Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Shock of war hits home for America's 20-somethings
Dallas Morning News ^ | 05-14-04 | Associated Press

Posted on 05/14/2004 2:41:26 PM PDT by The Lumster

CHICAGO - For 20-somethings, this is their war now -- the first they've experienced as adults, the one in which they are major players.

Graphic images from Iraq are being circulated on their medium, the Internet, riveting a generation sometimes criticized for being disengaged. And many of those images involve people their age, among them 26-year-old Nick Berg, whose horrific death was captured on video -- as well as young American soldiers mugging for the camera alongside naked, hooded Iraqi prisoners.

"It's the first time we can't just point a finger at a leader and say 'You did this wrong' and instead have to say 'We're doing this wrong,"' says Sarah McAuley, a 24-year-old who lives in San Francisco. "The people shown abusing Iraqi prisoners are me, or at least not as distinguishable from me as some."

McAuley saw the first photos showing abuse of Iraqi prisoners on a TV at her gym. Soon after, she fired off an entry for her Web log, describing how she felt "sad, ashamed and disappointed."

The searing images have had that effect on many Americans. But some experts believe they will have particular influence on this generation and its view of the war.

"Words have a power to affect your mind and to get your brain waves going," says Matthew Felling, the 30-year-old spokesman for the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a Washington-based media watchdog. "But an image -- and a visceral one at that -- tugs at your heart. And that is the language that Generation X and Y speak more than any other age groups."

Increasingly, the Web has played a big part in that.

Internet company Terra Lycos reported that, for the first time since it started, searches for prisoner abuse images last week propelled the war in Iraq to the top of its "Top 10 Search Term" list. Earlier this week, the company said interest shifted notably to Berg, whose captors posted the video of his slaying on the Web.

An entry posted on the Web site Live Journal about the first prison abuse photos also has drawn more than 1,200 responses in recent days -- many of them from young people.

"I think a lot of the reaction, particularly among kids, is a struggling to understand these horrors and put them in context," says Ryan Brenizer, a 25-year-old New Yorker who regularly posts his thoughts on Live Journal. "I got into political discussions online largely because it was fun, but none of this is fun or about entertainment -- it's about grappling with an often scary, changing world."

Then there's the speed with which these war images are being circulated, says Abe Peck, a journalism professor at Northwestern University.

"It's this media stream that 20-somethings and certainly 'teen-somethings' live in -- and that just accelerates everything," he says.

Access to such technology makes the Vietnam conflict -- dubbed the nation's first "living room war" due to greater access to TV images -- seem like the Dark Ages. Now it's instant war, in real time.

"It's coffins at Dover," Felling says. "It's Fallujah, bodies dangling. It's a snapshot of Pat Tillman (the 27-year-old former NFL player killed in Afghanistan).

"It just builds a momentum of its own."

Erin Bechill, a 22-year-old Chicagoan, thinks that's true.

She remembers walking with a good friend recently and passing newspaper boxes filled with images of the Iraqi prison photos. And though their political views differed -- she's more conservative, while he's more left-leaning -- they agreed about the photos' meaning.

"We both saw them as a sign that this war has reached a tipping point," Bechill says. "It's time to bring our troops home."

Despite all the attention these latest war images are getting, there remain a few who still don't follow the war much.

"To me, the war is just kind of like another show on television," says Chris Urban, a 28-year-old from St. Louis who works in magazine distribution. "I try to check in on it a couple times a week. But it doesn't have much bearing on my life."

And as awful as they are, he says he's not shocked by these latest war images.

"It's part of war," he says, adding that there are plenty of other atrocities that never get this kind of attention because there are no photos or video.

Still others, including 24-year-old Brette Peyton in Dallas, have felt overwhelmed by images that are all too real.

"I feel like I can't even turn on the TV or look at a newspaper without seeing them -- and I don't want to see them anymore," says Peyton, who's the daughter of a retired Army officer.

At the same time, she feels like it's her generation's responsibility -- now more than ever -- to keep informed on the war so young people can be "better voters and leaders."

Otherwise, she says, "we will be ill-prepared to handle our country when its future rests in our hands."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 20somethings; iraq; prisonabuse; war
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-42 next last
And though their political views differed -- she's more conservative, while he's more left-leaning -- they agreed about the photos' meaning.

"We both saw them as a sign that this war has reached a tipping point," Bechill says. "It's time to bring our troops home."

Mission accomplished CBS!

1 posted on 05/14/2004 2:41:27 PM PDT by The Lumster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

"Until I see a picture on television, it's not really real to me and stuff. 'Dead bodies' huh? Show me a picture, then I'll understand. Oh, and add a little sad music to the picture, to give my emotions a little jumpstart too. Maybe something by Sarah McLaughlin or Enya."


