Exactly the same could be said of child pornography or rape videos. Why should a snuff video be different ? And the arguments against them are the same. These videos are made to be consumed. Given the difficulty of cutting supply, you must cut demand.
This is more than just a snuff video, though, isn't it? It's a statement of intent and an illustration of character.
I won't be going to look at the video, because I am already well aware that we are fighting a war against brutal, sadistic barbarians, so I don't need to see it demonstrated. But the Western world is full of people who still haven't got the message, who think that our enemies are ... well, they wouldn't even use the word "enemies". As James Woods put it:
A lot of my friends in Hollywood have actually said things like "Let's melt their hearts with hugs and love." It honestly doesn't work. So I respect people's sweetness for believing that you can melt the heart of Osama bin Laden with a hug, but you can't. The only solution to Osama bin Laden is a fucking 88-millimeter shell through his forehead.
The more we hide the true nature of the enemy, the less we challenge the Huggers. And they need to be challenged, because there's no way we can lose this war through military inferiority but every chance of losing it through public resistance. Gradually, people who used to want to appease terrorists are coming round to James Woods's point of view: witness the Israeli Left. The reason they're changing their minds is that they're coming face-to-face with what the enemy are really like.
Jonah Goldberg wrote about this in the wake of 9/11.
Well, I want to be disturbed. I say: Let's bring back the horror. Let's remind people what started this whole mess. Stop bathing us in the sentimentality of Sept. 11 babies being born and start reminding us why these newborns are without fathers in the first place.
... those things not actively remembered are easily forgotten. This is especially true of the moral lessons of history because there are people intensely interested in rewriting the moral history of America so that we are always the villains of the tale. The Founding Fathers are called greedy white racists, for example, because as a society we stopped reminding ourselves why they were the architects of the last best hope for mankind. This allowed those who want to make America the focus of evil in the modern world to work unopposed. And now what was once a point of consensus for most Americans is an ideological dispute.
Well, if the moral lesson of the Holocaust can only be kept alive through five decades of grisly footage, perhaps the U.S. could use a few more months of reminders about the morality of this war.
The images of people leaping to their deaths from the World Trade Center were carried around the world for weeks. Many have cited and credited these images with rallying world opinion to our cause. When visiting the United States, Hamid Karzai, the interim president of Afghanistan, singled out those images as the essence of the evil we face. By the evening of Sept. 11, the only place Americans could see these morally compelling images was foreign television. It is a rare thing in the history of humanity that the galvanizing images for a nation's war are more likely to be seen by the enemy than its own citizens.
A rare thing, and a bad thing.