Memorial Day: Burning Pols in Effigy

James Bovard, May 25, 2009

I stopped by the Visitors Center at Manassas Battlefield Park last month and was struck by a quote capturing Georgia private B. M. Zettler’s reaction to being enmeshed in the battle of Bull Run:

“I felt that I was in the presence of death. My first thought was, ‘This is unfair – someone is to blame for getting us all killed. I didn’t come here to fight this way…’

An excellent sentiment – one that should not be forgotten on Memorial Day. It would have been fairer if the politicians had been in the front lines on both sides at Manassas.

Sheldon Richman, the editor of the Freeman, proposes renaming Memorial Day as Revisionist History Day. General Patton said that an ounce of sweat can save a pint of blood. Similarly, a little reading and thinking this time of year can save a heap of grave digging in the future.

Sacralizing the war dead usually results in exonerating the politicians. Rather than parades, it would be better to celebrate this holiday like the British used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day – by burning politicians in effigy, or a reasonable facsimile.
Too harsh?

Read the Pentagon Papers – and recognize the proper fate of all the politicians and political appointees who hatched and perpetuated that sham.

Likewise for the Iraq war – and a heap of others.




45 Responses to “Memorial Day: Burning Pols in Effigy”

  1. Politicians are treated like royalty and I’m becoming more and more sensitive to it and the deleterious effect it has on the civic mindedness of Americans. People here need to be reminded that senators, representatives and even the god damn president are all servants of the will of the people. They are voluntary and temporary positions and they should be looked at as sacrifices, not as opportunities to enrich oneself and be treated as part of some aristocracy. These politicians need to be put in their place, they need to start coming to us on their hands and knees begging for our approval, instead of this ridiculous bi-partisan apologia that is considered discourse in the major press. Thanks James, you got me all riled up!

  2. Where exactly is Effigy, and how do we convince the pols to go there?

  3. It’s a great idea, memorial day protests. There sure is no way I would ever go to or march in any parade that honors war in any way. Check out this short clip from a great anti-war film. It says everything I would like to say but don’t have the words for.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/026930.html

    Peace!

  4. Memorial Day is for spooning out the Kool Aid. “Remember all those that sacrificed for our freedoms.” Yeah, just ignore the lies that caused their deaths in the first place. The War Party needs a day like this. Keeps those about to die in a stupor.

  5. I’m down. All the wars since at least WW2 have NOT been self defense, these have all been aggressions. The U.S. has killed millions of innocent people in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq. Those people never attacked the U.S. So why did we kill them?

    Kill a million people for your Party Bosses,
    Kill a million for your Donor Base.
    Kill a Million and get a Committee seat,
    Boost your own career.

    90% of those people killed, were noncombatants, even in Iraq it has not changed. Children, elderly, bystanders. Because the U.S. Congress and President regards the life of its soldiers higher than the life of innocent civilians. Based on results, the U.S. Congress and President is consistently willing to kill ten times the number of civilians than combatants.

    The US congress and President are institutions out of control. They are in an illegal status, violating laws and treaties. They aren’t defending the U.S. –they’re defending “US interests” i.e cronies and contributors in corporations, many not even in the U.S. These wars are actually making the rest of us *less* safe.

    I condemn the U.S. Congress and President. They have not served America. They disserved. The reputation and standing of the soldiers, the veterans, and the Congress and President as institutions AND INDIVIDUALLY, comes from the character of their actions, not by wishful thinking, or continual propaganda to convince the public of their self-serving doctrines. or intimidation and defamation of antiwar people.

  6. just got on a blog : the real meaning of “global warming” – eliminate all forms of life but
    worms. Some people started transforming.

  7. And any number of wars before WW2 (the misnamed “good war” by the way). How about Spain in 1898? Germany in 1917? Various interventions in Haiti, Latin America, etc..

  8. Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.

    If you think you can reform those incest descendents in Orwellington DC any other way you are mistaken.

  9. Exactly, Paul Alexander. Thank you.

  10. Sorry for those typos.

  11. Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.

    No, don’t start over; just let nature reclaim the land as swamp and swallow up the ruins. Staring over will just guarantee the re-emergence of the status quo within another century, or less.

