20 days in spring 2003
May 29, 2003 6:45 PM   Subscribe

20 days in Spring 2003 one artists response to 20 days in spring 2003 that have reshaped the world we live in.
posted by specialk420 (18 comments total)

 
Looking here, I have to say he (or she) hasn't been consistent. If red is for active duty service, Rumsfeld and Johnson should be in red. I agree with the points being made, but inconsistency hurts your argument. While Rumsfeld wasn't consistent himself regarding the Geneva Convention (among other things,) I don't think putting those two names in red would hurt the argument being made.
posted by trondant at 7:06 PM on May 29, 2003


Wow. That is incredbily comprehensive. And typographically lovely.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2003


I agree concerning Johnson, but Rumsfeld served in uniform during peacetime, unlike anyone else I can find in the list, highlighted or not.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2003


Isn't one of the major purposes of the Executive branch of the US government to establish civilian control of the military? Shouldn't we be more disturbed if there were nothing but red names on that list?

I don't mean to hijack the thread with something that is not terribly related to the link, but this has been bothering me for a long time. It seems like that argument about the architects of the war not having served themselves gets trotted out pretty often, and I don't really understand it.
posted by rusty at 7:46 PM on May 29, 2003


I agree concerning Johnson, but Rumsfeld served in uniform during peacetime, unlike anyone else I can find in the list, highlighted or not.

You are correct, but the red on the left hand side indicates active duty, not combat, or even combat-era duty, per the caption. Also McCain should be on the right-hand side. I hate to point out anything that benefits a repub, but consistency in political discourse is the hobgoblin of my little mind. It doesn't mean I agree with their views on anything, but accuracy means a lot to me.
posted by trondant at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2003


I'd like to know why Colin Powell isn't on the list?
posted by moosedogtoo at 8:26 PM on May 29, 2003


It doesn't mean I agree with their views on anything, but accuracy means a lot to me.

I agree completey; the piece is in need of a bit of revision for exactly that reason. Removing the kinds of blatant inaccuracy we see in most of our present political scheme would go a long way towards fixing the problems of the administration, since they would be effectively castrating themselves by floating their actual agenda... Now, if we could float political ideas on the basis of reason, we might just be getting somewhere.

Isn't one of the major purposes of the Executive branch of the US government to establish civilian control of the military? Shouldn't we be more disturbed if there were nothing but red names on that list?

The idea (as you probably know at some level) is that no one should be allowed to start a war without having witnessed the horrors of war first-hand. Now, if we held true to that, and also said that only life-long civilians were allowed to serve office, we'd be done with starting wars, and many of the world's people would lead much happier lives.

The bit about keeping a civilian government is a safe-guard against tyranny. When government interests are military interests, rather than civilian interests, then the civilians will suffer. Whether the safe-guard has worked is certainly arguable, as we see the military interests being shifted to contract corporations, and government interests merging with corporate interests...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:27 PM on May 29, 2003


"To sum up my political philosophy, I am a fiscal conservative with a social conscience. I have found my philosophy, if not my political affiliation. Neither of the two major parties fits me comfortably in its present state. Granted, politics is the art of compromise, but for now I prefer not to compromise just so I can say I belong to this or that party. I am troubled by the political passion of those on the extreme right who seem to claim divine wisdom on political as well as spiritual matters. On the other side of the spectrum, I am put off by the patronizing liberals who claim to know what is best for society but devote little thought to who will eventually pay the bills.

I distrust rigid ideology from any direction, and I am discovering that many Americans feel just as I do. The time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge to represent this sensible center of the American political spectrum. "


-Colin Powell, on why he is neither Democrat nor Republican.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:30 PM on May 29, 2003


It seems like that argument about the architects of the war not having served themselves gets trotted out pretty often, and I don't really understand it.

As I understand it, the argument is that those who avoided serving in the military themselves but called enthusiastically for the war in Iraq are cowards and hypocrites, or chickenhawks. It isn't a statement that they shouldn't be allowed in government, but rather a criticism of their character, or lack thereof.
posted by homunculus at 8:30 PM on May 29, 2003


Sorry, I was totally unclear. I understand how the chickenhawk argument goes, what I don't understand is why it's so common and apparently universally accepted as valid. It basically comes down to calling some people cowards. Which is all fine and well if that's what you want to do, but I'd like it better if it wasn't dressed up like a logical conclusion.

