Iraq 'war porn' growing in numbers online

New York, May 5: Videos featuring the gruesome killing of Iraqi soldiers and civilians in the Iraq war are growing in numbers online, earning them the name 'war porn' as they are viewed for entertainment.

According to Newsweek, thousands of gruesome videos of Iraqi soldiers getting shot in the head, rocket-propelled grenades destroying buildings, and others, are being watched millions of times over.

But the so-called "war porn" videos, which vary in the amount of violence they depict, always show attacks on enemy soldiers and civilians, not Americans, thereby serving up a one-sided perspective of the conflict.

"People watching it on their iPhone or on their home computer don't generally do it for the information, they do it because it's entertainment," the New York Daily News quoted P.W. Singer, author of 'Wired for War', as saying.

"That's the porn part of it. The soldiers use the word because they know there's something wrong with it," he said.

The creation of the videos began as both civilians and soldiers compiled clips of video footage that had been officially released by the military, or that had been shot by individual soldiers.

Using inexpensive video technology, they spliced the clips together, added soundtracks and put them online.

"Unlike the photograph, the moving image creates a feeling that it more accurately depicts what it is representing, whether it does nor not," James Der Derian, professor at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, said.

The question arose as to why anyone would want to watch such a brutal, bloody depiction of war, and if watching war porn could be harmful.

"For the same reason we watch dangerous races or horror movies," Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University and past president of the American Psychological Association, said.

"It has a high thrill factor for some people, and it portrays the dark, evil side of life that we don't know much about.

"The repeated watching of it can desensitise us to violence.

"And it may make some people seek out more examples, which could encourage the production and distribution of more such videos," he explained.

But there is also an upside to the videos, he said, as viewers might develop such a heightened sense of horror at seeing the war's violence that they would call for an end to the conflict.

"And any way that we can heighten people's sense of the horror of war to the point that they say, 'never again,' that's positive," Farley added.

Copyright Asian News International/