  12. [...] http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2009/05/25/memorial-day-burning-pols-in-effigy/ [...]

  13. It’s going to okay, everyone, it’s going to be okay. You don;t need to fire off like rabid little dwarves biting Bush’s ankles. There’s a clearer path to salvation than fighting those wicked neocons.

  14. What we should be remembering is how many fo these mena nd women died unneccasarily.

  15. “Sacralizing the war dead usually results in exonerating the politicians. Rather than parades, it would be better to celebrate this holiday like the British used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day – by burning politicians in effigy, or a reasonable facsimile.

    Too harsh?”

    How dare you! Even the thought of burning an effigy of Obama is a sacrilege.

    Obama is our Lord and Savior.

    HE is Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and uh Denzel Washington all rolled into one.

    Worship HIM.

  16. The pols don’t freak me out as much as the prosecutors…then again, most prosecutors wanna be pols…and special prosecutors wanna be special pols…and then we all go down a very special, slippery slope

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  17. I’ve seen the light! Who do I need to get on the phone to get Bovard thrown in Gitmo?

  18. My relatives landed at Normandy. They marched through Europe. They liberated the death camps. They liberated millions of people. Some of my relatives came back. Some did not. I’m sick and tired of people like you! Can’t we just have ONE DAY that is sacred? Where we remember the sacrifice of those who died for freedom. Yes, Freedom! My family members liberated Europe and kept the world free so people like you all could sit back in comfort and freedom and make idiodic comments about Memorial Day, a day that should be far beyond politics or partisianship. You make me sick! If you don’t like Memorial Day then get the hell out of this country. Move to Switzerland.

  19. Do some research. Most of the innocent people killed in Iraq were NOT killed by US miliary bombs. They were killed because of sectarian violence.

  20. Sectarian violence that ONLY BEGAN AFTER AND AS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF THE UNJUSTIFIABLE AND ILLEGAL American invasion.

  21. WW2 ONLY began because of America’s tragic intervention in the Great War in April 1917. Most of the death camps were liberated by the Soviets. As for America making Europe “free”, tell that to the Poles, Czechs, Balts, Romanians, etc. By the way smartass, my relatives also fought at Normandy.

  22. “Can’t we just have ONE DAY that is sacred”? Good question Tim. So why is memorial day all about honoring war and pimping the dead for a political adgenda? Didn’t you get your flag to wave every memorial day? If I believe you that your relatives died in war (not that I believe anything you say) they didn’t die for FREEDOM they died for yet another lie! So it’s fine if you use memorial day for politics as long as it’s pro-war right? What a joke and a very sad joke at that.

    I have been to war, have you? You know why I know you haven’t? Because if you had been you wouldn’t talk the way you do. Your special brand of ignorance is reserved for the Chickenhawks. BLAH, BLAH BLAH if you don’t like it get out you cowards! So us vets as well as everyone else who is willing to fight and stop our countries decent into fascism should move to Switzerland so the US can be full up with ignorant people like you? Sorry Tim but true patriots will fight for their country and not hand it over because the buy the lies of people like you.

    Memorial day is NOT about honoring the the war dead it’s about pimping for the current and next war. Thats why it’s not beyond politics and also why it should be protested.

    Peace!

  23. Well said Brad. As for Switzerland, it has been at peace since Napoleon’s days and the last time I was there it was free too! Perhaps we can learn something from the Swiss.

  24. Andy I’m sure we could learn from Switzerland as well as many other nations. But of course you know the rediculous BS the Republicrats will give you. They say junk like “That only works for small countries, and we are to big for that to work”. And any other lie that seems to work at the time. We must have wars over there so they won’t come here, and on and on, Yah sure right when pigs fly!

    As if a few million well armed people and enough nukes to blow up the world won’t keep us “safe”. The only way to live in a completely “safe” environment is to lock yourself in a supermax prison. I will gladly give up a little safety and remain free. The alternative is to give away all your freedom and you may be a little more “safe”?

    Peace!

  25. Some fought to bring freedom to the Philippinos!

    The basic causes of the Philippine-American War can be found in the U.S. government’s quest for an overseas empire and the desire of the Filipino people for freedom. In other words, this war was a clash between the forces of imperialism and nationalism.
    After centuries as a Spanish colony, a revolution led in part by Emilio Aguinaldo broke out in 1896 in the Philippine Islands. After fighting a savage guerilla war for two and a half years, the Filipinos suddenly found themselves in a seemingly advantageous position as allies of the United States. In 1898, Spain fought a losing war with the United States in which her colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam were overrun with relative ease by the U.S. Army and her Atlantic Fleet devastated outside of Santiago, Cuba. Similarly, Spain’s Pacific Fleet was wiped out in the Battle of Manila Bay, and American troops landed on the outskirts of the capitol city.

    Following the surrender of the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines to American military forces in August,1898, tensions developed between U.S. and Filipino forces near Manila. The American government decided to keep the Philippines as a colony, thereby denying independence to the Filipino people. Aguinaldo and his army of nearly 80,000 veteran troops realized that their “allies” in the Spanish War would soon become foes.

    DESCRIPTION OF CONFLICT:

    As early 1899, U.S. and Filipino forces faced off as a tense situation became worse. American forces held the capitol of Manila, while Aguinaldo’s army occupied a trench-line surrounding the city. On the evening of February 4, 1899, Private William Grayson of the Nebraska Volunteers fired the first shot in what would turn out to be a very bloody war. Grayson shot at a group of Filipinos approaching his position, provoking an armed response. Shooting soon spread up and down the ten-mile U.S.-Filipino lines, causing hundreds of casualties. Upon the outbreak of hostilities, U.S. troops, supported by shelling from Admiral Dewey’s fleet, quickly overwhelmed the Filipino positions while inflicting thousands of casualties. Within days, American forces spread outward from Manila, using superior firepower, mobile artillery and command of the sea to full effect.

    By November of 1899, Aguinaldo and his forces had been pushed further and further into central Luzon (the main Philippine island) and he realized he could not fight the Americans with conventional military units. At this point, he ordered his followers to turn to guerilla tactics to combat the American army. From this point on, the war became a savage, no-holds-barred guerilla conflict made up of ambushes, massacres and retribution. Both sides engaged in wanton violence and slaughter. Villages were destroyed, civilians murdered, prisoners tortured and mutilated along with a host of other atrocities. Many American officers and non-coms had served in the Indian Wars, and thus applied the old belief that “the only good Indian was a dead Indian” to their relations with the Filipinos. This attitude of course was reciprocated by the native forces.

    Emilio Aguinaldo was captured in March, 1902, and organized opposition from his followers soon faded. Despite the official end to hostilities proclaimed on July 4, 1902, individual tribes in Luzon and the Muslim Moros of the southern islands launched further uprisings for another decade or so.

    http://www.historyguy.com/PhilipineAmericanwar.html

  26. The War Prayer :

    “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

    http://lexrex.com/informed/otherdocuments/warprayer.htm

  27. “Talk about war being ‘hell,’ this war beats the hottest estimate ever made of that locality. Caloocan was supposed to contain seventeen thousand inhabitants. The Twentieth Kansas swept through it, and now Caloocan contains not one living native. Of the buildings, the battered walls of the great church and dismal prison alone remain. The village of Maypaja, where our first fight occurred on the night of the fourth, had five thousand people on that day, — now not one stone remains upon top of another. You can only faintly imagine this terrible scene of desolation. War is worse than hell.”

    Captain Elliott, of the Kansas Regiment, February 27th

    Our emperial ambitions destroyed the only democracy in Asia at that time. Way to go Teddy!

    Peace!

  28. I think it’s a great suggestion, James.

  29. As usual, Tim R completely misses the point.

  30. In the Philippines the United States committed the very atrocities it falsely accused Spain of committing in Cuba. This nasty, dirty little war has basically vanished from the American collective consciousness, such as it is. But its consequences were severe. The presence of American troops there was a major factor in causing war with Japan and the Philippines never developed a strong national identity.

  31. Interesting reportage after the fact by the departed Capitan but what did he do to put a stop, if any, to the actions committed against the people of the Phillipines? I dare say he didn’t do a damn thing but pen those words regardless of the picture it painted.

  32. Andy. As Dr. Phil would say (playing the devils advocate in the form of Uncle Sam talking to everyone else in the world), “It’s not about YOUuuuuuuuu. It’s about Me!”

  33. James, first of all you have to find people in this country who can actually think for themselves and outside of the box firmly lodged between their already stopped up ears.

  34. Obama Kool Aid Drinker, you’ve clearly got with the program. Whenever you mention President Obama The Divine, never use anything less than superlatives.

    By the way, you could have compared The Great One to: Leonardo da Vinci, Immanuel Kant, Isaac Newton, Plato, Socrates, Albert Schweitzer. . . .

  35. No doubt, your correct. On top of that the Kansas Regiment was all volunteer. They had truly drank the Kool Aid.

    Peace!

  36. I viewed the film “Patton” for the umpteen time on this past Memorial Day weekend. George Scott played the role of this egotistical martinet splendidly. What surprised me was not hearing any comment in our media concerning Patton’s disdain and hatred for “Cowardly yellow belly soldiers.” The famous slapping incident was shown to remind of his contempt. But there was no attempts in our media to link those who started this latest war in Iraq to be linked to similar condemnation since most never wore an American uniform nor spent a minute fighting wars they started and supported provided others did the fighting. Steve, USN, World War 2

  37. Was not it during the war against the Philippines that some US soliders sent the heads of killed Philippinos back home as trophies of the war ?!

  38. I very much feel so sorry for the word Freedom for it has become such an abused and missused word!

    For every war the US has waged ,it was for Freedom!

    No matter where!

    While the US was fighting for Freedom in Europe ,the blacks back in the US were not allowed that Freedom!

  39. McKinley claims God told to take Philippines
    Hold a moment longer! Not quite yet, gentlemen! Before you go I would like to say just a word about the Philippine business. I have been criticized a good deal about the Philippines, but don’t deserve it. The truth is I didn’t want the Philippines, and when they came to us, as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them. When the Spanish War broke out Dewey was at Hongkong, and I ordered him to go to Manila and to capture or destroy the Spanish fleet, and he had to; because, if defeated, he had no place to refit on that side of the globe, and if the Dons were victorious they would likely cross the Pacific and ravage our Oregon and California coasts. And so he had to destroy the Spanish fleet, and did it! But that was as far as I thought then.
    When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. I sought counsel from all sides—Democrats as well as Republicans—but got little help. I thought first we would take only Manila; then Luzon; then other islands perhaps also. I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was, but it came:
    (1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable;
    (2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable;
    (3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and
    (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. [1]
    And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department (our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States (pointing to a large map on the wall of his office), and there they are, and there they will stay while I am President!–President William McKinley.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War#McKinley_claims_God_told_to_take_Philippines

    [(3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and
    (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. [1]
    And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly]

    What an ignorant person! Christianize them!

  40. How many Americans know that “patriot” Patton led the attack against the bonus army? And although Americans don’t like to hear it, it was the Soviet Union that defeated Nazi Germany. By the time of the Normandy invasion the Germans had already sustained north of 4.1 million casualties on the eastern front.

  41. The Philippines were already a largely Christian country in 1898.

  42. Andy,

    Don’t you know that the US never kill any body intentionally.Those killed by the US just happened to be in the way.It was their fault.It was not the US plan to ignite the sectarian violence in order to justify its occupation of Iraq.There was not a plan called the Salvador Option that is being followed in Iraq!The US is doing everything it can to bring civilization to Iraq,but blame the savage natives for their relctance to be civilized.They do not know what’s good for them!

  43. Funny how a people could be ruled by the Spanish for three hundred years, far longer than the U.S. had even been in existence, converted to Catholicism in the majority, yet in all that time they are, as far as this megalomaniac is concerned, incapable of self-rule! And if God tells you to do something then it has to be TRUE! Sounds an awful lot like every president we’ve ever had and the more so after this lunatic.

  44. I know things like this were done in the Pacific in WW2.

  45. By the way, you could have compared The Great One to: Leonardo da Vinci, Immanuel Kant, Isaac Newton, Plato, Socrates, Albert Schweitzer. . . .

    Yes! You are absolutely correct, sir. I should also mention that His Highness bears a striking resemblance to Brad Pitt, P. Diddy, and American Idol sensation Adam Lambert.

    Barack Obama: All the men want to be him. And all the women want to be with him.