervention predominantly by the United States. But the images have a place in the debate - a place that has thus far not been given to them by the national media.

If you think these images are going to be gross, sickening, and emotionally disturbing, they are. If you think their publication should be held back because of that nature and their potential emotional impact on the debate, I remind you that our side - the progressive side - decried George W. Bush's decision not let soldiers coming home in bodybags and flag-draped coffins during Iraq be photographed when that administration used much the same defense - it would be too emotional. The images from Syria are the other side of that same coin. If we thought the coffins and the body bags should be on display, they we cannot hide from these.

Credit: National Post, Canada.

Credit: The Atlantic Wire

Credit: The Sun, UK.

Credit: The Telegraph, UK

Credit: New York Times.
Again, I don't like looking at these gruesome images any more than you do. I really don't. But it's something the country needs to see. These are the faces of what Alan Grayson says is "not our problem." These are the bodies of the innocents - just a few of them - that have been victims of Assad's gas attacks. These are the images that need to be part of the debate. I am not saying they need to persuade any war opponent that military action is just, or that you are heartless if you see these pictures and don't want to bomb Syria. That is definitely not what I am saying. But just as we wanted people to see the flag draped coffins from Iraq and let that have a place in the public debate about it, now we must let these images have a place too.

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