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Bring Out Yer Dead!

James Taranto notes an interesting issue in this photo taken in the aftermath of the Israeli airstrike in Qana.


The July 30, 2006 photo by the Associated Press's Lefteris Pitarakis accompanied this Washington Post story and is still online in the Washington Post Photo Gallery. In case you missed the issue, here's a blowup...


That pretty well answers the vexing question of what happened to the rest of the 50+ victims of the that were initially reportedly killed in the bombing. They posed for their photos, then went home...

Update: The AP did a bit of internal bragging about this particular picture and awarded Pitarakis $62.50 (before taxes), his split of a a $500 Beat of the Week award.

Update 2: It appears that Taranto was wrong and we were wrong too.

In The Bullpen and My Pet Jawa make a pretty convincing case that guy is dead. Say Anything and Confederate Yankee think that the guy above who doesn't look dead is really dead; as in too dead to be one or two hours dead. So he's gone from plausibly alive to implausibly dead...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bring Out Yer Dead!:

» Say Anything linked with "Dead" Body At Qana Sitting Up?

» WILLisms.com linked with How Big Is The Reuters Photo Scandal?

Comments (26)

OK, but why does he have th... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

OK, but why does he have the boy scout tent in the middle?

Hmmmm.Perhaps we s... (Below threshold)


Perhaps we should fake up a "victim of Israel's illegal catastrophic and way uncool bombing campaign" here in America.

Take 20+ friends.
Cover them in concrete dust.
Have them pose on the ground.
Cover them with sheets "bloodied" with ketchup or theatrical blood.
Take photos and submit to Reuters

I wonder how much Reuters would pay for horrific images of bombing victims from New Jersey. Now *that's* an escalation!

We could caption it "The Massacre of Rahway".

And no blood stains?... (Below threshold)

And no blood stains?

I am not sure about Taranto... (Below threshold)

I am not sure about Taranto's account. That foot is angled rather acutely if not broken.

The time sequence is important here. It could be that rigor mortis has set in if this photo was taken within several hours of the blast but not much beyond 24 hours.

Hmmm. The scoring mechanis... (Below threshold)

Hmmm. The scoring mechanism is a bit slow to respond. I clicked it a 2nd time after the first click didn't seem to do anything and then it chided for being a Chicago Democrat.

"Wait! I'm not dead yet!"<... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

"Wait! I'm not dead yet!"

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that Monty Python was foreshadowing actual news reports?


Kudos to Taranto for linkin... (Below threshold)

Kudos to Taranto for linking to a post showing he was very likely wrong. Rigor mortis it is.

Beware that some of the bod... (Below threshold)

Beware that some of the bodies, including the one in question, are uncovered in photos on the page I linked above. Don't click thru if you don't want to see that. There's blood there too for those of you who are disappointed that the heart stops pumping after death and thus doesn't get blood all over the sheets.

Some other photos of the vi... (Below threshold)

Some other photos of the victims we all have probably seen also feature a corpse lying prone with one arm straight in the air, due to rigor mortis. I think this is the same body. I don't think he's sitting up, but that it's his arm that's holding the cloth up like that.

I can't remember where I saw the photo of the body uncovered, but linked here is the body from another angle. I believe here you can see the shape of the curled hand under the peak of the covering.


Ah, I see mantis covered it... (Below threshold)

Ah, I see mantis covered it while I was searching for the photo.

As odd as it looks—and kin... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

As odd as it looks—and kind of funny in a morbid sense—it appears to be rigor mortis.

As for the bloodless sheets, that is a bit odd. But there's got to be an explanation for that. Given enough time for the blood dry and stick to the dead person's clothes, but not stain a freshly lain sheet over them.

Of course, if Hezbollah hadn't placed ordinance near civilians, an utter violation of the rules of warfare, then this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

Screw the corpse/non corpse... (Below threshold)

Screw the corpse/non corpse; "Lefteris Pitarakis" is still making me giggle. "Yeah. He strings for the AP; sometimes for Reuters. His friends call him...."

This is probably a clearer ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerican Immigrant:
I don't know if it is real ... (Below threshold)

I don't know if it is real or faked, but what I did notice was the caption of the WaPo photo. It says "at least 50 people, including scores of children, were killed.

Scores? A score is 20. I suppose 40 of them would make it plural, but not likely. Talk about slanting!!!


LoveAmerican Immigrant:... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

LoveAmerican Immigrant:

Classic! It's right up there with groups of the "angry Arab street" burning American and Israeli flags. Supposedly these are the same people who can barely afford to put food on their families tables yet somehow have enough disposable income to afford a shiny new US and Israeli flag (or the paint and sheet to make one up) that they can burn at will.


Naturally, it's important t... (Below threshold)

Naturally, it's important to stay vigilant, especially when we're seeing pictures coming from a conflict with a terrorist group that has it's own media relations department. Not that we haven't had our fill of Palestinian stage shows.

I think in some cases, you can see where staging or outright manipulation has occured, but it's still important that we not jump to conclusions everywhere. It weakens credibility to do so.

