Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mashing America; the “Truth” on Television

I used to watch MASH. We got our first cable hookup back in 1981, when we were living in Jackson Hole Wyoming. I was excited to find out that I could watch MASH three times a day. I hadn’t started watching MASH until after Henry Blake died, but I’d seen it all in re-runs.
















Now I can’t stand to listen to the program, the revulsion is actually physical. Wrapped in a saccharin coating this T.V. show has contributed to a mind set that lays the foundation for appeasement. I once heard Paul Harvey say that MASH had put war out of stile in America. In those days of comparative safety and peace, that didn’t seem so bad. Now in a world where an insidious enemy would hunt us all into extinction Appeasement is a very dangerous delusion. Because a generation of Americans has grown up force fed the anti-war agenda of the 4077th we are all in danger.

A quick examination of the characters reveals the subtle but powerful message of the program. The “good guys” are all in Korea under protest while the few who support America’s difficult but necessary mission are portrayed as fools, fiends, or psychopaths.

















On one side we have Hawkeye, Trapper, B. J. and Klinger. Their contempt for America oozes from the script. Their resentment for those whom they blame for the war is pervasive. If you’re against the war, be you souse, a cross dresser, or philanderer – you’re the good guy.

At the other extreme are those who show any semblance of support for their country. Frank Burns, Hot Lips Hulahan, Colonel Flag, and a never ending stream of “Regular Army” guys who are in Korea only to kill and exploit. If you support the war, you’re a fool, a crook, or a killer.

In a recent conversation it was claimed that Frank Burns wasn’t representative of anything he was just a fool. This is the dangerous subtlety of the show. Of course Frank was an idiot, and as an idiot he didn’t like Communism. Colonel Flag is a joke, I was told while watching an episode in which Flag swaggered around the MASH unit threatening to execute a sixteen your old boy. Of course he’s a joke and made all the things connected with him a joke – including CIA and patriotism.

The Chinese and North Koreans only put in rare appearances. There is a lovable bomber pilot, Five o-clock Charlie, whom the wise Dr’s guide in to blow up an American ammo-dump while the “good guys” cheer the destruction of the arms that might have prevented the casualties they will lament in the next scene. There is the compassionate Chinese Dr. who magnanimously offers to hand over wounded prisoners and then lectures the Americans and America on the injustice of U. S. actions. Mean while Frank and Margaret pay the price of supporting the war by being presented as self serving idiots. In show after show the underlying theme is the same, sweet teenage American boys suffer and die, and for what? In the words of the MASHers, “for nothing.”

We are never presented the atrocities on the Communists, the evils of totalitarian dictators who mass murder and enslave. There is no mention of the Communist and Soviet goal of world domination. In episode after episode, America and its military are accused and debased. We have colonels who use black soldiers as cannon fodder; supply offices that steal and deal with the medical supplies needed to save the dying; an insane general who demands a black helicopter pilot dance for his entertainment; a statistician who revels in predicting the death of soldiers, a company commander who waists his soldiers lives to gain fame, an incompetent desk jockey sent to the battle front to gain points for retirement; and unremittingly, General Macarthur is made the butt of jokes and baseless accusations. I could go on and on – every episode brings forth another “ugly” America to contrast with the wise and knowing Dr’s of MASH 4077.




















Pacifism is a narcotic. It brings on a seemingly pleasant euphoria, but one which is totally false, unreal; a stimulation of a co-opted mind. The only tool of the pacifists in a world where evil is a reality is appeasement.

I have a favorite Star Trek episode. (The old Star Trek with Kirk and Spock). Kirk and Spock follow Dr. McCoy into a time gate and find themselves in 1930’s America. Spock is passed off as a Chinese who got his ears caught in a rice picker. They meet a girl and McCoy saves her from being rundown by a truck. In that instant the *Enterprise* disappears, there is no future. Spock applies his logic and revels the cause. The woman McCoy saved would go on to maintain the pacifist movement in the U. S. long enough for Hitler to prefect the Atomic bomb and win the war. There would be no future.

The danger of appeasement is that it sounds so easy. Surely “they” want what we want. If we could just jump in a jeep and drive to the peace talks then it would all be over. Just ask Hawkeye.

Years ago I found a book in the University Library. It was full of political cartoons from before World War Two.




The first picture illustrates the words of FDR. There is now an unholy alliance to dominate and enslave the Human race, but MASHed Americans are not interested in hearing about it, are not willing to recognize it even exists. To them it is not as real as a T. V. show in its thirtieth year of re-runs.
















The second visualizes the condition of the appeasers. War is hell; no one wants to deal with it. So they turn their backs while the world gets ready to blow.







The next step is presented by this graphic fantasy. The storm has already begun, and America cowers behind the umbrella of appeasement deceived by the false hope that we can stop the floods should they come on us.












Munich was the consummation of appeasement. Britain, the trained cat, was used by the “master of lies” to aiding and abetting the death of Czechoslovakia. Thus the Appeasers in the US would make the American people the allies of the terrorists in their quest for world dominance. They are already cracking the whip.









The guy with the sword represents the French; the chubby chap is Jon Bull, the personification of the British people. Uncle Sam was hunkered down on the beach. How long will the flesh and blood of the free people of Iraq sate the Muslim beast?











When Hitler turned on Poland, France and Britain thought they could put an end to evil. Boy, were they in for a shock. When we are at last forced to face the terrorist killers, how well will we do?









With a bit of bravado, this cartoon shows John Bull finally getting his courage up. But we all know it is too late to win. Only America saved the day. Will it soon be too late for us? This is Osama’s dream. Who will save us then?




And when Europe is gone, and the world in the hands of a nuclear powered Islamic super state how will we survive? Britain looks tough in this cartoon, the lion so fierce. But how could they have stood without our help, no longer than Iraq can if we abandon them to the terrorists. They will be turned from a rock of defiance to a stepping stone toward our destruction.




Pretending that the Islamic Radicals will be our friends if we give them power in “their part of the world” is as foolish as Chamberlain’s hope for "peace in our time". It is the false hallucination of the MASHed mind.

It is fitting that the MASH theme song, soaked into the American mind by the incessant re-running of that fantasy, intones, “Suicide is painless, it brings so many changes; suicide is painless after all.” This is the siren call of the Appeasers; this is the promise of the pacifists, this is the fate of a MASHed America.

103 comments:

truth to power said...

I have indicated here before that I am a tremendous M*A*S*H fan. Watched it since I was knee-high to the TV. Before I was old enough to understand what the heck was going on, I still recognized when the conversation got political. Propaganda can be hard to disguise. But just as I said about "This Land is Your Land", M*A*S*H is great art. It's terrific television, fabulously entertaining and healthily thought-provoking. I don't fear or hate it, because I'm still confident most people don't think by infection, catching ideas like a cold. The truth will prevail.

Lysis said...

Truth to Power;

I have said I too was long a MASH fan, but once one sees the flaw in anything, it is hard to see anything else. I tried to watch an episode tonight, the one where the lecherous three star general dies in Hotlips bed, when they got to the joke about the pearl handled pistols, I quit watching. Perhaps you will try watching in this “new light” and assess the program anew for yourself. Art can be used for propaganda – in fact the greater the art the more dangerous it is to misuse its power.

I would like to thank you for reading through such a flawed post. I am continuing to up date and correct spelling and typographical errors as I find them. My editor and I do not agree on this topic. I though it wise to leave her out of the process. In fact it was my comment to her about he pistols that ended the show for tonight, and explains why I am on the Web Log at 11:00 PM. You all must pay the price for my discretion.

Also, I am still learning the fine points of posting pictures. My computer wiz is working and schooling full time, I am left to my own devices.

Dan Simpson said...

I, like TTP, watched MASH through my childhood (even when the parents wanted me in bed).

I love the show, to this day. I agree with TTP, its entertaining, and enjoyable.

I think the best character in the whole show is Col. Potter.

He has been in three wars. First, as a kid for glory and fun. Second, as a man, for duty. His insights, I believe, are the best.

He is where the show brings the patriotism of the 'bad guys' and leaves the 'laughable' qualities aside.

He loves his country, his wife, his family, and the people he commands.

He hates war, but knows why it has to be fought.

Lysis said...
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Lysis said...

Dan;

Perhaps I am too cynical, but it may be that you are too naive. May I suggest that Potter is a Trojan horse? He is cover for the constant and more insidious agenda of MASH.

Potter does not put an end to the misbehavior of B. J., Hawkeye, or Klinger, he succumbs to it. As a “misty eyed” grandfather figure he laments the deaths of past wars and complains about the incompetence of those directing the “present” one.

He may well love his wife; he is faithful to her and tender in his letters. As for his family, I don’t recall the episodes on which you base this claim. His “love” for those he commands is indeed often demonstrated, but only in the make-believe world of the 4077th can he be indulgent without consequence. It is only those who demand discipline at the MASH whose actions are portrayed as causing any harm. Potter is lax without effect. As for his love of his country, I’d like evidence from any episode; none comes to my mind. I am sincere in this; I would at least like Potter to be a believable Trojan horse.

