War Porn: we just don’t need it

by Alan on October 1, 2014

in Military

Stills of the second strike on Isil an armed pick-up truck in Iraq with a Brimstone missile by a RAF Tornado GR4 aircraftThe tone was set by the Americans with videos of missiles in flight to destroy their targets and now the RAF are doing the same. Videos showing the military might of the Western world often against an armed but un-armoured pickup truck are released as part of the media war. Why they are released is not clear, but I suspect someone, somewhere, thought that such images would be a demonstration of how power can be projected on a world stage.

And of course they aren’t particularly unpleasant. Black and white, pretty grainy and always ending in a flash/bang that showed nothing much of any consequence.

But underneath all that, someone is being killed. And when the Islamic State turned this war porn on its head and got up close and personal in their recent videos many of us were very uncomfortable with what we saw. Allegations of savagery, medievalism, brutality were common, but the reality is that the images were IS’s equivalent of the missiles- in-flight films issued by western powers.

There is no place for any of this when prosecuting a war. The people of Britain know that we are engaged in a war, and we are likely to be so for many months if not years to come. Demonstrating “kills” shows no respect to an enemy and it is a basic tenet of the military that you should always respect an enemy, even though you do not agree with him.

I also fear that the missiles-in-flight videos will have a negative impact: we’ve deployed Tornado aircraft to Iraq and all they can attack are pick-up trucks. This will not match public expectations where the RAF and others are there to push back IS.

The sense of imbalance is great and the sense of missing the point is huge.

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