America is not a pro-war country. Our people are patriots. But we have grown an increasing rejection of preventable warfare. And one of the reasons for this is because of an interesting development in warfare information: Imbedded journalism. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 is really the kickstart of what has now become commonplace— reporters and photographers today, are expected to give the public a full view of the reality of war. This, combined with more and more realistic movies churned out by Hollywood, has been a turning point in how comfortable the American people are with war.
Nobody likes war. Nobody wants war. And the cultural resistance to unnecessary bloodshed has only grown stronger. No longer is it just progressive hippies demanding peace as in the Vietnam War era… now the sentiment of patriotism has grown beyond waving flags and hanging yellow ribbons and holding parades for returning combatants. American patriots today are comfortable saying that they don’t want any more war. Conservative politicians aren’t bragging about defense budgets any more and aren’t exactly riding around in tanks with a cigar hanging out of their mouths. Today, we mourn our losses with a rising fervor. America is fed up with war. And I think this is largely because the visual component of our brains have access to much more information today than we did even 15 years ago. We had to see it to believe it. Speaking on the decision to embed journalists during the Iraqi War, Lt. Col. Rick Long is quoted as saying “Frankly, our job is to win the war. Part of that is information warfare. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment.” No longer are casualties just names in the newspaper or battles just glorified on propaganda posters. The horror is real. And the graphics are waking us up to a fairly young but surprisingly collective intolerance for war.
In the same way, it seems important to realize that all the small but significant strides the pro-life movement has made in limiting abortions is 100% due to information: the science behind viability, fetal pain understanding, ultrasound technology. There is some discomfort or downright repulsion in seeing images of aborted children. Yet we have to show the true face of abortion so the killing can no longer hide behind the smoke and mirrors of “women’s rights.” Images of torture and dead bodies have proven to work for building a resistance to war for our people. So it seems clear that in order to sensitize the public toward the value of unborn lives, information warfare is a tactic in which we have to engage.
This Memorial Day, I respectfully remember those who’ve given their lives in service to their country. And I am thankful that the public is becoming more and more aware of the heavy price our nation pays every time we make the decision to engage in warfare. We demand accountability. We will protect our independence but we expect there to be a serious and just reason to risk the lives of our soldiers. Images have helped shape our realization of war’s heavy expense. And I pray that the American people will also recoil in horror at the visuals of abortion. I am uncomfortable with it; we all should be. Yet, I want the information out there. I want the destruction of lives to stop.