It is important to note that even a patriotic and dedicated Potter would not counterbalance the anti war spouting theme of the rest of the cast, but I maintain that he never tries.

To your list, I would like to add that Potter is portrayed as loving his patients, the soldiers on whom he and his hospital practices their often lamented “meat-ball” medicine. I would argue that aiding them is his only motivation in service – and that is not a bad motivation, but it is also a most subtle disguise. I cannot remember - even once - Potter explaining to the grumbling, rebellious, drunken, and lecherous mob, why the war is needed. If he understands this, he never explains either to the MASHers nor to the audience.

Over the run of his character on the show, it is Potter whose position shifts. He comes in “Regular Army” and leaves MASHed.

You have opened the gates of your heart to the “old horse solider” just the way the producers of MASH intended. Now what was hidden is inside your mind, and you are undone.

It should be easy to prove me wrong, if I am. For research purposes, I point out, that MASH is still on at least three times a day. Go for it!

Dan Simpson said...

I will give you the best proof of your erroneous argument that I can.

I have seen every episode several times (as have my parents, and most of my sibling, my wife, etc.)

I see no proof of the insidious trojans spilling forth to destroy the defenses.

Your projection of doom just doesn't cross over to the real world.

Lysis said...

Dan;

Do I feel like Cassandra or what?

“Reason is better than a witness”, according to Cicero, but both require evidence.

What about the examples I give in the post above? What is the message to viewers presented by Burns, Hotlips, and Colonel Flagg? What about the glories of Chinese Doctors and the evils of Douglas Macarthur?

Where is Potter’s explanation for the value of the liberation of South Korea, and his condemnation of Communism which I asked you for? Just because one is blind and deaf to the clanking of arms in the belly of the beast does not mean that they are not deceived.

How dose your family rationalize away the drunkenness, promiscuity, and endless disrespect for all authority - for uniforms, flags, ranking officers - that is constantly showcased as acceptable behavior for MASH’s heroes? Perhaps people are to busy laughing at the crude jokes to notice their message.

Aeneas said...

I'm sure I have seen every episode of MASH at least once. However, I only enjoyed the show up to the episode where Trapper leaves. After that the show went down hill and I never really enjoyed it again. Why did I keep watching it, you might ask? Because it came between the 10:00 pm news and Hawaii-Five-O at 11:00 pm.

I think MASH raises the old question of whether art immitates life or life imitates art? In this case, I think art imitates life. Lysis is correct in that MASH clearly reflects an anti-war/passivist philosophy and was a show more about protesting the Vietnam War (though it was technically about the Korean War)than it was just a comedy for entertainment's sake. I also think that the show does have the potential to influence weak willed people toward a passivist point of view. However, I also agree that most Americans are not swaid by the show itself, but are probably already set in a political position. Thus, I must conclude that MASH is itself not a major problem, but a symptom of a nation sick with fear and self loathing, a problem which clearly persists today.

Lysis said...

Dan;

Do I feel like Cassandra or what?

“Reason is better than a witness”, according to Cicero, but both require evidence.

What about the examples I give in the post above? What is the message to viewers presented by Burns, Hotlips, and Colonel Flagg? What about the glories of Chinese Doctors and the evils of Douglas Macarthur?

Where is Potter’s explanation for the value of the liberation of South Korea, and his condemnation of Communism which I asked you for? Just because one is blind and deaf to the clanking of arms in the belly of the beast does not mean that they are not deceived.

How dose your family rationalize away the drunkenness, promiscuity, and endless disrespect for all authority - for uniforms, flags, ranking officers - that is constantly showcased as acceptable behavior for MASH’s heroes? Perhaps people are to busy laughing at the crude jokes to notice their message.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

I have watched M*A*S*H for years. I think it is a great example of the power of media, and the power of manipulation. As you have pointed out, the “good guys” are all anti-war. The position of the South Koreans in preventing communism from sweeping across their land is never articulated. All the “good guys” of M*A*S*H suggest is that they want to go home, that they are trapped as pawns of the U.S. war machine, and that all the problems of Korea, and of the world, would be solved if America just stayed out of it. Never is any of the aggression of the Chinese and the North Koreans discussed. Sound familiar?

According to M*A*S*H, South Korean children were “drafted” and drug unwilling into the war as soldiers, a war that would have just went away if the Americans left.

What about the portrayal of the South Korean people? According to M*A*S*H, all those people wanted to do was work on the family farm. The Americans were the great disrupters, the “occupiers”, if you will. Sound familiar?


Aeneas,

I would offer a different opinion as to the question of M*A*S*H and art imitating life. The attitudes of Americans during WWII and the Korean War were not those that were portrayed on M*A*S*H. It was during and after Viet Nam that attitudes changed, and the M*A*S*H-ing of America began.

Do you remember the episode where Father Mulchahy wrote his “war diddy?” He analyzed the songs of WWI and WWII in an attempt to create the same kind of morale in the Korean War. Through the process, he wrote his song, which finished with the line, and this is from memory, “what did we ever come here for?” To me this is a good illustration of M*A*S*H’s attempt to manipulate the opinion of its viewers.

I don’t think M*A*S*H was the only reason that life began to imitate art. I won’t give it that much credit. But it did play its part, as “life began to imitate art.” Sadly, I think many Americans have bought the bill of goods that M*A*S*H, Hanoi Jane, and others have sold

MindMechanic said...
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MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

"How dose your family rationalize away the drunkenness, promiscuity, and endless disrespect for all authority - for uniforms, flags, ranking officers - that is constantly showcased as acceptable behavior for MASH’s heroes?"

Does it matter that it is pretty much historically accurate?

Were they drunk often? Sure! How many times did they address the impact of alcoholism? MANY times.

Sure, they were promiscuous, but how many times did they show the impact of casual sexual encounters or borders crossed in relationships? All the time!

Disrespect for authority? Of course, but people in their situation WOULD have those feelings. However, how many episodes showed the ultimate respect they paid towards Potter...not because he wore a bird but because he earned it? Even henry was afforded respect in appropriate times.

Uniforms? Shouldnt be too shocked about that...I traveled Camp Doha often and was shocked at the number of soldiers in various stage of uniform and undress. And these were professional soldiers not drafted doctors.

I DO see some validity to your points and even see it as a topic worthy of discussion...I just dont see it as diabolical as you do.

MindMechanic said...

I think that this is one of those things where there is actually truth on both sides.

It is undeniable that Alan Alda and Mike Farrel are two of the biggest pacifist liberals in the country and I think you would have to be blind to not see the frequent attacks on war and the insanity of war.

My problem with people like this is not their desire for peace...believe it or not (anon) there is nothing I would love more
then to be free of the scourge of war forever.

The problem is that in every war there has been an aggressor. And in Korea and Viet Nam there were also significant other factors at play, especially the cold war struggle.

The peace-nik position is that there is always an alternative to war. The problem, is that what they have is a position...not an actual clue as to how that would work. Ghandi's position was to surrender everything to the Nazis no matter what and never put up a fight. It is a position that the world honors...but people forget...the reason we have the luxury to honor Ghandi is that people like Roosevelt and Churchill led courages forces to battle Hitlers aggression.

The original book MASH was written to portray (and did so fairly accurately if you read some of the eye-witness accounts of doctors that served in MASH units) the insanity and struggles faced by men and women (especially well educated men and women that had no desire to ever BE in the military-this does NOT imply well educated people do not want to be in the military or arent in the military...it just states MANY well educated people do NOT want to be) drafted and forced into a military model. The author was a doctor in a mash unit.

"As danger lessened, the surgical hospitals gained a reputation for insouciance bordering on wackiness. Liquor was abundant and cheap, and the MASH was normally the farthest point forward that American women got in Korea. Questioned about the nature of the hijinks during off-duty hours, a MASH doctor later said tersely, "Oh, sex and liquor. What else is there?""

The movie was filmed in 1969 and released in 1970. I read an interview with Altman and he talked about the influence of the 60's and Viet Nam. Much of the anti-war sentiment can be attributed to the Viet Nam war, not the Korean war. He merged the influences.

MASH followed the model of Heller's Catch 22. I didnt serve in the WW2 era military but I see a lot of the insanity in the modern military. No one could be shocked that MASH units saw the military in a little skewed manner.

I think the book had a purpose. The director of the movie OBVIOUSLY had motives that were driven by anti-war sentiment. And I think it is undeniable that the TV show scripts also painted the military in as damning light as possible.

It did more though (at least for me). I understood that the doctors were undisciplined and angry at having to be there. I can easily understand the frustration portrayed by witnessing endless waves of bodies. But through it all I saw people form all walks of life thrust into the most ugly of situations and learning how to cope, witnessing their struggles, and learning to like and ultimately love each other. They also showed mankinds flaws as well as their strengths.

Is it inconceivable that a colonel should be given a field command to pad his stats? No more so that an aged General being stuffed into an A-10 to fly 'combat' sorties during the first Gulf War to earn points and bonuses. That he nearly destroyed two aircraft due to careless is overlooked.