Was it generally understood that it's just ad hominem? I might simply be out of the loop. Does it mean that anyone who avoided military service is a coward? Or only people who supported this war? Is anyone allowed to have a good excuse for not being in the military (like "would be much more useful not in combat")? And what about people who were in the military, in active combat duty, and supported this war? Is there a name for them?
posted by rusty at 10:03 PM on May 29, 2003


my only peeve with the site was the miss matched zip/sit links on the intial page - if we are going to talk about inaccuracies i think there are bigger fish to fry.
posted by specialk420 at 10:36 PM on May 29, 2003


Does it mean that anyone who avoided military service is a coward?

Well, I think it goes back to the saying about old men waging war while young men die in them. There's rightly a fear about such things in this country, with Vietnam still fresh in so many minds.

Yeah, it's ad hominem in a way, but it's an argument that is also speaking to the warmongerer's knowledge of his field. You wouldn't want to ask a guy who does marketing for Playboy about the ups and downs of plastic surgery; you'd want to ask a plastic surgeon and/ or a shrink. Likewise, when we ask our leaders if they have a good case for war, we sometimes feel it would be good for those leaders to know the downsides of war first hand, so that they can judge the thing on personal experience, rather than the rather weighted views of an aging businessman whose livlihood rests on the sale of arms.

Something that struck me was Bush, Sr. talking about how he would lie awake in bed before the start of Gulf War I, unable to sleep, wondering if he was doing the right thing. On the other hand, W, on the eve of war, was hosting state dinners and sleeping the sleep of the just. (Or the sleep of an idiot prince.) Now, I actually don't know whether the elder Bush served in active military duty or not, but he seems to have a much better idea of his position as just a man in a place of great power. He would lay awake at night, with a sense of his own fallibility. And I won't say whether the first war was a good or bad decision, but this is the least we can expect of someone who is beating such drums as these.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:56 PM on May 29, 2003


My take on the chickenhawk argument is that there is the theory of war and the practice of war, and that those who have experience of the latter are far more likely to be more contemplative of the former. Yes, it's all well and good that Dick Perle has worked out this wonderful theory of how we can Make Everything Better if we just stage a sweeping military takeover of the Middle East, but since Dick Perle never had the singular experience of watching his those under his command or fighting by his side have various appendages blown off by one or another of the marvelous technologies we've devised for killing each other, maybe Dick Perle's point of view is a little too, shall we say, academic.

It's not ad-hominem; to say so is to present the argument as a false dichotomy, which I have noticed is a common administration tactic. It's simply an examination of the fact that very nearly all of the most hawkish in the Bush administration have very nearly no combat experience. (On preview, very nearly what kaibutsu said; well put.)

(Disclosure: I am a chickendove. Never served. Have no intention of doing so, ever - it's not my thing. Contrary to Clear Channel's assertion that my anti-war position means I hate the troops and blame them for the war, I have great respect for those members of our armed forces who have chosen to serve, as I believe the vast majority have, for the right reasons.)
posted by Vetinari at 11:00 PM on May 29, 2003


Now, I actually don't know whether the elder Bush served in active military duty or not

Yeah, he did. He's still an evil fuck, but he's got that going for him at least.

Thanks for the link, specialk420. Is good.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:00 AM on May 30, 2003


Colin Powell:
"To sum up my political philosophy, I am a fiscal conservative with a social conscience. I have found my philosophy, if not my political affiliation. Neither of the two major parties fits me comfortably in its present state. Granted, politics is the art of compromise, but for now I prefer not to compromise just so I can say I belong to this or that party. I am troubled by the political passion of those on the extreme right who seem to claim divine wisdom on political as well as spiritual matters. On the other side of the spectrum, I am put off by the patronizing liberals who claim to know what is best for society but devote little thought to who will eventually pay the bills. I distrust rigid ideology from any direction, and I am discovering that many Americans feel just as I do. The time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge to represent this sensible center of the American political spectrum."

John Stewart:

"...if you are incapable of feeling at least a tiny amount of joy at watching ordinary Iraqis celebrate this, you are lost to the ideological left. If you are incapable of feeling badly that we even had to use force in the first place, you are ideologically lost to the right"
posted by CrazyJub at 5:18 AM on May 30, 2003


The "How much is too much" page is just chilling.
posted by archimago at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2003


Maybe we can all agree, at least, that Jon Stewart is probably the foremost Voice of Reason of our era. :-)
posted by rusty at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2003


The link was extremely well-done, and I want to see it on paper. But come on:
the world we live in.

Isn't that offensive to Quonsar?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:02 PM on May 30, 2003


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