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Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake
by Andrew Barbano
Apr 17, 2013 | 2412 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I publicly wept when they looked at me. More than 6,500 young men and women fed into the meat grinder since 9/11.

Come prepared to cry when you stare into the faces of the snuffed. "Always Lost: A meditation on war" plays at the Nevada Legislature through May 3.

The name comes from Gertrude Stein who once opined that "war is never fatal but always lost." I could not disagree more with the former.

I prefer the obviously accurate opinion of Jeannette Rankin, the only member of Congress to vote against both world wars: "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." She paid dearly for speaking truth to power.

Western Nevada College Prof. Marilee Swirczek started this as a class project a couple of years ago. It's since gone national.

The Wall of the Dead displays individual names and photos of U.S. warriors killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also provides some recognition of the several hundreds of thousands of brown people wasted by our very red war machine.

Dallas Morning News photographers David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer were embedded with U.S. troops and in 2004 won a Pulitzer Prize for their professional jeopardy.

Their shots include the butcher-shop gory face of a U.S. soldier trying to stop his own bleeding. And a brown little kid with a bloody abdomen hopscotched by bullet wounds.

Prof. Swirczek said she feared that the child's photo might be too much for U.S. minors viewing the work. No. Truth must hurt.

At the Tribune's centennial celebration a few years ago, I asked the paper's owners to give it to me if they ever wanted to again make it a major factor in the market. When Randy "Take No Prisoners" Frisch was editor and publisher a quarter century ago, people lined up at news stands all over the region just to see whose ass we were kicking.

I never got to make a formal proposal, but one of the things I would have included involved "Brown Paper Wrapper Thursdays."

Among the taboo topics, I would have printed in living and not-so-living color the goriest, sloppiest, most sickening shots of war I could find. You can get them all over the web, but generally not in U.S. corporate media which sanitize mankind's follies to look like the gleaming kitchens of TV soap commercials.

The writings of Army Specialist Noah Pierce, late of Minnesota, are featured in the grateful dead exhibit.

"My anger destined me to hell ... Now I drink and cry ... Don't want to die. Don't want to live but should be dead. I'm already in hell. Two tours in Iraq."

The handsome young soldier took his own life in 2007.

You may read more of his profound poetry in the expanded web edition of this column at

May he rest in peace among earthquakes.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 44-year Nevadan and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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