Photographing the Dead in War

by Bing West

In every war, there are incidents of taking photos of the enemy dead — by both sides. The Taliban have shown on YouTube etc. photos of American dead. The overall conduct of our forces since 9/11 compares favorably with overall conduct in any previous war. The huge difference in the 21st century is the ubiquity of the digital camera/video, carried by every soldier and immediately available for global re-broadcast. The only solution to this is the understanding of the public that poor discipline and immaturity are constants of the human condition. That banality having been said, manifestly every incident like this damages our standing in Afghanistan and in the world. It has to drive our commanders nuts.

— Bing West’s latest book is The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan.