Image lifted from YblogZa… thanks, Mike.
Sadly, you’re welcome, Frank (as always). I got it from Marek and he got it from someone on Flickr… y’know how it goes.
One of my reasons for posting it was my feeling (I don’t know if it’s a fact) that we’d probably find most people under 40 have never heard of Iwo Jima or its (and the U.S. Marines’) role in the Pacific Theater.
Of the six Marines who raised that flag, three survived the battle (70,000 invaded an island covering eight square miles and 7,000 died). Fewer than 200 of the 23,000 Japanese defenders, who fought to the end, lived. Much as I find no glory in any war, this cartoon is a savage indictment of the Bush administration and what it has done, not only to its country, but the people it dispatches to fight its battles.
Back then, like it or not, there was a war. Today… times are different and things have changed.
The definition of ‘war’ has changed before. Not so very long ago war was the King’s business, fought by professionals and the common folks really didn’t have to care much which noble was in charge. Things changed and war became ‘mass war’ and involved the entire population.
Perhaps we’re seeing the beginning of another era.
This new era shows that the war is just the same now as it has been over centuries past. When a ruler decided he wants a war against some opponent, he and his advisors created conditions that persuaded the people to support him in his quest. (Of course mostly it was the people who did the actual dying.)
Granted, it is supposed to be different in a democracy. In a democracy the people’s representatives were designated to make such momentous decisions and extreme options. But in this government the debate between opposing viewpoints has been replaced by de facto one party rule, and that one party is a rubber stamp for the ruler. This is not unlike a king and his courtiers in times past.
When a ruler decided he wants a war against some opponent, he and his advisors created conditions that persuaded the people to support him in his quest
Not exactly. The era I was thinking about was specifically the Middle Ages in Europe. The King didn’t need the people’s support then. Wars were fought by relativly small groups of professional warriors – Henry took 10,000 men to France, which was a hell of a mob at the time. He had around 6,000 to fight Agincourt with, disease having (and this is typical) polished off 1/3 of his army at Harfleur.
The point is the idea that the ‘people’ needed to be persuaded to give support is a modern one. The concept simply didn’t exist. The era where you needed mass support really didn’t get its’ begining until after the French Revolution and Napoleon put the masses of France on the march.
You’re guilty (no offense) of applying a recent concept to an old millieu. Always a recipie for misunderstanding what really happened.
In this sense it is – maybe – a new era in warfare. Western forces are small, professional and generally the guys doing the scut work leading and fighting are short term volunteers. They are lead and schooled by long term career soldiers, and equipped with the best technology that our culture has to offer.
All in service of a democratic Jacksonian culture that would rather not make war, but if pressed will generally pursue that war to the hilt.