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Gettysburg Address: 150 years ago today

In a week which also marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, the Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln, 16th President, 150 years ago today. Mitch Rapoport narrates an animated version. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 19, 2013 - 17 comments

 

WWI in Color

World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

"Elites preying on the weak, the gullible, the marginal, the poor."

"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2013 - 57 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

It Don’t Gitmo Better Than This.

It Don’t Gitmo Better Than This. Inside the Dark Heart of Guantánamo Bay By Molly Crabapple.
posted by chunking express on Jul 31, 2013 - 32 comments

An Account Of War At Sea

Samuel Leech, R.N., fought in the battle between the 38 gun HMS Macedonian, commanded by Captain John Surman Carden, and the 44 gun USS United States, Commodore Stephen Decatur on October 25th 1812.
A strange noise, such as I had never heard before, next arrested my attention; it sounded like the tearing of sails, just over our heads. This I soon ascertained to be the wind of the enemy's shot. The firing, after a few minutes' cessation, recommenced. The roaring of cannon could now be heard from all parts of our trembling ship, and, mingling as it did with that of our foes, it made a most hideous noise. By-and-by I heard the shot strike the sides of our ship; the whole scene grew indescribably confused and horrible; it was like some awfully tremendous thunder-storm, whose deafening roar is attended by incessant streaks of lightning, carrying death in every flash and strewing the ground with the victims of its wrath: only, in our case, the scene was rendered more horrible than that, by the presence of torrents of blood which dyed our decks.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 24, 2013 - 8 comments

North Korea Sets April 10th Deadline

North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
posted by Artw on Apr 5, 2013 - 239 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

Forever Football?

J.R. Moehringer's essay discusses the end of football, the immortality of football, head injuries, and why what the sport means to America and to him.
posted by sendai sleep master on Aug 30, 2012 - 50 comments

Interesting aspects of the American Civil War

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 8, 2012 - 49 comments

Never forget, never again

We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
posted by Artw on Apr 29, 2012 - 45 comments

“It's a war created by illusions,”

The myth of 1812: How Canadians see the war we want to see. [Globe and Mail]
posted by Fizz on Mar 11, 2012 - 68 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

Support for democracy is the province of ideologists and propagandists.

Is the World Too Big to Fail? [more inside]
posted by Shit Parade on Apr 26, 2011 - 62 comments

"They asked us who we were, and we told them we were civilians from Kijran district."

A Tragedy of Errors. On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA-obtained transcripts of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq on Apr 10, 2011 - 59 comments

.

Today is the 8th Anniversary of the beginning of the War in Iraq. Protesters around the country are trying to bring attention to our nation's continued involvement.
posted by whimsicalnymph on Mar 20, 2011 - 38 comments

A G.I.'s WWII Memoir

Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt," told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 23, 2010 - 7 comments

Lest we forget

"A pious, peaceful man, York had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1 On this day let us remember Sergeant York.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
posted by unliteral on Nov 11, 2010 - 14 comments

A Year At War

A Year at War: One Battalion's Wrenching Deployment to Afghanistan: "Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge. Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division" out of Fort Drum, NY., based in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. Over the next year, The New York Times will follow their journey, chronicling the battalion’s part in the surge in northern Afghanistan and the impact of war on individual soldiers and their families back home. (First link is an interactive feature containing images and autoplaying video, and requires flash. Second link is a standard-style article.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 21, 2010 - 28 comments

Trying to "out-terrorize the terrorists"

Soldiers involved in the "Collateral Murder" video have come forward to tell their story. [more inside]
posted by jjoye on Aug 3, 2010 - 30 comments

You're Wrong! No, You're Wrong!

5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars, via Cracked. [more inside]
posted by Miko on May 26, 2010 - 45 comments

Pvt. Droop Has Missed The War!

Droops and 8-balls in this man's army shouldn't take unnecessary chances with their lives. Illustrated by Walt Ditzen. [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Mar 9, 2010 - 6 comments

This is not the time to send out a signal like this in some personal fucking sodcast

For quite some time, I’d wanted to make a screwball comedy. A fast-talking, wildly acclerating ensemble comedy that gets stupider and stupider. I never imagined it would be about a war, and inspired by a very recent war at that. But Simon, Jesse, Tony and I all felt that the more we found out about the dysfunction in Washington and the naivety in London leading up to the Iraq invasion, the more obvious it was that the only way to deal accurately and fairly with this topic was as a screwball comedy. - The Oscar nominated script for In The Loop, with an introduction by writer Armando Iannucci.
posted by Artw on Feb 13, 2010 - 33 comments