It isnt beyond the realm of possibility that a colonel in Korea would send blacks into combat for racially driven reasons...look at the times.

Scrounging and bartering (and stealing) medical supplies is certainly not beyond the realm of reality. A good scrounge is often any unit's MVP (even today).

One of the benefits of being American is that we have the affluence and security that affords us the luxury of poking fun at ourselves. I think that there was a lot of truth in the series and sure, a lot of Anti war sentiments (but not Anti-American).

Alda wore the Hawkeye Pierce role and made it real, believable, flawed.

Henry Blake was in reality just like all of the real doctors...doctors forced to go play soldier (a primary reason why no military person WANTS the draft).

Lecherous generals, and nurses? Heck...how many commanders have been busted for affairs with subordinates?

If you want wartime reality, stick with Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Blackhawk Down. Mash was a modernized Catch 22, meant to point out the surreal. Sure...the TV show was liberal and slanted...but I still think it was powerful TV. I still think it had value.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

I may indeed be giving MASH “too much credit” for the shift in American support for its military, but I think you are giving MASH too much credit.

Fist, I have to admit I have never seen the movie – so I was not speaking of it. Secondly, I am sure that the drunken, licentiousness you describe as part of the life of military doctors, may well be “the way it is” for many. But it is not the sex and booze that fosters Appeasement; it is the constant drum beat which Rumpole has referenced. The consistent attitude, not just held by some grudging doctors forced into service, but MASHed into the minds of millions of Americans sitting safe and sassy in their living rooms that war is a racket.

Again, to fall back to Rumpole’s examples; the portrayal of South Koreans as crooks, bootleggers, madams, kidnapers and victims of American imperialism may well have had some root in truth, but it is not the whole story of that people’s valiant struggle to remain free. Korean boys were probably forced into fighting the invading Chinese Communists, but there were surely brave and dedicated Koreans who risked and gave all for the freedom of their country. They deserve better than to be remembered as MASHed victims. Once again I ask, “Where is the rest of the story?”

If the American military is full of crooks, cowards, climbers, and sex fiends, there are also fine people who do their difficult jobs with dignity and quality. Colonel Potter is presented as a dutiful officer, but even he is never used to do the important thing, to justify the terrible cost of liberating Korea. American T.V. watchers are left to assume that the Korean War, “like all other wars”, was not worth the cost. After all, that is what Hawkeye told us..

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

I dont pretend they showed a balanced view of the good and bad. I also acknowledge they showed a slanted pacifist view. I also dont believe it was their obligation to do so. It isnt a documentary and it isnt presented as a documentary.

You watched the show for many years and I suspect you got a lot of the same things others have talked about from it. To me...that means those things and reasons are valid. I dont think you were foolish and naive in the past...I think you are looking back with the filtered lens of today.

As I have said in the past, peace and stability provided by others gives pacifists a tremendous luxury. It is easy to bad mouth your protectors knowing your oppressors dont stand a chance and knowing there will be someone else to protect you. I think it is a position that lacks integrity. Still...I dont think that disqualifies the good that was done and I think that good outweighs the bad.

The Dixie Chicks sort of shot themselves in the foot all in the name of getting a cheap round of applause. As a result, the country music crowd has chosen not to support them or their music. Many people are so repulsed by them that they refuse to enjoy ANY of their music, even the music they have enjoyed in the past.

Elton John carries himself as a bitter, angry, unhappy man and he champions a lifestyle that many believe has led to his unhappiness. His current foul mouthed tirades have turned off a lot of fans. Does that mean we should look for double meaning and discount all his work? Man...I hope not!

The problem with the communist searches of the McCarthy era is that the saw communists under every rock, in every shadow, and in any political enemy. The real tragedy is that it caused a lot of people to just discredit the whole movement which was ALSO a mistake.

Racism is a real problem and racist incidents should be pointed out. However, many people use ANY and EVERY incidient as a racial insult and do so for fun and profit...well...mostly just profit. The problem with that is that it causes many to just shut their ears to all of it because we just get tired of hearing about it. Not EVERY incident is racial or racist.

MASH was good and bad. I think they actually did a good job of showing the problems in both lights.

MindMechanic said...

Rumpole...

"a war that would have just went away if the Americans left"

This wasnt the message I got. What I got was the frustration of fighting for grids of land while targets of military benefit in the North were ignored due to political purposes (IE fear that the Chineese and Soviets would join in the full scale warfare). Frustration that the 'peace' effort wasnt more aggresively pursued and that the effort to win the war was equally ineffective. Which is why the war ended in a stalemate.

In WW2, we recognized that to beat the oppresors we had to defeat them uterly and on their own territory. That strategy was lost in both Korea and Viet Nam.

"What about the portrayal of the South Korean people? According to M*A*S*H, all those people wanted to do was work on the family farm. The Americans were the great disrupters, the “occupiers”, if you will. Sound familiar?"

heck...add Viet Nam into the mix as well. the great majority of South Koreans that were affected by the war WERE the farmers in the midlands that were where the battlefields were held. They werent political. I doubt most of them understood the impact of failure to fight the communist aggression. Like the peace-niks today, they have enjoyed the luxury of peace fought and won by others. A simple look at the two countries at night shows the satrk reality of what the South's farmers were saved from...but you have to admit it would be difficult to imagine that prospect when you live in thatched huts with no facilities.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic:

You say,

“Still...I don’t think that disqualifies the good that was done and I think that good outweighs the bad.”

I disagree – I am still waiting for some example of the “good” you imply existed in MASH. Eating up half an hour of our lives every week, or many hours, as was later the case, does not seem a worthy purpose. Please give us an example of the good work done in the world by MASH.

As for Elton John; your admiration for his music should not excuse his misbehaviors, nor prevent you or anyone else from pointing them out to those who might be ignorant to them. As for the Dixie Chicks – same thing. They do have the right to insult their country, and I have the right to be insulted.

I am all for fighting Communism and demonic possession. I am against witch hunts however conducted. As you have said, there were many real monsters threatening America, and there is no harm in pointing them out, even if they are funny, bathrobe wearing philanderers.

You say;

“MASH was good and bad. I think they actually did a good job of showing the problems in both lights.” What are you talking about? What problem? Please give me the good, and cast a little of that light.

Even if you can show some good in the program, that will not justify the coercive effects I have outlined. To push to the absurd; I have actually heard people say that they have grown stronger from their battle with cancer; does that mean we should encourage carcinogenic activities in hopes of reaping the benefits of so much suffering? I think not.

I again ask you to sit through your next episode of MASH with an eye to detecting the anti American, pacifist, appeasement driven message I have claimed is there. If you do so fairly, I am confident you will have a rather different experience with the good old boys of the 4077th.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

“Still...I don’t think that disqualifies the good that was done and I think that good outweighs the bad.”

I disagree"

Obviously, and understandably, and well met. I dont think we have to agree. I still respect your position.

"I am still waiting for some example of the “good” you imply existed in MASH"

Human interaction. Personal growth. Overcoming differences. Survival in the face of tremendous struggle. Care. Compassion. Color blindness. Recognizing the impact and affect of alcoholism. Facing the reality of sexual attraction outside of marriage and dealing with the consequences. Providing examples of those that were able to overcome those temptations. maintaining faith in times of diversity and in fact drawing from that strength. Just a few off the top of my head.

If you do read the book or watch the movie you will see Dago Red (Father Mulcahey) portrayed as a goof. In the TV series Father Mulcahey showed a strong, dependable, loving man of God that truly lived his life in service to others. His committment to his faith was honorable. Maybe more than any other TV show has ever done MASH portrayed religion and a man of God in an inspirational, powerful, and positive light.

"Eating up half an hour of our lives every week, or many hours, as was later the case, does not seem a worthy purpose."

Many would say NO TV programming justifies a half hour of life lost.

"As for Elton John; your admiration for his music should not excuse his misbehaviors"

Never. No excuses.

"nor prevent you or anyone else from pointing them out to those who might be ignorant to them"

For all the good it does.

"As for the Dixie Chicks – same thing. They do have the right to insult their country, and I have the right to be insulted."

Absolutely.

“MASH was good and bad. I think they actually did a good job of showing the problems in both lights.”

"Even if you can show some good in the program, that will not justify the coercive effects I have outlined."

Lysis...did you feel coerced when you were a fan of the show? Was your mind and will twisted and weakened? Obviously not. Nor was I twisted and manipulated and I have to admit, my children as well. TTP admits a love of the show and doesnt show any lapse in character displayed over the several months I have been here. Likewise the Simpsons have turned out many young men and women of strength, character and integrity. they too appear to have taken the positives of the show and turned them into strengths.

"I again ask you to sit through your next episode of MASH with an eye to detecting the anti American, pacifist, appeasement driven message I have claimed is there. If you do so fairly, I am confident you will have a rather different experience with the good old boys of the 4077th"

Generationally, recruitment is still met. People continue to join and to serve honorably.

Anti-American? no. Pacifist? Sure...and I've acknowledged that. I dont think the intent of the show was to undermine generations of Americans and their integrity. I think that is power you give them.

I am curious...you confess to being an early fan of the show. What is it that YOU enjoyed? Is it only now you see the characters at their diabolical worst?

Did you also hate McHales Navy? Gomer Pyle? Private Benjamin? Biloxi Blues? Abbot and Costell Join the Army?

Or one of my personal favorite movies of all time (right next to MPs Holy Grail), Kelly's Heroes?

MindMechanic said...

"Pretending that the Islamic Radicals will be our friends if we give them power in “their part of the world” is as foolish as Chamberlain’s hope for "peace in our time"."

On this I agree completely.

We all want peace. I wonder if those that claim their love for peace would resist someone beating the hell out of them. Or would they just expect their armed bodyguards to step in and protect them.

Anonymous said...

"Major Major Major Major (MM squared) had had a difficult time from the start.

Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitable stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.

Major Major's father (known simply as MM) was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedoom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping SOCIALISM. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good living out of NOT growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did NOT grow. The more alfalfa he did NOT grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he did NOT earn on new land to incease the amount of alfalfa he did NOT produce.

Major Major's father worked without rest at NOT growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did NOT mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would NOT be done. He invested in land wisely and was soon NOT growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county. Neighbors sought him out for advice on ALL subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. (probably a Mormon) "As you sow, so shall ye reap," he counseled one and all, and everyone said, "AMEN'"
-Joseph Heller, "Catch 22"

Any resemblance to ANYONE at the Agora is coincidental -- Joseph Heller would apologize, but he's dead.

However, the precursor of "MASH" the movie and "MASH" the television show was undeniably -- Catch 22!!!!

Better written, funnier, and not pre-sanitized by politically correct censors.

Lysis has it wrong -- the opposite of war is not PACIFISM, the opposite of war is SANITY.

Heller wrote a very Politically INCORRECT book exposing with searing satire and irony the blackest TRUTHS about war . . . which ALL who HAVE been there know, regardless of their politics.

Anonymous said...

Next week the Agora will be treated to Lysis' proclamations against social evils and PACIFISM in "Hogan's Heroes", "Green Acres", "Mr. Ed" and "Dukes of Hazzard"

That's OK, but he better not wisecrack about MY favorite, "Gilligan's Island"!!!!

PS

Have you noted ALL of the themes of PACIFISM in the "Wizard of Oz"?;
ie, how that commie/faggot Cowardly Lion ruined Dorothy's chances for a coup d etat at the Wicked Witches Castle????

truth to power said...

According to Mindmechanic, "TTP admits a love of the show and doesnt show any lapse in character displayed over the several months I have been here. Likewise the Simpsons have turned out many young men and women of strength, character and integrity."

So what are you saying? That "The Simpsons" has no more of a corrupting influence than M*A*S*H, or that I remind you of Bart?

Lysis said...

Flaccid and Child;

I have clearly presented the Appeasement agenda in MASH. You have never provided any counters to any of these examples. I do not see any Appeasement agenda in Green Acres Mr. Ed, and The Dukes of Hazard. If you can find any, it is an open forum, go for it. I submit that the entire mock of the post is a smoke screen. You can’t counter the evidence so you spatter silliness.

You say;

“the opposite of war is not PACIFISM, the opposite of war is SANITY.” This is the mantra of appeasement, no doubt you picked it up watching MASH. Take a look at the political cartoons I presented. Step by step you move from the “SANITY” of keeping your burnt paws of a troubled world, to slaughtering Czechoslovakia to feed the Wolf of Nazism, to the attempt to stop Hitler, to the Lone Ranger about to die without the help of the United States. And in the process Appeasement sacrificed the lives of 75 million people around the world to totalitarian aggression. The opposite of war truly proved to be insanity.

Mindmechanic,

I will not deal with all your “good points” at this time, but think on this:
The anit war movement co-opted the civil rights movement. Surely it was wrong to discriminate against racial groups, and any condemnation of this is just, but to use an anti raciest theme as cover for deserting the people of Korea to a complete loss of all human rights is disingenuous at the least. We are forced to ask, “What about the rights of the Korean people, what about the human rights of the people of Vietnam, of the people of Iraq?”

MindMechanic said...

TTP...

This may just be one of those instances where someone might be looking to take offense...

or could I have meant Dan, Mark, and the other sterling Simpsons...

truth to power said...

Sorry. Maybe this lapse in character was caused by my love of M*A*S*H. Or was it "The Simpsons"?

Who is this "sterling" Mark Simpson? Do you know him, Dan?

Rumpole said...

MindMechanic,

You have persuasively argued that M*A*S*H tackled many social issues of the day with redeeming value.

It also seems reasonable to accept that M*A*S*H was not a “documentary and was never presented as a documentary.”

Even with that considered, you have not persuasively argued that M*A*S*H was not designed to attempt to manipulate public opinion against Viet Nam.

M*A*S*H is a great example of the television medium hanging out the hook and then setting it when the bait is taken.

Remember Father Mulcahey? The Father was indeed portrayed, you suggest, as “a strong, dependable, loving man of God that truly lived his life in service to others.”

Then he wrote his “war diddy.” Did he talk about sacrifice for others in his song? Did he mention the rights of all men for self-determination? Did he offer that freedom is a cause worth fighting for?

No. He asked (again, by memory), “what did we ever come here for?” So, if as you imply, the majority of the South Koreans, and the majority of the Vietnamese, and perhaps even the majority of Iraqi’s are not political and don’t understand the ramifications of communism, or of dictatorship for that matter, was Hawk-Eye right? Should America have left so those people could continue farming under oppressive rule? I don’t buy it. But the writers of M*A*S*H wanted me to, as do the liberals of today.

We need look no further than the results of withdrawal for validation of that point.

Television was a medium forging an identity when it began. It was pure entertainment. What agenda was ever behind “the Little Rascals”, “Father knows best”, “the Brady Bunch”, or even “Gilligan’s Island?”

But as the popularity of television grew, so did the opportunity to manipulate. I love the movie “Bye Bye Birdie.” I recall the scene (mostly because my daughter watches this movie over and over) where Anne Margaret changes clothes on camera by putting a large, loose-fitting sweater on and taking off her clothes underneath. If you watched that scene today you would think nothing of it; but is was cutting edge blasphemy in its day.

Those who control the medium have always tried to push the envelope to promote their own agenda, whether it was to make a profit, or to promote a political cause. M*A*S*H was no different. I understand why it strikes Lysis to the core.

You have the ability to see past the agenda and find social value in M*A*S*H. I don’t. I think the hook was dangled in hope of being set when the fish took the bait.

MindMechanic said...

Rumpole...

"Even with that considered, you have not persuasively argued that M*A*S*H was not designed to attempt to manipulate public opinion against Viet Nam."

Not only did I not argue AGAINST the point, I made it. Robert Altman absolutely merged 60's hippie anti Vietnam war sentiment into his movie. Alan Alda and later Mike Farrel both contributed their pacifist attitudes to the TV show. No argument...no disagreement.

I dont think their intent was subversive to undermine the values of America. I do think they fully intended to show their disdain for war, especially the war in Korea and Vietnam. And be honest...there is a LOT to not like about how those wars were fought.

Father Mulcahy "asked (again, by memory), “what did we ever come here for?”

Let me offer a different perspective. In WW1 and WW2 we went to war, fought to win, got in and got the job done. In Korea and Vietnam we fought grids, we fought to lines. We refused to attack strategic targets. We gained advantage and then gave it back. If that mentality was frustrating to career soldiers you can surely imagine how inane it would be to drafted doctors.If we arent in it to win it..."what are we fighting for?"

And I even understand why it was fought the way it was. The war in Korea and Vietnam were (in my opinion) cold war battles. We leaked into Vietnam. We followed the French model throwing bodies into the fray 5 and 10 thousand at a time. By the time we were built up to fight the war adequately there were more NVC in the south than there were allies.

I dont mean to re-fight the 60's and the Vietnam war. I come from a military family. I served for 20 years. I mentioned this before...my father and I had this battle 30 years ago...had I been just a few years older and had my number come up...knowing what I knew at the time...I dont know that I wouldnt have been trying to find a way out. Thats just the truth. It had nothing to do with TV. It had nothing to do with rebellion. It had everything to do with politicians playing games with peoples lives. I think the same thing is happening today. At the end of the day I probably wouldnt have waited for the draft...I would have joined the Coast Guard or the Navy.

I want to stress this...Korea and Vietnam WERE worthy wars to fight. What bothers me is that we didnt fight them.

"I understand why it strikes Lysis to the core."

So do I...but you and Lysis would have me believe that for the years Lysis was a fan of the show he was too ignorant or naive to see he was being manipulated. I dont buy it. I think the recognition today comes by examining it retroactively from todays filter and assigning meaning...meaning that may or may not have been there.

"You have the ability to see past the agenda and find social value in M*A*S*H. I don’t."

Thats OK. I dont see eye to eye with my wife on everything and we have been together 25 years, so I can deal with a little disagreement here.

"I think the hook was dangled in hope of being set when the fish took the bait."

Honestly...I think the fish are bringing the hook to the party.

Dan Simpson said...

Father Mulchay's song.

"There's no one singing war songs now like people used to do,
No "Over There," no "Praise the Lord," no "Glory Hallelu."
Perhaps at last we've asked ourselves what we should have asked before,
With the pain and death this madness brings, what were we ever singing for?"

This I think is an appropriate question.

Of course the songs during WWI and WWII were great for the soldier on his way, or for the homefront. But for a young man in the trenches with bullets flying, and madness everywhere, what good is 'Over There'.

I think this episode (along with many others) emphasized one of the things that I love about the show. I can, and do, support just wars. They are necessary. However, for the individual. For the soldier on the front line. For the doctor who has to continually put together the pieces of body that come before him. For the civilian whose farm gets bombed again, and again, and again. For all of those people, as individuals, singing, or pretending the war is anything other than 'all hell' to quote Sherman, is whitewashing.

We shouldn't forget that war is all hell. No matter our reasons, just or not. No matter the cause, necessary or not. War is a horrible, ugly, regrettable thing. And for the individuals embroiled in it, there is no wonderful glorified whoopee. There are hours of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.

Of course this is all from someone with no personal experience, but then most of us here are in that same boat.

I will continue to love the show.

I think that the example of misremembered song lyrics is indicative of the whole argument against this show. Well-intended, in no way a purposeful misquotation. But the memory is clouded by the opinion. Mulcahy never opined "what are we here for", or "what did we ever come for".

Lysis points to the 'bad' commanders, but ignores the fact that these, even in the show, are outliers. Look to Potter's reaction when his old army buddy is trying to get 'points' by being in combat to everyone's detriment. Potter has friends all through command, colonel rank and higher, most of them are always portrayed in a positive light.

Anyway. This is a no end in sight argument. Some of us like the show, and see no insidiously dangerous undertones tearing the casual T.V. watchers will to fight away.

It seems that we will just not agree on this one.

MindMechanic said...

When titans battle, mortals get crushed.

Post WW2 the Communists in the Soviet Union and China looked to expand their influence. We cant forget that expansion and world conquest was the stated goal of the Soviets.

Immediately following WW2 the Soviets tested our will to fight in Berlin. We showed then that we would not cave in to their antics and enacted the Berlin Airlift which was the first cold war victory. It was the first of many battles between the US and the Soviets.

Korea was no different. Aside from the human loss that would have occured had the US not stood with the South there was a bigger picture involved...again...the battle between perceived good and evil...democracy over communism (take your pick on which side you choose as the good and evil). The Korean Conflict (police action???) was fought to ensure the North didnt invade the South but it was fought delicately, so the Chinese and Soviets didnt engage full scale. Understandable on the grand scale, but not so much if you are one of the soldiers wondering why you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Next came the Cuban missile crises...the next battle in the cold war. Both countries nuclear arsenal's were ready to be deployed and luckily for the world, the Soviets blinked.

Viet Nam...no difference. The communists in the north supported by Chinese and Soviet weapons and advisors-who were the chessmasters and who were the pawns? Once again, against all advice and counsel from Eisenhours team, Kennedy slowly dragged us into the war. Attack here...but not there. Attack only between the hours of x and y. Orders issued to not return fire if certain DVs were in the area. Once again we were fighting in a handicap match against an enemy that wasnt limited. But the war wasnt really ABOUT VietNam...it was about taking a stand against Soviet expansion.

Meanwhile the Soviets had expanded as far westward as they could and didnt dare battle the Chinese, so while the world watched, they began a south and westward expansion, pointed right directly into the worlds oil fields. We recognized that and and after several failed attempts finally found a leader that would allow us to base planes and troops in the middle east and draw a very real line in the sand with the Soviets. Sure we turned a blind eye against much of the Shahs brutality and many Iranians suffered but we did so for two reasons...1-we liked his long term goal of westernization and democracy, and 2-we needed the land base against the Soviets.

When the Soviets took Afghanistan we sided with the Taliban and trained them to fight the Soviets. Sure...we helped build tunnels and caves and they later have used those to hide from our troops but again...bigger fish to fry. Checkers vs chess.

When Carter stopped the CIA payments to the Imam's all help broke loose and we lost Iran, so, what did we do? We befriended Iraq. Why...because we liked Saddam? No of course not. even with that uneasy alliance we tried to temper his actions but only so much...we still needed the land base.

When the Soviet Union collapsed the cold war ended. In the aftermath were a lot of conflicts, a lot of dead folks, a lot of wars un-fought, a lot of politics. In every struggle people suffered and for them it was/is hard to grasp why. It is hard for most here to grasp because we have this tendency to think locally and not globally.

Where we struggled (and the same is in Iraq) is in what we do with the peace-the aftermath. There are a lot of bitter angry people that dont like the fact that they were stepped on by two titans fighting a greater war. They dont see what the result would have been had the one not defeated the other. When you are in the middle of it it is hard to see the big picture.

I know this is a very brief outline of the big picture and each conflict was far more complex, but the struggle of the ages came down to a battle of wills between democracy and communism.

When people are picking sides, maybe it helps to see who was the appressor...who was trying to conquer the world and who was trying to take a noble stand for the good of all mankind. Or put another way...last I checked we havent tried to conquer Mexico or Canada lately...I wonder if their neighbor was the Soviet Union they would have been so lucky.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here:

I think it is a fair assumption that the people who had war the most are those that fight it.

Before seeing "Flags of our Fathers", I have decided to read the book.

If the movie depicts just a fourth of the violence that was the battle of Iwo Jima, then I don't want to see it.

The author's father, "Doc" Bradley never told his family about the war. They only found out about it after his death. His son's search for answers is how the book happened.

He was a true hero, a Navy Cross winner and one of the Flag Raisers at Iwo.

Out of the 6 flag raisers, he was the only one that lived to an old age.

He lived the war once and chose not to do it again.

Was he a pacifist? Not that I can tell.

MASH is fiction based on some actual events. It is escapest. It pokes fun during a time of Horror.

It is not MASH that has caused our pathetic support of the real war we are waging, it is history repeating itself.

The pacifism we see now is just a reapeat of WWI, WW II, Korea, and Viet Nam.

It just gets played by the media 24,7.

We are creatures of comfort here in the US. We have been blessed with much and it is now expected.

Lysis, I do think you give MASH too much credit. The success of our pacifism belongs in the halls of congress.

Non-Binding Resolution.....Give me a BREAK.

Have a great day!!!!

Lysis said...

Father Mulchay’s song:

"There's no one singing war songs now like people used to do,
No "Over There," no "Praise the Lord," no "Glory Hallelu."
Perhaps at last we've asked ourselves what we should have asked before,
With the pain and death this madness brings, what were we ever singing for?"

Dan;

Perhaps I can try to answer Father Mulchay’s question.

I won’t deal with all the wars, just a sample.

In the Revolution we were fighting for independence from a tyrant who set aside our basic human rights in order to enrich and empower his government. As the Declaration of Independence states, we fought for the unalienable right to consent to our own government, and for our basic human liberties of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In the Civil War we were fighting to end Slavery, and to preserve the Union. 600,000 Americans died, as Abraham Lincoln said, so that government of, by and for the people would not perish fro the earth. We were fighting, as the song say: to be as he who died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.

In World War One we fought to end a war, stalemated and murdering millions, a war that had opened the door to Communism, and to the use of weapons of mass destruction. We fought to make a world safe for Democracy.

In World War Two we fought to save the world from totalitarian dictators and raciest murderers in the form of German Arians and Japanese’s Imperialists. We fought because we were attacked and because Hitler unchecked would have consumed us all, would have extinguished not only liberty but the life and happiness of all mankind.

In Korea we fought for the freedom of a noble and needy people, we fought to stop the insidious spread of Communism whose stated purpose was world domination and the forced compliance to a system of lies that could and can only be maintained by the complete destruction of human rights and opportunities; by terror and death. A demonstrably failed system that brings unlimited power to despots and unlimited death to those who would be free. See the effects of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho, Kim and Castro.

In Vietnam we fought for similar goals, side by side with the people of South Vietnam, people who, like ourselves, deserved liberty, life, and property, and who were willing to help us draw the line on Communist aggression. When we failed them, they died by the millions and remain is slavery to this day.

In Iraq we fight to stem the growth of the Islamic Terrorist Caliphate. A world wide ideology of death and tyranny that seeks a super state and weapons of mass destruction with which to dominate mankind and destroy pluralism, freedom, government by consent of the governed, and the pursuit of all happiness that does not conscribe to the limited and fanatical interpretation of the Koran; a philosophy that calls for the destruction of the West.

We sang in all these just conflicts to raise our spirits in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, to call upon God and our own souls to rally in defense of justice. We sang to build support and camaraderie, to let our enemies know we stood together with our heroes in the face of the worst they could muster against them and us.

Years ago I saw a movie called Zulu. It recounts an historic event were a few hundred Welch soldiers stood against over 4000 Zulu warriors at a place called Rocks Drift. The Zulu warriors sang they battle song to threaten and dishearten the few, weary, and wounded Birts that stood against them. Then the young officer commanding asks one of the soldiers to sing for them. He begins the Welch anthem, *Men of Herlach*. As the rest of the soldiers join in the song, it became quit clear what they were singing for. They were singing for courage, to tie they struggle to the heroes of their past, to the spirit of their people. They sought in the words and rhythms the strength to give their all for their very survival. At the end of the day, it was the Zulu who went away.

The Mormon pioneers struggled out into the desert seeking freedom and life. As they went they sang *Come Come Ye Saints*. Perhaps, as they laid their loved ones in shallow graves in the wilderness, they could have explained to Father Mulchay’s why they sang.

My young men and women have been in the trenches, not of war, but of hard work, and cold, and broken waterlines, and seemingly unreachable deadlines. I can tell you and Father Mulchay why we sang. It was to give us strength to do what we had to do when we could not find it anywhere else.

Mulchay’s song and the message of the episode is that we never had anything worth singing for. America has reason and need to sing our paeans as our heroes go to war. MASH sought to cheapen those songs by the clever deception of putting their mock in the mouth of a character we thought we could trust. We could not; he was out to tell us that war is all madness and death with no reason but pain; he was out to MASH us.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

Thanks again for the prospective. We must always make our decisions based on the truth not on the propaganda.

Vegimatic;

You are of course right, MASH was not the disease – Apeasement is the purification, MASH was only a manifestation, the stink by which we should have known we were rotting.

truth to power said...

Yes, M*A*S*H gloried in the fact that America didn't sing for Korea or Vietnam. There's no question of what results the show's producers hoped for. My point remains that their sinister intentions and ugly message don't destroy the beauty of the medium.

Dan Simpson said...

You make a long list of things we fought for, great, you have aptly slain that straw man as no one spoke of 'what were we ever fighting for'.

I still think the song is poigniant and thought provoking.

I think the point of that episode, at least the point I gathered from it, is that for someone who lives through the death and destruction, that madness day in and day out. A song, is but a trite happy ditty in a situation that it does nothing to help.

I pointed out the power of those songs on the homefront, and in several episodes the group sings various songs (look it up on the internet there is a listing of every song ever sung on MASH) I remember fondly the song Keep the Homefires Burning, aka til the boys come home.

You are the one who has assigned the meaning to that song that you deride.

I have heard it at least as many times as any here, I never took from it what you or others here have.

I joked with TTP about what dirty Peaceniks we were becoming, darn MASH and its evil influence. I now don't support the war.

Lysis said...

Dan;

I think you read my post a bit hastily, or did not finish it. That is of course understandable; however, I did not present the” why we were fighting examples” to the exclusion of “why we were singing”, but as I feel I demonstrated in the closing paragraphs that as the REASON way we sang. This, I believe was the answer to the Mulchay character’s question expressed in his song. We were singing to support the fighting for the difficult but worth while goals each of those terrible conflicts defended.

The truth is that Mulchay’s meaning was indeed that there is no reason to sing because there is no reason to fight except, “the pain and death this madness brings”. But that obvious reasoning aside, there were plenty of reasons to sing.

If you didn’t read past the first few paragraphs above – please consider reading all of my comment.

Dan Simpson said...

I read the whole thing the first time.

My contention is there is a difference in the homefronts need for song. Song's effects on those of us unified in work at camp, song as put forth in that, not as good as you think it is movie, Zulu, and those who are soldiers in the battle.

I can understand why a soldier would find little or no solace in Over There, while he huddles in a trench wondering when he must go over the wall.

You see, to me, its a question of degree. Its all fine and good for us to look at the big picture. Of course those wars were worth fighting. There is no question in that.

But take it down to a more individual level. What would an 18 yr old in -insert war here- see as glorious or song worthy as he sits in mud/snow/sand, fearing for his life during the brief moments of terror that interrupt the hours of boredom.

Worldwide geopolitics aside. To the individual in the war, I can see all of those feelings coming up. Even if they believe in the cause, I can see them wonder, why are we singing a song about this stupid war. And yes, even when a war is just and necessary, I think it can be categorized as stupid, madness, chaos, regretable, and more importantly as 'all hell.'

In that situation, I can see an individual lamenting the fact they are there, if even for a moment. I can see them, even if they wholeheartedly support the greater cause, think of the futility of their own personal situation.

Is it something to revel in, no, but I don't think it is something wicked to show. I think it is thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

The theme song of MASH is the "siren call of the appeasers" and the "promise of the pacifists."
-Lysis

Well, if you believe that kind of RAVING boloney perhaps you should turn your face and not read . . . .

Through early morning fog I see,
Visions of the things to be,
The pains that are withheld for me,
I realize and I can see...

REFRAIN:

That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

I try fo find a way to make,
All our little joys relate.
Without that ever-present hate,
But now I know that it's too late, and...

REFRAIN:

The game of life is hard to play,
I'm gonna lose it anyway.
The losing card I'll someday lay,
So this is all I have to say.

REFRAIN:

The only way to win is cheat,
And lay it down before I'm beat,
And to another give my seat,
For that's the only painless feat.

REFRAIN:

The sword of time will pierce our skins.
It doesn't hurt when it begins,
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...

REFRAIN:

A brave man once requested me,
to answer questions that are key.
Is it to be or not to be?
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?'

REFRAIN:

"cause suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.

...And you can do the same thing if you choose.

The lyrics obviously have NOTHING to do with war or pacifism -- they are about personal angst and decisions of living in a world with so much pain, -- or not! Same as Hamlet's choice, "To be or not to be, that is the question." that is alluded to in the song.

In the movie, the song was sung for the unit's dentist who was suffering psychological impotence and wanted to end it all. He didn't, because he found a nurse to once again inspire and inflame his passions.

MASH the television show kept a few things from MASH the movie, two being the music and Radar O'reilly. To my knowledge ONLY the instrumental version was ever played for television . . . so those millions of indoctrinated viewers would have had to be CORRUPTED by seeing the movie MASH in which the music and lyrics had a leading role, or at worst, be guilty of degenerate "humming" for the eleven years of the television series.

But through the beady eyes of the Agora's PETTIFOGGING ZEALOT, THAT was enough to make them into PACIFISTS and APPEASERS.

With some certainty, it can be said that the music and Gary Burgoff were retained for television because producers wanted transference and some identity between the two, and for the economic success of one to be parlayed into success for the other -- MASH as movie or television was SUCCESSFUL because it was FUNNY!!!! Take the wit, irony, sarcasm and black humour out of MASH and it becomes a wall to wall FLOP. People tuned in and will continue to tune in, because they want to be entertained and have a few giggles, NOT because they like to exercise, or even SHOULD exercise Lysis' patriotic agenda by rinsing their minds with chest-thumping propaganda!!!!

Lysis said...

Dan:
Are you aware of the origin of the song we call Taps? This prayer, set to the call to rest, became one of the most popular pieces of music on the Civil War Battle field. The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and even Dixie, were popular songs song around many a battlefield campfire by soldiers seeking motivation and inspiration. In both World Wars, Silent Night, was a comfort along the front to both armies. Many another tune about the Kaiser and Hitler, (one that talks about the number of his balls), might not carry well here in the Agora, but they were important sources for moral building among troops seeking to express and moderate the very feelings you have described.

You say:
“We shouldn't forget that war is all hell. No matter our reasons, just or not. No matter the cause, necessary or not. War is a horrible, ugly, regrettable thing. And for the individuals embroiled in it, there is no wonderful glorified whoopee. There are hours of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.”

And

“But take it down to a more individual level. What would an 18 yr old in -insert war here- see as glorious or song worthy as he sits in mud/snow/sand, fearing for his life during the brief moments of terror that interrupt the hours of boredom.”


Yes, war is Hell – but people who go into the mouth of hell for the freedom of others deserve more than the constant MASHing of their sacrifice for the titillation of those who, as you say, cannot begin to fathom their suffering.
I would add that the message of Mulchay’s song seems to have worked its magic on you. You seem to have decided that eighteen year olds, at least, cannot see more to their sacrifice than its stupidity.
The “Mulchay song episode” is only ONE example of the endless layers of propaganda that MASH smeared across the airwaves and now the cable lines these many years. How significant the effect has been can perhaps be gauged in the number of posters here in the Agora that are determined to defend a T.V. show while a majority in congress isn’t even willing to defend our freedom.


Flaccid; here’s a little ditty you ought to learn.


The Star-Spangled Banner
—Francis Scott Key, 1814
“O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Perhaps you find inspiration in the “painless nature of suicide”, I find it a disparaging message to a society and culture locked in a battle for the cause of Justice.

Rumpole said...

Mind Mechanic,

I always enjoy your perspective. I know it’s probably difficult to carry on a discussion when I’m involved. I’m sorry I can’t post any quicker than I do.

But let’s return to your perspective. I would concur, we fought to win in WWI and WWI. I would also agree that strategies changed in Korea and Viet Nam. Apparently our opinion departs when we consider Hawk-Eye Pierce and the rest of the M*A*S*H’s cast’s view on Korea and Viet Nam.

Pierce wasn’t frustrated about America’s tactics for victory; he was frustrated that America was even there at all.

America certainly played politics at home during both wars, as she is today; however, Pierce was never on the side of those who wanted to secure freedom for an oppressed people. Pierce was Jack Murtha. Pierce was John Kerry. Pierce was Hanoi Jane.

You post: “I want to stress this...Korea and Vietnam WERE worthy wars to fight. What bothers me is that we didn’t fight them.”

Yes! And the cast of M*A*S*H portrayed those who did not want to fight!

I apologize for missing the words to the good Father’s diddy; however, the correct words to his song serve only to reinforce my position. The correct words are even more poignant in pointing out the use of Father Mulchahey to set the hook. The only straw man here is the one who swallows the hook that the portrayal of song is meaningless.

Lysis’ words are worth reading again “We sang in all these just conflicts to raise our spirits in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, to call upon God and our own souls to rally in defense of justice. We sang to build support and camaraderie, to let our enemies know we stood together with our heroes in the face of the worst they could muster against them and us.”

And more importantly “Mulchay’s song and the message of the episode is that we never had anything worth singing for. America has reason and need to sing our paeans as our heroes go to war. MASH sought to cheapen those songs by the clever deception of putting their mock in the mouth of a character we thought we could trust. We could not; he was out to tell us that war is all madness and death with no reason but pain; he was out to MASH us.”

Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq are worthy wars to fight. What bothers me is that we listened, and are listening, to those who would not fight them.

Vegamatic,

You always add great insight to the discussion. Perhaps M*A*S*H did begin as “escapist”, as you suggest. Most shows from Hollywood do. Call me cynical, however, when I suggest to you that there is typically a turning point to the escape when the producers realize the power they have generated with their audience.

I’ll cite two quick examples. After my first child with Down Syndrome was born, a show appeared on TV call “Life Goes On.” The main thrust of the show was about the travails of the family in dealing with “Corky”. I loved the show until the season that the thrust of the show changed. The producers were open about the change. They wanted to discuss AIDS, and openly admitted and promoted their new agenda.

My point here has nothing to do with the worthy cause of preventing AIDS. I turned off the TV because I was not interested in agenda. I was interested in escape. Apparently, most of the audience agreed. The show was cancelled shortly after.

#2. I loved watching E.R. Then, again in the promotion of an agenda, the show took one of the main characters and made her a lesbian. There went the escape. I’m not interested in agenda; however, in this case the audience apparently was, and E.R. still lives.

I’m not familiar enough with the episodes of M*A*S*H to offer where the turning point form “escape” to “agenda” could have been. But M*A*S*H definitely had agenda.

I agree we have probably given M*A*S*H too much credit in the M*A*S*Hing of America, but that does not diminish the application and visibility of propaganda that was designed to manipulate.

Anonymy,

Again, you have also added to the discussion. You post “People tuned in and will continue to tune in, because they want to be entertained and have a few giggles.”

That makes perfect sense. That is the power of the medium. I acknowledge that I see that power taken one step further. If you can provide a few laughs and create an escape, then you have opportunity to throw in a little agenda, even “chest thumping propaganda.”

Dan Simpson said...

"You seem to have decided that eighteen year olds, at least, cannot see more to their sacrifice than its stupidity."

Never said that. If you want to argue, use my arguments, don't piece separate words from separate paragraphs and make a new argument.

Your argumentation is annoyingly predictable. If I don't give in, you claim that the fact I don't give in proves your point.

If thats what you want to think, fine, I still love the show.

truth to power said...

You just proved his point. Look what M*A*S*H did to you!

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

I dont mind the pace of discussion and I enjoy the opportunity to discuss issues. Your posts provide opportunities for people to read and form opinions and usually, those opinions expand beyond the original posting.

To your post...

Apparently our opinion departs when we consider Hawk-Eye Pierce and the rest of the M*A*S*H’s cast’s view on Korea and Viet Nam.

I saw Hawkeye as a very human character. The movie version of Hawkeye is incorrigible...without guile. The TV version is mortal, weak, fallible. I look to the many episodes where Hawkeye presses his sexual prowess and gets shot down in flames. He comes across more often than not as a clumsy Don Quixote or Shakespeare's Falstaff.


"Pierce wasn’t frustrated about America’s tactics for victory; he was frustrated that America was even there at all."

Absolutely! The character Hawkeye Pierce was a doctor. He wasnt a soldier, he wasnt military. He saw a steady stream of bloodied young men and no end in sight. He was angry, he was scared, he was depressed. He resented being separated from his little town in Maine and from being near his father. He sought refuge in alcohol, dark humor, and casual sexual relations. The life of a MASH doctor was long periods of boring loneliness followed by intense blood baths.

Pierce never pretended to BE a soldier. He gave voice to many people that couldnt answer that very same question...why are we here.

"Pierce was never on the side of those who wanted to secure freedom for an oppressed people. Pierce was Jack Murtha. Pierce was John Kerry. Pierce was Hanoi Jane."

I disagree. Pierce was Hawkeye Pierce. He didnt use the war to seek political gain. He just wanted it to end and he wanted to go home.

You may remember seeing me write that I respect Susan Sarandon for the consistency of her position. She opposed the war in Serbia as she did the war in Iraq. I disagree with her. i think she is foolish and naive and wrong. But I respect her opinion. Just as I can see the value of Hawkeye Pierce.

"You post: “I want to stress this...Korea and Vietnam WERE worthy wars to fight. What bothers me is that we didn’t fight them.”

Yes! And the cast of M*A*S*H portrayed those who did not want to fight!"

And they made NO pretense about it.

Lysis said...

Dan;

I have not pieced separate word from separate paragraphs, you said in a complete paragraph above:

“But take it down to a more individual level. What would an 18 yr old in -insert war here- see as glorious or song worthy as he sits in mud/snow/sand, fearing for his life during the brief moments of terror that interrupt the hours of boredom.”

You are the one that implies through your question, even as Mulchay implies through his. And what you imply is that an 18 yr old is not capable of seeing anything glorious or song worthy as he sits in the mud/snot/sand, fearing for his life. I disagree, I think that 18 year old as well as older and younger people are capable of seeing the need for which they suffer and are capable of seeing solace, encouragement, and expression in song; because the poetry can express the things they understand they are fighting for. I give them credit for the deliberate decisions they are capable of making even when they are afraid, you MASH them into quivering automatons, fighting, perhaps killing out of fear or reflex; incapable of vocalizing their aspirations and purposes.

Whether Truth to Power actually agrees or not, the fact remains that MASH reduced soldiers to unthinking boy killers with nothing worth singing for, and so have you.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

Thank you for contributing to our rough and tumble discussions here at the Agora. I do believe we have markedly different ideas about Hawkeye, but the quotes you discuss and challenge are RUMPOLE’S, not mine.

I would reiterate the position I took in my response to Vegimatic. I do not think MASH was the cause of our desertion of the people of Vietnam. It served rather to salve the consciences of those whose actions led to so much death and sorrow. Mash was not the disease, it was the stench of the putrefaction that accompanied the real pathogen of Appeasement; it is not the sole cause of America’s contemplation of suicide, but it surely does contribute to the atmosphere.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

Sorry...sometimes all these comments get jumbled.

"It served rather to salve the consciences of those whose actions led to so much death and sorrow. Mash was not the disease, it was the stench of the putrefaction that accompanied the real pathogen of Appeasement"

MASH didnt cause "death and sorrow." Our political leaders lack of clarity on cold war politics caused it. Our political leaders use of the military as a tool of politics and not war caused it. Our political leaders using war as a means of accumulating political power caused it. Our political leaders current insistence on playing politics continues to keep young men and women caught in the crossfire. Our political leaders insistence on political gamesmanship keeps our nation divided and our military efforts suffer because of it. Our nations political leaders give comfort, support, and credence to our enemies and our military suffers.

Its understandable to hate war...we all should. It is unrealistic to think we shouldnt fight wars. It is just plain wrong to place young men in the line of fire and not give them a mandate to get in and get the job done.

Look at Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan our military mission was clear and exact. We got in...won the war, pressed the peace and had positive results. At first the left hated that we went to Afghanistan and protested it...right up until we went into Iraq. Now their mantra is "we should not have abandoned the fight in Afghanistan." Pure politics.

In Iraq, we went in...won the war, pressed for peace and had positive results. Our politicians have from day one decry's the war effort sending messages around the globe of their fear that our soldiers would be coming home by the tens of thousands in body bags (Thanks, Ted Kennedy!). Anyone DOESNT think that kind of talk emboldens our enemies? We remained divided with the very democrats that PROMOTED Clintons actions re Iraq and WMDs now denying the ever existed and showing the world and our enemies just how politically divided we are. Anyone think THAT doesnt embolden our enemies? In the name of politics we call murderers and terrorists insurgents and freedom fighters (Way to go Harkin! Way to go Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi, Russ Feingold!) anyone think it ISNT devastating to our effort there having our nations opposition party being the terrorists lead cheerleader?

