electrocution through images

In his article ‘War Porn’ on the images of Abu Ghraib Baudrillard adresses what he calls ‘an immanent justice of the image’:

In fact, the Americans have been overtaken by their own power. They do not have the means to control it. And now we are part of this power. The bad conscience of the entire West is crystallized in these images. The whole West is contained in the burst of the sadistic laughter of the American soldiers, as it is behind the construction of the Israeli wall. This is where the truth of these images lies; this is what they are full of: the excessiveness of a power designating itself as abject and pornographic.

Truth but not veracity: it does not help to know whether the images are true or false. From now on and forever we will be uncertain about these images. Only their impact counts in the way in which they are immersed in the war. There is no longer the need for “embedded” journalists because soldiers themselves are immersed in the image – thanks to digital technology, the images are definitively integrated into the war. They don’t represent it anymore; they involve neither distance, nor perception, nor judgment. They no longer belong to the order of representation, nor of information in a strict sense. And, suddenly, the question whether it is necessary to produce, reproduce, broadcast, or prohibit them, or even the “essential” question of how to know if they are true or false, is “irrelevant”.

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