“The war now is away back in the past, and you can tell what books cannot. When you talk, you come down to the practical realities just as they happened. … There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell. You can bear this warning voice to generations yet to come.” — William T. Sherman
“I hate Chou En Lai and I hope he dies, but one thing you gotta see: That someone’s gotta go over there and that someone isn’t me.” “Draft Dodger Rag,” (Phil Ochs)
Nothing much more to say about Kevin Siers’ cartoon, except that those who have seen war up close seem a lot less eager to see it again, or to have their children see it, than those who not only haven’t seen it but who actively worked to avoid the sight, and who are only interested in sending other people’s children off to die, not their own.
Not that all veterans become pacifists: Sherman had fought not only in the Civil War but in the Indian wars out west, and he’d seen plenty, and his next words to the assembly of Ohio Civil War veterans that day were “I look upon war with horror, but if it has to come, I am there.”
Emphasis on “if it has to come,” and a special emphasis on the moral necessity that those who call for war must be willing to serve.
There was substantial grumbling during the First Gulf War that, as we rushed our soldiers to rescue Kuwait, Kuwaiti’s own young men were dancing it up at discos in Cairo.
Now we’ve got a president willing to dance to the Saudi’s tune, and let our own young people pay the piper.
In that first Gulf War, we had a president with combat experience who had assembled a wide coalition of allied nations and who had the good sense to set a specific goal and stop when he’d reached it.
But even so, we should always be at least cautious, if not fully pacifistic: When chickenhawks seek a war, they’re not above inventing the reasons for going there.
After all, prior to that First Gulf War, Hill & Knowlton, a DC-based public relations firm, put a young Kuwaiti diplobrat in front of Congress to spin lies about what the Iraqis were doing.
And then, a few years later, the hero of that war made a speech at the UN after which he became fairly quiet.
Matt Wuerker ably caricaturizes a President who refuses to acknowledge the brutal murder of an American-based journalist by the man who, as the cartoon says, knows how to push the right buttons to get what he wants.
Speaking of which, the chickenhawks are still squawking about the US drone that the Iranians shot down when they claimed it strayed into their air space.
Not only are the hawks getting out their tape measures to prove, no, it was just barely in neutral space, but I’ve heard analysts explain that this was not just a cheap drone but a very expensive piece of sophisticated equipment worth $220 million.
Though apparently not so sophisticated that it could avoid being knocked out of the sky.
The comic interpretation being to recall the story of the fellow who gave his mother a parrot only to have her report that it was delicious.
“You ate it?” he cries. “Mom, that bird spoke seven languages!”
“Well then,” she replies, “why didn’t it say something?”
The non-comical interpretation being to wonder how much an American soldiers’ life is worth in dollars, and the extent to which that figure is based on whose kid it is.
We should remember, too, a time at the height of the Cold War when we had a spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union and it was an embarrassment that created friction but nobody threatened war over it.
Not just because Ike didn’t have heel spurs, but perhaps because he wasn’t surrounded by people with heel spurs.
They knew that war was all hell and no glory, and, when the Cuban Missile Crisis loomed two years later, another combat veteran did his best to keep his hands off the trigger while responding dynamically to a genuine threat.
By contrast, as Rob Rogers notes, Brave Sir Robin began his presidency by provoking Iran and turning his back on a deal that had been carefully crafted by a consortium of nations that knew war was all hell and no glory.
Assuming we escape from all this and restore the nation, historians will ponder and argue for decades about the extent to which this president intentionally carried out self-destructive policies versus the extent to which he simply fell into them through sheer ignorance and ungoverned impetuosity.
Matt Davies seems to vote for the latter interpretation. And the contrast he draws is valid: It’s worth discussing the extent to which California’s more stringent standards have forced the auto companies to come up with advanced solutions to pollution problems, a spur Trump’s knee-jerk anti-regulation attitude is set to remove.
Meanwhile Jimmy Margulies blames pure evil, and here’s a nuance that Wizard of Oz fans often miss: There is no comma in the Wicked Witch’s order.
It is not a direct order to Dorothy to surrender, but, rather, a threat to the entire Emerald City that they must deliver her to the witch or else.
The metaphor carries over, because Trump is not simply going after California itself but, rather, demanding that all 50 states surrender their autonomy to his authority.
Which, considering the extent to which his supporters rely on the doctrine of states’ rights, is a curious and significant demand.
It’s almost like shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and, I’m sure, will provoke a similar response from the Deplorables.
Four legs good, two legs better.
Rhymes With Orange notes the day, which, as even the pirates themselves concede, seems to have faded from the national zeitgeist.
Lest we forget