Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sure, A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, But What Story Is This Picture Telling Us?

The photo above made its way into my in-box this morning as an attachment of one of those touchy-feel good chain letters and bore the caption “Compassion.” Devoid of any real context, that caption appears to be accurate. But considering what we know about what's going in the twin war zones in which the Amerikan Imperial Legions are now most heavily concentrated and how the legionnaires have been behaving toward the natives, I have to ask: what are the circumstances under which this soldier is holding this child? We would all like to imagine that this is one of those “nation building”-related exercises in “humanitarian outreach” in which the Pentagon would have us believe that “our troops” are extending olive branches to the locals. But based on what we know to be the norm in both theaters, common sense dictates that our hopes that this is the case are probably misplaced.

The quality of the photo is such that I can't make out any details, which leads to me to believe that there's a strong possibility it has been “Photoshopped.” Giving it the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to make some assumptions based on what I see. First, I'm willing to bet that this little child is one of a handful of survivors, if not the only survivor, of an Amerikan bombing attack on an Afghan village (I'm assuming from the green combat dress of the troops that this is Afghanistan, not Iraq, where the troops usually wear desert camouflage dress). The child (I can't really tell from the photo if it's a boy or a girl) appears to be in a state of shock, probably traumatized by some recent event. The soldier appears to be a senior NCO, either a Sergeant First Class, First Sergeant, or Sergeant Major (if Army) or a Gunnery/Master/1st/ Master Gunnery Sergeant (if Marine Corps; again, I can't tell from the photo which service he is). He might, given his apparent age, also be a National Guardsman dragooned onto active duty. If this is the case, it would lead me to believe that, being a “weekend warrior” who has found himself yanked away from home, family, and day job and dispatched halfway around the globe rather than to somewhere within his own state, he is less than enthusiastic about his circumstances. He also probably, despite the danger around him, has yet to be fully desensitized and dehumanized, unlike his “regular army” comrades.

Note too the seeming indifference of the soldier's comrades in the background to the child's plight. Either they are “regular army” or have been “in country” for so long that they regard the lone soldier's compassion for a native as an anomaly worthy of ridicule or contempt. In fact, I seriously wonder if these soldiers launched or guided the attack that might have wiped out the child's family (a My Lai or Fallujah “redux?”). If this is the case, one wonders what miracle of God led to this child's life being spared. One also wonders what happened to the child after the picture was taken. Orphaned Afghan children cannot exactly look forward to the prospects of a happy, nurturing, carefree childhood even under the most benign of circumstances. This little war orphan's future is almost assuredly a dark one, even assuming he or she is lucky enough to find someone to raise him or her in a stable environment. Maybe someone familiar with the circumstances under which this photo was taken will someday shed more light.

So why am I crafting this conjectural narrative around a photo the circumstances surrounding of which I am utterly ignorant? Because the imperial propaganda machine delights in having us all believe that Amerikan troops manning the imperial outposts abroad are saviors, beneficent dispensers of Democratic good will, when in fact they are seen by the locals, and justifiably so, as brutal invaders and foreign occupiers. A camera snapshot captures only a single microsecond in time, very often under circumstances and conditions that are ambiguous without portrayal in a larger context. This makes the photographs easily manipulable for political and ideological purposes (and to be perfectly fair, this is true of both pro-war and anti-war individuals and organizations) that obscure rather than reveal truth.

So in closing, I will say that if I were to take this photograph at face value, the soldier holding the child is indeed a compassionate individual who merits our praise for “doing the right thing.” If this is indeed the case, my greatest hope is that the true horrors of war have manifested themselves to this lone soldier through his lone act of compassion. I also hope that if he still lives, he might influence his comrades to the point that they begin to realize the destructive role they have been duped into playing in the bankrupt, collapsing Amerikan Empire's desperate last-ditch attempts to save itself through foreign conquest and theft. If this can be accomplished, the thousand words this photograph equates to may have been among the thousand most precious words of the early 21st Century. Let us hope and pray that this is so.


Blogger Doc Ellis said...

no need to post

is the child even alive?

no need to post

4:35 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger liberranter said...


Oops! In my haste, I overlooked your caveats. But to answer your question, I have no idea. I certainly hope so. As I mention in the text, maybe someone familiar with this picture's story and who knows anything about what followed will come forward with information.

6:40 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Isaac said...

When I was about ten, my older cousin held my head under the water at the pool. When he let me come up he said, "I just saved your life. You owe me." So this is the new compassion? "We just destroyed an entire village, but look! We wrapped this kid in a blanket, so it's all good."

1:13 AM, May 20, 2010  
Blogger liberranter said...

We wrapped this kid in a blanket, so it's all good

And that's probably exactly what the publisher of this photo (again, I have no idea where it originally came from) was trying to say: "Hey, we destroyed this tike's village, murdered his family, and left him an orphan, but at least we kissed him on the cheek and gave him a blanket to say that we're sorry for making him "collateral damage. Time to move on to the next target."

As for the warviating Amoricon masses who take "inspiration" from such vapid photos, their subconscious reaction is probably reflective of the following attitude: "Wow, bummer. Must suck to be born a raghead in some Third World hell hole. Too bad we didn't kill the kid and put'im out of his and our misery. Now let me get ready for church."

3:19 PM, May 20, 2010  
Blogger Doc Ellis said...

no need to post
Hey Liberranter
I tried to find a link to Chuck Balwin's essay about sports fans. Do you have a link to his website? I only found a website promoting his run for office two years ago.

Thank you.

Your essay about memorial day was very cool.

Doc Ellis 124
no need to post

1:43 PM, June 09, 2010  
Blogger liberranter said...


The URL to Chuck's website is

The link to the article you mention, "America's Bread and Circus Society," is at the moment embedded here:

I'm not sure how Chuck indexes his articles, so whether or not this will be a permanent link remains to be seen.

6:08 PM, June 09, 2010  

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