Airman First Class Critical of Pictures of Fallen and Tally of K.I.A.

I received this e-mail from a U.S. air force serviceperson. I have removed his e-mail address and current duty station but he is not deployed overseas. I subsequently received a “Recall” request of the e-mail. I was unaware that the “Recall” was referring to this e-mail and responded with irony to what I thought was spam. In any event, I am publishing this because it is important and relevant to the public dialogue on war and because I think it is worthy of a response. Service personnel should not be worried about expressing their views. They claim to be fighting for our freedoms and should not be deterred from exercising that right: such as expressing angst with a professor known for his opinions on military-related matters. I should also mention I am a veteran and my father served in combat as an army captain.

 

From:   Hall, Eric J A1C USAF AMC 437 AW/OWCP Sent:  Fri 1/30/2009 5:19 PM
To:   Kirstein, Peter N.
Cc:    
Subject:   Explanation

Sir,

                I have read the email you sent to my fellow service member and looked over your website and read more than enough. I understand you have an issue with the military. I don’t know what your problem is and to be honest I don’t care. You are entitled to your opinion no matter how others perceive it. Explain this to me: Why do you have pictures of my fellow service members blown apart by IED’s? You need to take this off immediately. I don’t understand what you are trying to gain from this at all. It is like you are proud of what is going on over there. You have a kill count like it’s some kind of sports game. Just be an adult about all this. I know you think you are cool because you are different and you are edgy and made a name for yourself doing this. The same people who you have pictures of blown apart, are the same people fighting for your freedom to display those pictures. You don’t have to support what I or my brothers in arms do but you don’t have to disgrace the fallen and wounded like you have. I handled this in a very mature way versus how I would have liked to. I hope you can treat me with the same respect. [Emphasis added.]

 A1C Hall

 ///Signed///

Eric James Hall A1C, USAF

Duty Controller

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From:   Kirstein, Peter N. Sent:  Fri 1/30/2009 6:01 PM
To:   Hall, Eric J A1C USAF AMC 437 AW/OWCP
Cc:    
Subject:   RE: Explanation

Dear Sir:  

There is no need to recall your e-mail. In fact I had not read this prior to my sending the response to your recall because I thought it was a farce or a joke. I had never seen anything like that before and responded with some irony and sarcasm. I appreciate very much your contacting me and would like to respond in this manner.  

I believe war is immoral and unethical. I believe the taking of human life cannot be justified. I believe that all too often there is an effort to sanitise war and to prevent the public from fully understanding the pain and suffering it causes. I do not have pictures of casualties on my website but I have links to the following:  I have a link to what appears to be several Americans who have died by a bomb in Iraq. Prior to that link, I had a Washington Post image of several Americans killed in action as well.  

I have in addition to my website, frequently displayed images of suffering from war on this blog: Palestinians, Iraqis, Iranians, Americans, Vietnamese etc. As a pacifist committed to social justice, my intent in doing this is to lay bare the realities of war. I have occasionally received other criticisms from military personnel or their families on this matter and have published their criticisms on this blog. My belief is one’s anger should be directed to those who deploy or send Americans into harm’s way in wars that are not essential to our national security and are at best immoral and at worst explicit violations of the laws of war.  

I wish there were no casualties and no war. Those who fight war I won’t judge individually but the actions of war I will resist no matter what happens and no matter who wishes to silence me.  

Best wishes and good luck,  

Peter

There was some grammatical editing and a deletion but no substantive alteration of text. I chose not to remove any link on my website despite the demand.

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