“Of course the people don’t want war….But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship….Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
Nazi leader Herman Goering, April 18, 1946, during a break in the Nuremberg war crime trials
Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaugherhouse Five considers time travel, Tralfamadorians, and the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, Germany, which slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians. Vonnegut was there as a POW. He saw the aftermath of the bombing, an episode that might be said to have altered his comic perspective. Here he reads an excerpt from the book.
The photographer Alexander Gardner recorded the unromantic aftermath of the bloodiest day in American history. In September 1862, he came to the Battle of Antietam after some 4,000 soldiers were killed in a 12-hour period. He may well have been the first photographer to document the battlefield dead.
An article in Slate which tells the story displays a curious title: “The Battlefield Photos That Changed Everything.” Realistic photographs of war have made an impact, but have they really changed “everything” — or indeed, anything?
Patriot and artist Brian Chippendale happily provides weapons firms with high-quality promotional material.
“Man is the only patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” — with his mouth.”
Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal
What do Americans know about cluster bombs? They know nothing. Or almost nothing. Or rather, this is what they know.
This comic PSP commercial played millions of times a few years back. And told us all we need to know. When you want to kill things, Use the Cluster Bomb.
The conversations between former President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger remain an enlightening testament to the civilized world. The following is a passage from Daniel Ellsberg’s A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002):
NIXON: I still think we ought to take the North Vietnamese dikes out now. Will that drown people?
KISSINGER: About 200,000 people.
NIXON: No, no, no, I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
KISSINGER: That, I think, would just be too much.
NIXON: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?….I just want you to think big, Henry, for Chrissakes.”
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If you have questions or problems, it’s nice to know there’s someone to talk to. Tom Tomorrow’s Droney is most reassuring. “We get to do whatever we want — forever!”
The bombing of Hiroshima as a children’s cartoon? Seriously eerie.
The YouTube comments provoked by the dark cartoon are always worth a look.
From our gallery of ongoing YouTube INFILTRATIONS. Ellen’s show is an obvious setting for considering nuclear weapons.