My experiences stationed in a USMC Public affairs office shaped my criticism of media
My experiences stationed in a USMC Public affairs office shaped my criticism of media
By Punk Johnny Cash / gonzotimes.com
Feb 17, 2011

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned quickly that media, images and information would be tightly controlled. I worked in a U.S.M.C. Public Affairs office as well as the "Combat Visual Information Center". There were images and footage that was not to be seen by the general public because they would make the U.S.M.C. look bad. I first learned of this when a camera crew came in to film a documentary on Parris Island. The footage was not allowed off the island until it was viewed by the general and he was to determine what footage was allowed to be used. I addressed some of this dialogue in context to the larger media and cultural discussion recently in my post Propaganda and Language of the State.

There were two pictures in particular that stand out in my memory in all of this. I would receive CD's full of videos and images from Afghanistan and Iraq. We would go through them and decide what to do with much of it. Some was saved, some they did not want to exist. I remember seeing countless videos made by Marines playing songs like "let the bodies hit the floor" and other anthems of aggression over top of footage of violence. One of the things that I remember most clearly was the pink mist. You would see a person standing there one moment the next they would be nothing but a pink mist in the air raining down.

I found a batch of images on a disc that were extremely low resolution. I took two to paint. Both struck me as strong images that needed to be seen. As I began the images I was told to stop. I was told there was no place for them, and that it was not the image we wanted to portray of the war.

The first image was a field of rifles stuck in the desert ground muzzle first with a Kevlar helmet hanging off of each one. It was a memorial to the Marines lost in combat. Their M16 A2 service rifles were taken to what looked like a makeshift graveyard. It was vast. This practice made its way back stateside and I later could find images of similar practices, but have had a hard time finding the field of rifles. There could have easily been hundreds of them sprawled out in the red dusk of the desert.

The second image I began was of an Iraqi citizen. He was a gentleman I assume was in his late forties or early fifties. He had a blue and white keffiyeh on his head, his arms were raised behind his head. His family and others stood around in horror and fear. Two marines had their rifles pushed up to his head. The focus of the image was on his face. You could see the fear and terror in his teared up eyes. He was crying for his life.

The popular dialogue would not be tainted with certain images and ideas. The USMC will not allow certain truths to come to light.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 4,627 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 4,592 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 4,475 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Thich Nhat Hanh: How We Can Learn to Love Our Enemies
5 min · 3,562 views today · This is a short excerpt from Peacemaking. I often think about this story when I think about the kind of activism I would like to bring into this world. I want to help build a...
I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
3 min · 3,002 views today · In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished - a radical narration about race in America, using the writer's original words. He draws...
The Charter For Compassion
2 min · 2,154 views today · The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 2,033 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 1,927 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,893 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,671 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,405 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 1,255 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
Simple Social Experiment Shows We Are More Than The Boxes People Put Us In
3 min · 966 views today · We live in a time where we are quick to put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
True Justice Should Have Compassion in It
Thich Nhat Hanh · 753 views today · I believe that true justice should have compassion in it. When someone does something harmful, destructive, the destruction is done not only to the person who is the victim...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 644 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
The Price of Certainty
7 min · 547 views today · It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong...
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 453 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 440 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 338 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Meet the Earthship
7 min · 315 views today · Outside of Taos, New Mexico, you'll find a community of people living in off-grid homes made of garbage. The homes are called Earthships and were invented by Michael Reynolds...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
My experiences stationed in a USMC Public affairs office shaped my criticism of media