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military.
posted by chunking express on May 29, 2009 - 91 comments

World War II History Reference

"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill, 1935. The World War II Database connects people, events, photographs, and other elements of history in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.
posted by netbros on Mar 13, 2009 - 13 comments

Romano Archives

ROMANO-Archives has a YouTube channel with over 270 color film clips, called Unknown WWII In Color. "World War ll has usually been seen in black and white, but our recent research has unearthed an abundance of superb color film that shows what it really looked like to those who were there. The Author presents mainly WW2 recently declassified and other previously unavailable material, exclusively filmed in color." They also have over 900 videos of Automobile History USA l lots of pages of images with history, like Jammin' with Betty Boop. [In English and Italian] [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 24, 2008 - 18 comments

Bacevich speaks to Moyer about the American Empire

Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich speaks to Bill Moyers (transcript) about the American empire and his new book "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."
posted by geos on Aug 18, 2008 - 81 comments

The American Military Crisis

Illusions of Victory: How the United States Did Not Reinvent War… But Thought It Did. Is Perpetual War Our Future? Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Bush Era. Two excerpts from The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, the new book by Andrew Bacevich (previously: 1, 2, 3, 4).
posted by homunculus on Aug 14, 2008 - 21 comments

The midnight ride of Sybil Ludington

Listen my children and you shall hear, Of the midnight ride of Sybil Ludington - While most Americans have heard of Paul Revere, many have not heard of Sybil Ludington and her midnight ride. 231 years ago today, she rode 40 miles at night to warn the colonial militia that the British were burning Danbury, Connecticut.
posted by Argyle on Apr 26, 2008 - 15 comments

Bannerman's Arsenal Photoessay

Excellent post over at BLDBLOG on the history of Bannerman's Arsenal, a ruined island castle in the middle of the Hudson river, created by a war profiteer who was at one time the world's largest arms dealer. Bonus points for the amazing accompanying photos by Shaun O'Boyle, whose site Modern Ruins has been featured on the blue previously.
posted by jonson on Nov 17, 2007 - 14 comments

It's Tuesday

Martin Amis on 9/11 and the cult of death: [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Sep 11, 2007 - 71 comments

Semiwar

The Semiwarriors: By creating an atmosphere of perpetual crisis, Presidents have expanded their powers and hidden their actions from the public eye. A recent essay by retired Army lieutenant Colonel and current Boston University professor of international relations Andrew J. Bacevich, on "semiwar," a term coined after World War II "to promote permanent quasi mobilization as the essential response to permanent global crisis." Bacevich is the author of The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War (previously discussed here and here). Tragically, Bacevich's own son, an Army First Lieutenant, was killed on patrol in Iraq two days ago by an IED.
posted by homunculus on May 16, 2007 - 45 comments

The State of Disunion

Zeitgeistfilter: Lumpen Leisure and Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown... Now Shut Up and Buy Something -- two fine rants about our current state of disunion by James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency (excerpt), and writer and Vietnam vet Joe Bageant. "All over but the keening for our soon-to-be-lost machine world," Kunstler predicts in The American Conservative, while Bageant taps the inner stream-of-unconsciousness for Dissident Voice: "Things cannot be as bad as the alarmists say. They cannot be as bad as I often suspect they are. If there really were such a thing as global warming they would be starting to do something about it. And besides, even if it were true, science will find a way to fix it. If there really were genocide going on in so many places far more people would be concerned... If the earth were heating up we would surely notice it. If our soldiers and government agencies were torturing people around the world it would make the news. If millions were being exterminated, it would be more obvious, would it not?" (Kunstler's book previously discussed here, Bageant here.)
posted by digaman on Feb 14, 2006 - 52 comments

Acts of sacred violence

What’s "Sacred" about Violence in Early America? Susan Juster discusses the "oversized colonial martyr complex" with its attendant paradox: "colonial martyrs were everywhere, religious violence... in short supply." She begins:
One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637. Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will. "We must burn them!" the militia captain famously insisted to his troops on the eve of the massacre, in words that echo the classic early modern response to heretics. Just five months before, the Puritan minister at Salem had exhorted his congregation in strikingly similar terms to destroy a more familiar enemy, Satan; "We must burne him," John Wheelwright told his parishioners. Indians and devils may have been scarcely distinguishable to many a Puritan, but their rhetorical conflation in these two calls to arms raises a question: Was the burning of Fort Mystic a racial or a religious killing?
She avoids easy answers and makes some interesting connections. If you want to find out more about the Pequot War, there's good material in the History section of this site. (Main link via wood s lot.)
posted by languagehat on Jan 9, 2006 - 35 comments

Al Gore surprises

A surprise from Al Gore: I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions. How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"? I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
posted by Shanachie on Oct 6, 2005 - 80 comments

The next terrorist attack on America may be perpetrated by Europeans.

