Saturday, January 06, 2007

The first bloodless war

Darius the first was great. He brought a single, standard currency to his empire of Persia, he updated the kingdom's laws and, being an honorable warrior king, Darius the first fought to protect his subjects from invading them first. Darius was so great he smote a rebellion, not just once but three times. Because Darius recognized his own excellence he thought it reasonable to tell this to others. But how? This was a time before text messaging, hell, this was a time before Yahoo! News. So, Darius the first commissioned an army of architects and sculptors and artisans of every sort to carve his likeness into the stone walls of temples and raise heroic sculptures of himself all throughout his empire. In one hand he'd be grasping a spear, probably to fight off that rebellion he smote, and in the other he'd be grasping a two-petaled lotus. The inscriptions on these pieces would tell of his boundless love for all those he ruled. And his subjects went wild, they gave him gifts and praised his benevolence, thanked him for being their protector and mourned his death.

Mad BruteThis is because for the first time the image of their ruler was ever-present throughout the land. You wake up - he's there. You go to market- he's there. Visit the temple - he's there. This allowed for most to have a good idea of what their king looked like and the fact he appeared battle ready gave them a warm, squishy feeling inside. This is the power of images. Since Darius leaders of nations have adapted this basic technique to promote their agendas. In World War II Germany and Japan weren't the only countries that cranked out Propaganda posters, America used them too.

Consider Iraq. What images come out of the country? A statue falling, purple fingers and puffs of smoke. There's no carnage, no shrapnel, no destruction. It seems to be the world's very first bloodless war. However, this isn't the truth. The truth would end the war and Bush wouldn't be permitted to waffle for weeks before deciding upon an escalation.

To understand just how effective pictures can be in ending conflict it would be appropriate to analyze times when events have turned on a dime due to an apposite image. Vietnam, a combination of Cronkite's footage of soldiers scorching villages along with the single snapshot of a young Vietcong being executed, marked a substantial turning point in the war. Our Somali intervention ended after the horrific slaughter of Americans in the streets of Mogadishu were shown on 24-hour news networks.

But, most recently, Katrina demonstrated a dramatic use of nightmarish imagery to depict tragedy. Dead bodies were shown bobbing down flooded streets, and hungry, frightened Americans sat stranded on rooftops. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now lauded this rare coverage by the corporate-owned media as spectacular. And she's right. The outrage of the country was unifying, an anger that transcended party lines and contributed to the upheaval of the Republican majority during the midterm elections.

How different we might feel toward Iraq if it didn't look like this:

coalition chart

But instead looked like this:


War is politically incorrect. It's not rated PG-13 and it isn't approved for a general audience. Americans are dying, Iraqis are dying and it would have taken less time to come to that conclusion if we were given an honest portrayal of this gory struggle.


Frank Walton said...

I just want to make it clear that I have an imposter running around pretending to be me. It's this psycho named abnoxio. He's trying to get me murdered. As far as the war I think Bush needs to be given another chance, war is hell, that's just the way it is. I mean c'mon, look at how much Jesus was willing to humble himself and suffer for us. Suffering is just a part of life. Jesus has the means to wipe every tear from our eyes when we go to heaven. But we really cannot give up on the war against terror. Because really it's a battle for souls, a battle against satan.

Anonymous said...

Dude you are retarded!

rich_of_spirit said...

Mr. Walton,

Such grandiosity does not further the true debate in the War on Terror. Whether or not this is truly "a battle against satan" is completely subjective. What I am concerned with are the facts on the ground. The war has been decried by such screaming liberals as Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley and Pope John Paul II, who went so far as to call it "illegal" and "immoral". The execution of the occupation has been abysmal: approximately 655,000 Iraqi civilians (many women and children) have died, 3,000 plus American soldiers are dead, the cost of the war is expected to spike a $1 trillion which removes funds from social programs such as public transportation, hospitals and schools.

My fear is that this is not at all worth the sacrifice. Bush's own intelligence report stated quite bluntly that our activity in the region produces more terrorists than it prevents. By every reasonable account the country has spiraled into civil war, and we've been unable to assemble an adequate security force. And, on top of all this, we've dismantled their infastructure, leaving Iraqis with purple fingers but without power, sanitation or health care.

Our influence this far has been so toxic that the only solution is a complete and immediate withdrawal of our men and women in uniform. Our administration doesn't even have a viable military strategy, they won't even define the term "victory". And despite these primary blunders, there's a wealth of others, the Presdient has the gall to ask us to trust him. This is bad policy that undervalues the will of the people.

Frank Walton said...

rich, lighten up buddy.
You obviously don't have very good reading comprehension. I said war is hell.
Wise up dipstick, It'll do you well.

rich_of_spirit said...

How does the fact that "war is hell" justify our military operation in Iraq? My point is that it's hell now and it's going to be hell later. How can one "lighten up" when speaking of that reality?

Frank Walton said...

Military operations take time, and they are called military for a reason. I'll be willing to bet you'll sit around all day and whine about the war yet right under your nose 300,000 unborn americans have been slaughtered. Get your priorities straight buddy.

rich_of_spirit said...

First of all, in regards to the abortion issue you touch upon, this is distractingly off topic, and presupposes I'm Pro Choice. This is a debate for another time. In response to your charge that military operations take time, bare in mind we were able to resolve a world war in less time than it is taking to contain a single country. I would have to ask, what gives you any reason to believe the Iraq conflict will improve? Even Bush's top military advisors reject this assessment.

Frank Walton said...

I don't fucking know dude, give me a break.
You be making to much sense for me.

Plus I'm getting my ass smoked over my Martin Luther King blogpsot.

Give it a rest atheist, you'll find out when you wind up in hell you were wrong. Plus Bush loves Jesus, in your FACE! he loves Jesus, you know what that means bingo? naw problynot, I know you are so what am I? heee heee heee?..... ok i'm done.