The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shock and Awe

Some of the photographs that have really stood out for me in my time so far were the pictures of the United States’ “Shock and Awe” campaign at the beginning of the Iraq War. There are many of them and  I picked one of the better looking ones.  They depict the bombing campaign that was launched at the start of the Iraq War that was supposed to demoralize the Iraqi people by bombing them into “Shock and Awe”. These photos are iconic for many reasons.
One of the reasons they’re iconic is that I remembered them in my head even though they were broadcast so long ago. I was 11 when the Iraq War began, and I still remember them from the news broadcasts that day depicting the bombings. They are all have a sort of off night-coloring that really stands out too, with the explosions and smoke filling the pictures.   The video of the bombings is even more chilling, with explosions popping up throughout the city, which is calm except for the bombing.
I think it really is more iconic now than when it was first seen. This is because of what happened in the rest of the Iraq War. We were supposed to be toppling a regime but we were bombing the capital in an effort to cause so much surprise to the Iraqis that they would just give up, but we inadvertently angered them by bombing the city. It shows some of our failures in the war that could’ve been avoided.
-Lucas Oshman

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