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Jun 19, 2008

Your Turn: "Leia's Daddy"


As the original caption tells us, all Sgt. Ryan John Baum wanted to do was come home and put his daughter, Leia, on his chest.  Born 11 days after his death in Iraq on May 18, 2007, the placement of the baby photo during visitation addresses that wish.

As I am every day, I'm interested in your thoughts.

Iraq, 5 years later: ‘Ryan missed out on something spectacular’ (Rocky Mountain News)

(image/background: The American Photo blog highlighted this image from the recent LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph.  Photographer Barry Gutierrez of the The Rocky Mountain News won an Award of Excellence for the image in the Pictures Of The Year award)


This photo is so much more heartbreaking than yesterday's. I'd like to see it posted outside every recruitment office with a warning that soldiering may be a lethal choice in life.

Buried in a uniform, draped in a flag - glory.

Absolutely heartbreaking.

The picture below now makes me nauseous. It looks like trained dogs practicing their newest circus trick.

War is a waste.

jesus christ i'm a hardboiled cynic and i'm bawling at my desk.

too hard to look at, bag. too hard to look at.

Let the war crimes trials begin. I hope Obama pulls those guys out of that hellhole on day one.


This one fooled me. First glance I saw a soldier sleeping in an airplane seat, on his way home to a reunion and introduction to joy. Then I wished I'd not looked.

The contrast with the Carville-Matalin image from yesterday is stunning. The joys given up by Sgt Baum and his child carry a profound and bottomless grief. It is too sad to waste on millionaire political insiders except to point out that without the "talents" of the millionaire insiders Sgt Baum would not have gone to Iraq. Too bad someone didn't carry this picture into those meetings where shock and awe was born.

"Now you can't walk away from the price you pay."

And look, at just this hour, Republican war-supporters denigrate Scott McClellan in Rep John Conyers' committee hearing. Kudos to Scott's counsel, who jumped up to object to Rep Lamar Smith's opening insults.

Lawyers are always trying to put a human face and personality on clients, victims, etc. When juries see that they are dealing with genuine persons having individual personalities, their decisions are significantly affected.

If the American public could see the victims of the war, victims of all parties, especially civilians are individual persons rather than statistics or corpses, I'd bet their response to this oil war would be significantly affected as well.

Of course the Cheney/Bush administration tries to prevent that, and big media are happy to comply. If you haven't already, see Lara Logan's comment on The Daily Show:

Macabre and stunning.

I've always wanted BagNews to feature some of the more raw photography of this war in order to show the world the grotesque devastation of this particular war and to overcome the visual censorship self-imposed by traditional media. BagNews has told me was a way to do this that was not focused on the obvious. I now see what you mean, M, and it's more shocking than I imagined.

Devastating image...and this from the news article:

"Richard Baum, Ryan's father, said even though 10 months have passed, it doesn't take much to dredge up painful memories. He said when they recovered Ryan on the battlefield, they found the ultrasound of Leia in his pocket."

Incredibly sad, and stunning. Would make one great recruitment poster...

"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war." -- John Adams

To know that this one loss is but one of many makes my heart simply sink. This puts a tiny face of innocence near the face of death and makes the loss feel overwhelmingly huge.

Every soldier and Iraqi citizen murdered by George Bush's lies should get the same response as the death of Tim Russert has caused. He and all the MSM have the blood of our dead soldiers on their hands. This heartbreaking picture is evidence of the COST that we don't count. PUT a price on a life time with out your dad killed by and for the selfish ignorance and arrogance of the George W Bush administration. May Karma be swift in her retribution because official accountability and responsibility will never be brought to these murderers and all their accessories.

Gut-wrenching photo. It brings this horrible war home to where it really is -- a casket.
George Bush should be forced to look at it 24 hours a day the rest of his sorry-assed life.
Then I scroll down and see the next photo and I want to scream -- why don't those two clowns go somehwere else.
Great site -- always pricks my emotions -- photos have a way like that.


It took my breath.

If I look again I'll have to sign off.

Have I said today how much I hate those people? [Mike Malloy]

This photo makes me furious: absolutely furious. My rage and grief know no limits today. I want to make George Bush and Dick Cheney actually eat a copy of this picture. If they refuse, shove it up their *sses, in public, televised.

I agree with BruceM. This photo, and the photo of the little boy in Irak who lost both his arms should be tattooed on their faces.

cowardice rulz

It looks like something out of a horror flick. I felt nauseated when I realized that was not a wax figure but the body of a dead G.I. There is something visceral about it and highly disturbing.

I feel like it's too private to look at.

Some see it as an indictment of the folly of war. Some see it as a testament to the heroic sacrifice of the fallen.

I see it as a painful acknowledgement of a little girl who will grow up never to have known her daddy except through the eyes of people who were fortunate enough to know Ryan John Baum.

Why didn't this make the front page of the fucking NY Times or the Washington Post? Well, that wouldn't've been humanistic as much as subversive or controversial.

We're not supposed to be reminded that war has consequences, that it involves dead, shattered bodies and living, shattered families. This is why the coffins are not allowed to be photographed as they stream off the transports at Dover, why Bush and Cheney never go to a funeral for a single one of them.

Why Barbara Bush's beautiful mind can't be allowed to contemplate ugly images such as a body bags, why the 1000th, 2000th, 3000th and 4000th deaths were just numbers.

That's why this picture never made the front page of a major newspaper and never will. We as a nation desperately are trying to put Iraq behind us and we never seem capable of realizing this absurdly simple fact- We can't put it behind us without leaving 155,000 troops behind. We can't put behind us a war that still silently raging from 6000 miles away.

I remember the howling animal joy of watching my daughter be born 24 years ago. I remembered it again when I saw this picture. He never had the chance I did. It was stolen from him. He was only a little older than my daughter.

The photo made me weep.

I feel like it's too private to look at.

Posted by: g | Jun 21, 2008 at 04:20 PM

I felt that way immediately. I hope his family is ok with the pic being all over the net.

You stinking ghoul and traitor. Is there any depth to which you will not sink you lousy. miserable yellow traitor. Using the dead, abusing a corpse to further your own selfish political agenda. If that was my relative I would track you down and knock your Leftist, traitor teeth out you God Damn yellow piece of shit Liberal.

I imagine a day for you consists of constantly looking over your shoulder and cowering in fear.

You motherfuckin' slime.

If only the photo below was in response to this one, eh? I could drum up a great deal more sympathy for Carville and Matalin if it were.

The image is lovely, what it represents is very sad.

His eyes out of the picture -- to protect his privacy? to symbolize he's gone now? he can't see the photo we do (but only feels it, if he can, over his heart)? The high grain quality adds to the sense of repose, permanence, lastingness. His so neatly-pressed and immaculate suit contrasting with what we think probably killed him. Make-up that almost makes you feel the cold, grey hardness of his cheeks and chin, and his beautifully traced lips. His name tag, since we can't ask him. The picture on his chest -- I don't even dare to think of it as contrived. It's all so contradictory, so deeply, deeply sad. A really amazing photograph.

Good site and good job

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