The fortunes of War

Iain Dale has posted a story today about some arsehole of an MP who took a photo of a terminally injured soldier being unloaded from a transport plane in Afghanistan. Whilst I agree this was totally inappropriate, I commented thus:

Ok so the guy was a terrible James Blunt, but...

Where are the pictures of wounded, dying hideously disfigured soldiers?
Why aren't they plastered over every page of every newspaper and blog?
They effing should be, to remind the leisure suited, fat arsed voters who think Afhanistan is where fluffy coats come from.
Remember how powerful the Napalm Girl picture was?
War is shitty and horrible and an affront to the dignity of man. I say, show it like it is, not give us sanitized pictures of Gordon Brown in front of a tank surrounded by soldiers in their best battle dress.
Let's just remind all those young men, the ones who are recession recruits, who will return like aged philosophers and the mothers who shed tears for their sons and the sweethearts and wives, alone with their memories - just what it is all about.

What I didn't write is where I got the last bit from. It comes from a song called "Golden Ribbons" by Loggins and Messina. It is about the fortunes of war and those who are left behind. Here it is:

My stepfather, who died some years ago, saw war service in Burma, during WW2, as a member of the RAF regiment. He signed up at the age of 17, having faked his age as 18. Within two years, he was back, hospitalized and shattered mentally by what he saw. He spent months in the jungle, in perpetual fear of what would happen if he had been captured by the Japanese. He saw death and destruction everywhere, even back in England. One day, come airmen called him over to look at a bucket, which was by the wreck of a German airplane. In the bucket were the remains of a German gunner who had been scraped out of the remnants of his turret. Many of his friends never talked about their experiences. It is noble and honourable to serve your country, but death in war is violent and shabby and reduces dignity to a bucket of butcher's offal.

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