A friend of mine emailed me the other day over this mosaic posted at HuffPo:
It’s a picture composed with the faces of the 4,000 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq (minus a few unavailable photos). My friend wrote me to say that it was an unfair cheap shot, and that it’s unproductive for war opponents to express their disagreement by implying that Bush and McCain are laughing while soldiers are dying.
Here was my response:
…the fact that the mosaic is seen as a cheap shot is telling, in and of itself. A lot of commanders would be proud and honored to see a mosaic of their fallen soldiers made into artwork like this. Think of what a mosaic of Patton and his soldiers would say. Or Lincoln and his army. Every general who sends his troops into battle should be able to look them in the face. The fact that Bush and McCain can’t or that a photo like this is seen as a slight against them speaks volumes.
My friend wrote back to say that regardless, the only people who would benefit from the mosaic were people who already agreed with the creator. Everyone else would be further polarized by it, especially those who support the war. He went on to say that Barack Obama’s speech last week raised the bar for functional political discourse, and liberals would be wise to stop limboing under it.
I sent back a polite agreement, still secretly believing that counterproductive or not, the photo was well within the bounds of acceptability. Then a third friend, who had been observing the back and forth up to this point, weighed in with his thoughts and pretty much shut me down completely:
If I was killed rescuing someone from a terrorist, and Bush and Cheney used my picture to support a political agenda, I would be mad about it. Likewise, I can’t imagine that every soldier pictured would have been okay with their death and picture being used as a political propaganda tool by anti-war activists. I think it is disrespectful of the soldiers to use them like this. They sacrificed their lives and now their picture gets used in a Huffington post? I think it is rude.
Hard, if not impossible, to disagree with that.