04/17/2013 08:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Reading the Pictures: What Shocks Me Most About the Bloody Boston Marathon Bombing Pictures (GRAPHIC)



What takes me aback are how graphic the news photos are (#8 especiallyas compared to the almost total visual censorship of American war casualties over the past twelve years.


After the battle over Julie Jacobson's AP image of a wounded U.S. soldier from afar in Iraq, and the censorship detailed by NYT war photographer Michael Kamber in the BagNews Picture of the Year-winning audio slideshow in 2011, what was just as surprising to me was the quiet publication last week of even this buttoned up image of a U.S. military fatality after a helicopter crash in Eastern Afghanistan. (Here's the slideshow.)

Yes, I'm having trouble reconciling the bloody images from Boston yesterday when they very well might exceed in a day the number of media images of U.S. deaths and even casualites in the Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield over more than a decade. That's in light, of course, of the use of the terrorism label by the White House Monday which automatically repurposes the symbolism of the U.S. flag in so many of those blood-stained images.


In this case, where do you re-plant it?


It can't be lost on the viewer, if even subliminally -- all these pictures by Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki having gone viral -- that the flag is not just sotted but stepped on.


It took a second pass to consider this a war photo -- if you notice the fatigues.


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(photos 1 & 3-5: John Tlumacki--The Boston Globe. photo 2: Rahmat Gul/AP. caption: The remains of two U.S. soldiers are wrapped in an American flag and body bags after a NATO helicopter crashed killing two American service members, in a field near Gerakhel, eastern Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash is under investigation but initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time. It did not immediately identify the nationalities of those killed. But a senior U.S. official confirmed they were Americans.)