Hope and Memory
July 29, 2005 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Hope and Memory, 1801 - 2004. "This is an archive of 163 US interventions, a multi-faceted catalogue of coups, humanitarian incursions, covert actions, proxy armies, freedom fighters/terrorists and multilateral offensives. Out of this legacy, a complex picture emerges." [Via wood s lot.]
posted by homunculus (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't really give an explanation as to why a lot of these events happened in the first place. It could stand to be more in-depth to make a more accurate point.
posted by vodkadin at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2005

But remember September 11th!
posted by guruguy9 at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2005

what a shit interface.
posted by H. Roark at 2:35 PM on July 29, 2005

I get AdBusters and this was the first issue to have anything decent in a long while. It would have been nice to include background to some of the flare-ups, but overall the piece is excellent. (Why Flash though? A simple web page would have been better.)
posted by Vaska at 2:44 PM on July 29, 2005

I've got to agree with both vodkadin and H. Roark. Bad interface, and not much information. Heck, even a wikipedia link for each incident would be better than the nothing that's currently up.

Nice to have a list and all, but its not much more than a list, I was expecting better from AdBusters.
posted by sotonohito at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2005

This is extremely tangential to the point of the post, but it might be interesting to other people who pay attention to place names and try to pin them down. Under "1827 Greece" the scrolling chronicle talks about landing parties hunting pirates "on the islands of Argenteire, Miconi, and Androse." The latter two names are easily recognized variants of Mykonos and Andros, two islands in the Cyclades (in the Aegean east of Athens), but what the hell was "Argenteire"? The name is about as un-Greek as you can get, and it doesn't resemble anything in the vicinity. If you google it you get only a couple of pages of hits, mostly repetitions of this same list of three islands. Through exertions among my reference books I won't bore you with, I discovered it's either a misspelling or alternate version of Argentiera, which besides being a place in Sardinia is the Italian name for the island of Kimolos, just north of Melos or Milos (Italian Milo, hence "Venus di Milo") in the southwestern Cyclades. Italian names were commonly used internationally for Aegean and Adriatic islands until the 20th century (hence you'll see older references to Brazza, Lesina, Curzola, and Sabbioncello for the Adriatic islands now known by their Croatian names of Brač, Hvar, Korčula, and Pelješac); what surprises me is that modern sources keep repeating the same unintelligible list of early-nineteenth-century names in accounts of this expedition. Doesn't anybody care where the damn islands are?
posted by languagehat at 3:01 PM on July 29, 2005

Also, the White House was called "The White House" before the British burned it down; the explanation they repeat is just an urban legend.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 3:05 PM on July 29, 2005

languagehat: What a marvelous tangential comment! I've started reading again after a long absence failed to increase my productivity (substitutes vs. complements), and your well-researched erudite post reminded me why I have spent so much time on the blue.
posted by allan at 3:06 PM on July 29, 2005

Why, thank you, sir!
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2005

Doesn't anybody care where the damn islands are?

Only us pedants, though as allan demonstrates, we care mightily.

Mostly this is about about provoking thought. Or outrage. Or something. (Damned Humanitarian Interventions! And where's my personal favorite, the Quasi-War? All at sea, indeed.)
posted by IndigoJones at 3:30 PM on July 29, 2005

Oh, Jesus, not this shit again.

The Marxists are always singing the same tune, aren't they?

The U.S. and the American way of life are conquering the world. Nothing can stop this.

Everybody wants a middle class American way of life.

Humans are not presented with perfect alternatives. I know this is hard for silly kids (and Marxists) to understand.

The U.S. is the policeman for the world because... well, there just isn't any alternative. Nothing else works, has worked, or will work.

I'll listen to the Marxist BS when the commies prove they can do something better. So far, it's been a pretty dismal record.
posted by Shouting at 7:50 PM on July 29, 2005

It's really quite odd to read 163 (or whatever) little histories that all run The US ... after ....

I mean, seriously. Most of this does appear to have been copied, typos and all, from a variety of biased sources.

Here's the US Navy's account of the Greek action. They name the island Argenteero and place it somewhere near Melo (presumably Milos); they use a spelling, Argenteero, found nowhere else on the web. The Navy gets Mykonos and Andros right in its official history, but we're not seeing the names used in 1827. Anyway, the Cyclades alone comprise more than 220 islands (and 3000 Greek islands overall), some of them little more than hazards to navigation. I did peruse these maps closely, but found nothing corresponding. Kimolos is there, though, and that matches the "near Melo" point. (Ah -- Wikipedia has it, but under the Milos entry.)

Then there is phrasing like "The Civil War, like many conflicts embarked upon by the US ..." Um, how curious. Then they quote Zinn, who obviously can't quite make up his mind whose side he's on -- neither the northern capitalists, nor the southern feudalists. They wrap it up with "Proud and courageous, the common man fought the war of the elites ..." and, er, celebrate the war's end by saying "All was not lost ..." Sheesh. Talk about your forced readings of history.
posted by dhartung at 8:32 PM on July 29, 2005

Bad interface?
Not enough info?

How many Americans are familiar with even 30% of the incursions listed?

Thank you Homunculus, now I have a place to which to send the ignorant . . . and there are so many!

Oh yeah, remember 9/11 and the real reason we're in Iraq.
posted by ahimsakid at 9:33 PM on July 29, 2005

I did peruse these maps closely, but found nothing corresponding.

dhartung, I'm confused. Did you not read my comment, in which case it's mighty strange you picked on the same island names, or did you not believe me and decide they must be talking about some other islands? It's a liitle strange to have you going "Melo (presumably Milos)" and trawling Wikipedia for Argentiera when I thought I had rendered the small service to humanity of making such guesses and researches unnecessary.
posted by languagehat at 5:56 AM on July 30, 2005

By coincidence, today I picked up Peter Earle's The Pirate Wars wherein he quotes Jean Dumont (A New Voyage to the Levant, 1696) concerning what the latter calls the island of Argentiera. Dumont describes the 500 women who live on the "work of nature", that is to say, "all merchants and corsairs who come to the island choose a female companion according to each man's particular fancy," at least, until it's time to ship out once more.

What exactly were our swabbies doing there again?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:24 PM on July 30, 2005

Agreed that the interface is "teh suck", and the data is incomplete and occasionally misspelled, but it does present a good overview of how non-isolationist we've been throughout our history.
posted by dejah420 at 8:50 PM on July 31, 2005

Damned Humanitarian Interventions!

One man's humanitarian intervention is another man's racketeering:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National city Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:51 PM on August 12, 2005

kirkaracha- You have to like the general. I think I've quoted him myself in some thread or other.

That being said, it's going it a bit to claim that the US has never, ever, not once, by any stretch of the imagination gone into a country militarily for humanitarian reasons.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:23 AM on August 22, 2005

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