2 posted on 05/14/2004 2:45:13 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster
"To me, the war is just kind of like another show on television," says Chris Urban, a 28-year-old from St. Louis who works in magazine distribution. "I try to check in on it a couple times a week. But it doesn't have much bearing on my life."

Chris has a bright future ahead of him...

3 posted on 05/14/2004 2:45:22 PM PDT by danneskjold ("Somebody is behind this..." - George Soros)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster
"The people shown abusing Iraqi prisoners are me..."

You most definitely are not, dear.

Someone's clearly been abusing this young woman. Probably several people, mostly NEA members.

HF

4 posted on 05/14/2004 2:47:57 PM PDT by holden
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster
she's more conservative, while he's more left-leaning -- they agreed about the photos' meaning.

"We both saw them as a sign that this war has reached a tipping point," Bechill says. "It's time to bring our troops home."

Translation: She is slightly to the right of Karl Marx while he is to the left.

5 posted on 05/14/2004 2:49:24 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

I think this is rather amusing. A generation that is raised on violence or as they described the Passion, pornographic violence and pornography itself, NOW they look at Abu Grhaib and are shocked? The only thing shocking to them should be that its familiar.


6 posted on 05/14/2004 2:49:34 PM PDT by Naspino (HTTP://NASPINO.COM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Naspino

The poor dears; brave men and women are fighting to preserve their freedom and all they can worry about is how the images affect their own vapid lives.


7 posted on 05/14/2004 2:52:33 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

The media's attempt to Vietnamize Iraq continues....


8 posted on 05/14/2004 2:53:56 PM PDT by atomicpossum (Hey, I wouldn't touch Camryn Manheim's uterus on a bet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster
"I think a lot of the reaction, particularly among kids, is a struggling to understand these horrors and put them in context," says Ryan Brenizer, a 25-year-old New Yorker who regularly posts his thoughts on Live Journal.

"I got into political discussions online largely because it was fun, but none of this is fun or about entertainment -- it's about grappling with an often scary, changing world."

DJs Who Laughed At Beheading Are Fired (Portland, Ore.)

9 posted on 05/14/2004 2:55:59 PM PDT by TenaciousZ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster
"To me, the war is just kind of like another show on television," says Chris Urban, a 28-year-old from St. Louis who works in magazine distribution. "I try to check in on it a couple times a week. But it doesn't have much bearing on my life."

"The sun rises every morning...sets at night. Oh, I guess I notice it. It gave me this nice tan, I guess. But it doesn't have much bearing on my life."

10 posted on 05/14/2004 2:58:58 PM PDT by Rokurota
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

Now, on to hitting the shock of war home to the DINKS, retirees, tweens, middle incomes, native Americans, professional women between the ages of 25 and 40, suburbanites, the hispanic/latino marke--community....


11 posted on 05/14/2004 3:01:29 PM PDT by dr_who_2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

Is this about genX or genY? Phil Hendrie says it is up to them to save civilization. Their Boomer parents certainly won't.


12 posted on 05/14/2004 3:03:08 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paul Atreides
The poor dears; brave men and women are fighting to preserve their freedom and all they can worry about is how the images affect their own vapid lives.

Great post, Paul.

13 posted on 05/14/2004 3:05:57 PM PDT by nutmeg (Why vote for Bush? Imagine Commander in Chief John Fin al-Qerry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: StarFan; Dutchy; alisasny; BobFromNJ; BUNNY2003; Cacique; Clemenza; Coleus; cyborg; DKNY; ...
ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent ‘miscellaneous’ ping list.

14 posted on 05/14/2004 3:06:33 PM PDT by nutmeg (Why vote for Bush? Imagine Commander in Chief John Fin al-Qerry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nutmeg

Thanks.


15 posted on 05/14/2004 3:07:06 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

They only talk to the people who fit their agenda. Most of the bloggers I read, most of the 20-somethings I know are mad as hell about the Nick Berg slaying...


16 posted on 05/14/2004 3:10:28 PM PDT by dandelion
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dandelion

Most of the kids I talk to are way more conservative than their parents, too.

Which is surprising since 75% of them had to essentially raise themselves.


17 posted on 05/14/2004 3:23:37 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: The Lumster

There is only one terrorist group in the world that can defeat our military...the liberal left.


18 posted on 05/14/2004 3:26:46 PM PDT by CWOJackson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

x'er ping


19 posted on 05/14/2004 3:28:13 PM PDT by bc2 ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" - harpseal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bc2; qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details.  

20 posted on 05/14/2004 3:35:19 PM PDT by qam1 (Tommy Thompson is a Fat-tubby, Fascist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-42 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson