Thursday, August 27, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything at All

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Ted Kennedy:

That is all.

Not Getting It about G.I. Joe

I find the last few paragraphs of this piece by Alyssa Rosenberg to be hilarious. Apparently she is criticizing the recent G.I. Joe movie for not portraying war realisitically enough; for ignoring collateral damage, for being too derivative, for making the military organization too independent of government oversight, and for focusing too much on the cool hardware.

Folks, it's a movie based on a cartoon and toy line from the 1980s aimed at boys of single-digit age (yes, I know that the dolls are older than that, but the G.I. Joe characters that we know today basically were not created until the 80s).

I'm not defending the movie. It may be horrible, as the first live-action Transformers was (I'm not looking at the second until it comes out on DVD, and maybe not even then). Buyt Transformers was bad on its own terms; the robots were unrecognizable, too much of the plot revolved around the humans, the human were played too much for comic relief, etc. You don't go to watch Transformers and then claim that it was a bad movie because it had unrealistic giant robots.

And that's the problem. Ms. Rosenberg is looking for a nuanced portrayal of war from a movie that is supposed to be about colorful soldiers with amusing gimmicks fighting over-the-top villain stereotypes. Obviously, the movie will be more sophisticated than the cartoon (although the cartoon was, for what it was, fairly sophisticated (just Google "There's no place like Spingfield"), but first and foremost the movie has to be about the things that make G.I. Joe cool, two of which are the reduced level of moral complexity and the cartoony violence.

That is all.

Friday, August 07, 2009


The Schiff for Senate 2010 Exploratory Committee has a moneybomb scheduled for today (that's an attempt to raise large amounts of cash on one day).

I gave $50.00. Consider giving as well.

Rand Paul has something going on as well. I'll deal with that soon.

That is all.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Thought on Hiroshima

As I have said before, I think that the moral rightness of the bomb drop on Hiroshima is contingent upon two issues:

(1) Could we have achieved the surrender of the Japanese without either the bombing or an invasion if we had chosen to negotiate a surrender rather than insisting on an unconditional surrender?

(2) Is there any reason why a conditional surrender that would be acceptable to Japan should not be acceptable to us?

If the bombs were truly the only way to prevent a land invasion, or if a conditional surrender would have had horrible consequences, then the Hiroshima bombing was justified. If the Allies had good reason to assume either of those two things, the bombing was also justified - or, more precisely, the decision to bomb was justified given the knowledge that they had at the time. Otherwise, I think that the bombing was not justified.

There are basically two points that I think are important to consider whenever thinking about Hiroshima )or World War II in general):

(1) Is the demand for unconditional surrender a good thing to have in a war? Perhgaps in some wars it is the right way to fight, but I think that the tendency amongst some philosophers and pundits to look at unconditional surrender as a necessiity in any modern war is rather misguided/

(2) Hiroshima and Nagasaki were extreme decisions under extreme circumstances. They ought not to be considered universal precedents, as some pundits and commentariat would have them be (e.g. the desire to flatten the "Sunni triangle" in Iraq).

That is all.