Violence Worker,

Regardless of how much "score of children" actually is, I know we both agree that it's too many. The sooner Hezbollah stops hiding behind them, the sooner we'll see a significant drop in civilian casualties...and the battle might actually become "proportionate". But then, the media might be short on sensational headlines.

I always have to remind myself that News is a business.

Heralder, I agree.... (Below threshold)


I agree. I have children and grandchildren. Not quite a score, 8 children, 5 grandchildren and one more on the way, so it's close. It pains me to see the children, but I understand how the cowardly Hezbollah operate. I just can't stand the slant.


Peter, More fun wit... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

More fun with pictures

Factual or not, that pictur... (Below threshold)

Factual or not, that picture rates a 9.9 out of 10 on an artistic scale.

Maybe that’s why they publish them with out much question. They just look good.

I suspect we all know a few art majors. And a few of them ended up with real jobs somewhere…

As for the bloodless she... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

As for the bloodless sheets, that is a bit odd. But there's got to be an explanation for that. Given enough time for the blood dry and stick to the dead person's clothes, but not stain a freshly lain sheet over them.

If the bodies weren't found for some time, then whatever blood was close to the chest will have coagulated and dried, the remaining blood will be pulled down to the lower half of the body (the back/buttocks)--lividity, in other words.

It's a pity we have to scrutinize these photos to ascertain whether they are dead or not. It sounds so morbid a thing to do, but thanks to Hajj et al., we cannot trust first appearances on photos anymore.

Ha Ha Ha Ha.... B-grade hol... (Below threshold)

Ha Ha Ha Ha.... B-grade hollywood tryouts for an inconvenient lie! Castros wellwishers..

The guy must've been pinchi... (Below threshold)

The guy must've been pinching a loaf when the bomb hit. If it got him before he wiped at least his hands are clean.

War really is just a video ... (Below threshold)

War really is just a video game to you wingnuts, to be viewed from you computer screens or TV while you enjoy all the comforts of home. The fact that you would mock this persons violent death to sooth your inner guilt is beyond sick. Anyone who has ever seen a dead man, up close, with that undeniable sickening smell of body fluids and vomit, rigor mortis set in, would never be as cold as you guys on this board. It is so easy to play arm chair general, not so easy to actually live it.

[email protected]:Well, perha... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

[email protected]:

Well, perhaps if our wonderful media (I'm looking straight at you Reuters) wouldn't play fast-and-loose with the truth, vis-a-vis their photography, maybe we might feel a little more sympathetic.

Perhaps, if Hizb'allah had got the f--k out of Lebanon as they should have in 2000...

Perhaps if they hadn't crossed the border and kidnapped two Isreali soldiers...

Perhaps if they haven't resorted to staging events for photographic consumption...

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

So, forgive us if we sound a little cold. We cannot trust whether the people in these photographs were killed or trucked in to make a stage appearance. Ever heard of the story of the boy who cried "Wolf"?

I don't remember the left-wing getting too upset when suicide bombers were killing people at weddings, on busses, etc.

Your side of the politcal spectrum sympathise with terrorists and unlawful combatants. Your side wish the death of our president, and would rather have us come home from Iraq and leave them at the mercy of said terrorists/unlawful combatants.

A video game? Fuck you very much.

James,There are so m... (Below threshold)

There are so many misconceptions in your post I don't know where to begin. But let let's start here;

" I don't remember the left-wing getting too upset when suicide bombers were killing people at weddings, on busses, etc."

I remember many of my friends and family being very upset when ever stories of suicide bombings (Homicide bombings really) where played out across our TV screens.

Or this one;

"Your side of the political spectrum sympathize with terrorists and unlawful combatants."

All I can say to that is no "my side of the political spectrum" does not, repeat, does not sympathize with terrorists. Not one person I know in my real life sympathizes with unlawful combatants either.

I probably shouldn't touch this one either, but here it goes.

"Your side wish the death of our president"

Again not true. There are people who feel this President is the worst one every. To be honest, finding ways that W has messed up is as easy as picking low hanging fruit. He makes it very easy for that side of the argument. But any one wishing death to our President can just leave America now, we have no room for you here.

But this one is the real reason for my post.

"would rather have us come home from Iraq"

Yes! As would about 2/3rds of Americans, from all walks of life and both sides of the political spectrum. The one simple question I wish every one could debate would be this:

Does having 135,000 US forces in Iraq at this stage in the war make things better, or worse, for The United States as a whole?

More and more people every day are coming to the realization that we are not making things better over in Iraq.

Let's bring our boys home now so we can hold our heads high and know that we tried to make the Middle East a better place for everyone, but that is obviously not what everyone in the Middle East wants.

If they love to blow things up so much, how on earth are our boys suppose to stop them? All we are doing is getting in the way and paying a mighty steep price.

The pictures that started this thread will continue to haunt us every day, and our country men and women in arms will continue to pay the price until we put a stop to it. We can't kill our way out of this mess.

Hezbollahs b-grade renditio... (Below threshold)

Hezbollahs b-grade rendition of "Return of the living dead".






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