The next terrorist attack on America may be perpetrated by Europeans. Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa.
posted by dsquid on Jul 8, 2005 - 33 comments

We were invited.

We were invited, we didn't invade. Recent white house daily press release where Scott McClellan avoids answering direct questions. Is this history re-written before our eyes?
posted by Balisong on May 27, 2005 - 72 comments

On The New American Militarism - How Americans Are Seduced By War

The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism.
An interview with Andrew Bacevich, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War--and here is a review. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time.
posted by y2karl on Feb 21, 2005 - 37 comments

Civil War Maps

Civil War Maps The Library of Congress just published an online collection of approximately 2,240 Civil War maps, with information about the collection and a History of Mapping the Civil War.
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 11, 2005 - 6 comments

If America were Iraq, what would it be like?

If America were Iraq, what would it be like? Private armies totaling 275,000 men; platoons of Christian Soldiers Militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery; the grounds of the White House constantly under mortar fire; the Secretary of State, President, and Attorney General all assassinated in the past year; and the Air Force routinely bombing Billings, Flint, Philadelphia, and parts of LA and DC to destroy "safe houses" of "criminal gangs."
posted by johnnydark on Sep 27, 2004 - 34 comments

Journalising humanity

A photo journal of a UNPA Nurse Practitioner's experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
posted by nthdegx on Apr 12, 2004 - 4 comments

Think We Can (French) Kiss and Make Up?

Think We Can (French) Kiss and Make Up? Two years ago it was "I'll always love and support you". It only took a little while, though, before the arguments began. But there are always counselors to help you work on the relationship. There is even talk of reconciliation. And anyway, this love-hate relationship has been going on for almost three centuries.
posted by twsf on Sep 11, 2003 - 10 comments

New religion?

Ready for a new religion? Or maybe not so new. But it may explain a few things.
posted by donfactor on Jul 29, 2003 - 11 comments

Revisionist Historians at Work

Pay No Attention tothemenbehindthe Curtain. You maybe read about PNAC here, wherein numerous members of the current administration wrote down their grand plans for an American-led NWO. Pretty heady stuff, with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz writing to Clinton in 1998 that "the only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction." Umm, that is... move along, citizen. Nothing to see here (thank goodness for Google's cache).
posted by RKB on Jul 12, 2003 - 42 comments

U.S loses faith in Canada

U.S. loses faith in Canada "We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now," says Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada. As pro-US sentiments from prominent Canadian figures are harshly criticized while blatant (and rather tasteless) anti-US remarks go more or less ignored by the government, has the relationship with our longtime friends up north been irreversibly soured?
posted by swank6 on Mar 30, 2003 - 35 comments

A more humanitarian war

An interview with Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth describes how his organization is trying to pressure the U.S. to wage as humanitarian a war as possible. To this end, HRW has not taken a position for or against a war, but rather on how a possible war should be waged. But this raises the question of to what extent the U.S. is still concerned with international humanitarian law. As Michael Byers of Duke University warns, "some U.S. politicians have begun to think of war, not as the high-risk recourse of last resort, but as an attractive foreign policy option in times of domestic scandal or economic decline... When war is seen as an ordinary tool of foreign policy - 'politics by other means' - political and financial considerations impinge on the balance between military necessity and humanitarian concerns."
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2003 - 10 comments

Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state that trusted its saviours

"If the Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to behold." something for US, British and world citizens to think about as we bang the drums for war on Iraq.
posted by specialk420 on Feb 24, 2003 - 30 comments

The people speak

Listen to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
posted by Ron on Feb 19, 2003 - 41 comments

American Peace Homepage

American Peace Homepage. "While most people, including most Americans, tend to believe that the United States has largely been a peaceful country until recently, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the United States has been engaged in military operations for most of this country's history. Of all the things the United States can claim, it certainly has no claim to being a 'peace loving' country. [Visit this site to see] a table containing every year, from 1776 to the present - all of US history. Just click on the year to see who US troops were killing, or threatening to kill, in that year."
posted by Joey Michaels on Jan 16, 2003 - 38 comments

A Moving

Hegemon, hyperpower, empire. "As the United States marches to war, no other label quite seems to capture the scope of American power or the scale of its ambition."
posted by four panels on Nov 24, 2002 - 3 comments

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