Nothing has changed in this country. If anything, it has gotten worse. Our military can do any mission we ask them to. Unfortunately the politics of America sends them in hobbled and with one hand tied behind their back.

The pacifist movement of today is a fringe group of extremists. They are 60's remnants and Hollywood socialist hypocrites. The only power they have is the power extended to them by a media that is equally corrupt, and political figures that pander to them.

Hollywood figures with multimillion dollar mansions and 7 digit annual incomes stand in front of microphones and bemaon the excess of big business and the media treats them like they actually give a damn. They hold social gala's where their mere attendance merits gift bags worth more than most people make each year, then they have the chutzpah to stand in front of microphones and talk about conservatives and their lack of care and support. During peacetime they spit on the military and during wartime they claim they actually care about the military and the media sells it and the country eats it up with a spoon. We dont need a royal family, we have Hollywood.

I realize this is somewhat of a rant, but THESE are the people that represent the modern 'peace' movement. Socialist appeasers...rich fools that travel to Cuba, meet Castro, get led around by their noses to only the best places (because even communist USSR had palaces for the elite) and then come back to America and promote Cuba as this beacon of progress. These morons who went to Iraq and put themselves in Saddams hands...listened to his stories, stayed in his palaces and then came back told these horrid tales of how the Bush administrations policies on Iraq were causing people to starve and children to die without meds. OF COURSE they didnt go there for the 8 years Clinton enacted the very policies that they then complained about.

Fools. Clowns. Morons. Pacifists (and not even pacifists because MOST of them where fine with Clintons numerous military strikes on Iraq and with his war on Serbia, which makes them only pacifists of convenience). Hypocrites. And the only power they have is that which is granted them.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

I know of your love of country and I know of your love for your children. We both agree that MASH was far more about VietNam than it was Korea. With that in mind...

How would you have felt if your son was drafted into a war...a war in which he was going to be forced into combat but under certain rules of engagement. A war in which he couldnt fire until he was fired on and sometimes not even then. A war in which he was told he could defeat the enemy and drive them back to a certain point but then had to stop, and retreat back to a set coordinate and allow the enemy to regroup and come at them again (an enemy BTW which had waves and waves of men that didnt value human life). A war in which his political leaders wouldnt ALLOW victory. A war in which most of the civilians around him hated him as much as did the enemy. A war which was un-winnable, but only because of politics.

Would that not make you consider pacifism?

What if your son came home without a leg, or in a box...knowing that he was sent in certain places to be a tripwire...wouldnt that make you be a little bit opposed to war? What if every day you heard politicians on one side denying the validity of our very presence...those same politicians that had touted our presence mere months earlier? What if you saw constant portrayals of our soldiers as criminals and murderers, fighting a war for people that despised them...wouldnt that make you less enthusiastic for your sons involvement?

Please understand...this is coming from a career military man and not a pacifist. (I only point this out for perspective...not to toot a horn). Every male in my family since our presence in this country in 1887 has joined the military. 'I' don't want my sons engaged in war. 'I' don't want my sons joining and being sent into battle under todays conditions. It isn't that I don't see the need and don't see the value. It isn't that I don't believe in the military and our mission. It is because I don't trust our political leaders to give us the tools we need to do the job. It is because I do believe that unless we are united our troops will suffer and pay the price for our folly. I am left today offering this counsel to my sons...if you join, join the Coast Guard or the Navy. Or even the Air Force.

I do not trust our politicians. Either side.

I dont find them worthy of my sons life.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! -- "Star Spangled Banner".

In 1966, at basic training, every recruit learned the "Star Spangled Banner" -- even though most knew the first verse, there we learned ALL the verses!!!!

On what battlefield, did YOU sing the Star Spangled Banner????

Or were you counted among those who staid at home, but also learned to sing????

Anonymous said...

MM
In spite of our considerable past and probably future hostilities, I want to acknowledge and HONOR your last posting -- it was written from the heart and HONORS the whole forum!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lysis:
Let's review:
You claimed that the MASH lyrics were "pacifistic and appeasing."

I posted the lyrics for all to see that they had NOTHING to do with WAR, PACIFISM or APPEASEMNT -- and what is more, were never "sung" on the television show.

Also, I pointed out that the theme of suicide was the focus of the lyrics and NOT pacifism or appeasement -- suicide was relevant to a blackly humorous scene in the MOVIE that accounts a doctor's dispair over his impotence -- still no pacifism or appeasement.

I never advocated suicide nor do I belive that the lyrics to the song advocate suicide either. "Suicide is Painless" is black irony that acknowleges how painful EVERYTHING is INCLUDING suicide, and that living or dying, the human condition is PAINFUL (which is also very similar to Hamlet's soliloquy on the subject).

Personally, I do not think the lyrics the best poetry, but I do like the tune. I think, the producer/director of the movie thought the lyrics linked to the ridiculous suicide attempt by the dentist and therefore had relevance.

Though, I wonder which came first -- I think they liked the tune and created the suicide interlude for the lyrics.

Now, Lysis posts the "Star Spangled Banner" as a DIVERSION from his earlier silly arguments, hoping that his EXEMPLARY PATRIOTISM (what valor in his tying) will hide his feeble arguments!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

When the dust settles we are all just people and we have more in common than I think any of us sometimes cares to admit.

I think all good people want the same thing...we just disagree with how we make that happen.

So...

I accept your gracious comment assuming we are VERY clear that it is not one man, one party, or one ideology that is the problem...it is partisanship and party mentalities and this insane thirst for power that harms us all.

And of course...I look forward to future skirmishes with you as well!

;-)

Anonymous said...

That is tyPing, NOT tying.
No valor in my typing either!!!!

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic:

I concur with the tenor of your indictment of those who send our people to war and then vote not to support them, who claim to support the troops, and then condemn the “war” they are fighting in as illegal and unjust. Your arguments are powerful and solid and I appreciate that you would share them with us all.

I remain am despondent at a nation which makes a joke out of war, and mocks the very forces that give it freedom. I suppose you have heard of this Arkin fellow whom Bill O’Reilly is on about; a supposedly credentialed NBC news man and opinionist for the Washington Post, who describes American service men and women in Iraq as mercenaries.? This is one of the drumbeat themes of the TV show MASH. Shoot, even Radar shipped home a jeep. Perhaps Arkin assumed too much, perhaps he imagined that an America willing to laugh at Hawkeye would be willing to accept his claim that American soldiers were really in Iraq for money.

Anonymous:

I do believe that the powerful moving words of our national anthem motivate and inspire those who sacrifice for America. I will post a description of an incident later, to support my position. However, next to those who mock the service of Soldiers at the battle front, I am most offended by those who take it upon themselves to mock Americans, who, although safe at home, take up the cause of defending the military and America with whatever tools are at their disposal.

Dan Simpson said...

"I think that 18 year old as well as older and younger people are capable of seeing the need for which they suffer "

What I said didn't disagree with this. I expressly pointed out that one can find 'war' itself stupid, and know why it has to be done. And know that your duty is honorable and right. These are two different things.

Knowing what you did was right does not equate to wanting to write a song about it to glorify the deed.

I have someone quite close to me who was a green beret in Vietnam. He doesn't like to talk about it. Its not that he is ashamed, not by any stretch of the imagination. He knows what he did, and why he did it. I honor him for that. But I know he would have no desire to glorify his deeds in song. I also know that he gets emotional when he hears the song "The Green Beret". Most find it a cheesy song from the 60's 70's, but to him it has deep meaning.

This further proves my point. Even at different stages in life one may see songs about war differently, even when their opinion of war has not changed. Some may want/need that Over There encouragement as they ship off to war. Some may find it trite and stupid as they prepare to go over the wall. Who knows what an individual in that situation would think or feel. I know that I personally don't.

But I do think it is possible, and thus the situation on the show is thought provoking.

I in no way mean that every soldier feels the same. But you see, that is my very point. You claim that I paint every soldier with the same brush, a degrading brush. I say that each is different, and I don't think it hard to believe that some think/thought that 'war anthems' are/were stupid.

You are the one who says soldiers, such as I describe, are frightened 18 year olds unable to comprehend what they are fighting for. I never said or implied that.

There is no dishonor in being scared. It does not mean you don't know the importance of the task.

"you MASH them into quivering automatons, fighting, perhaps killing out of fear or reflex; incapable of vocalizing their aspirations and purposes."

Again, you label my argument without really understanding it (or if you do understand it, you are deliberatly misconstruing it). I know you find it incredibly enjoyable to argue, you love a good argument. But I find it frustrating when you manufacture one so that you can have one.

I claim that SOME soldiers may have felt or feel that way. They may find war anthems demeaning to the effort, and innappropriate considering the horrors they have to face. That does not make them cowards, automatons, or idiots incapable of understanding the importance of their work.

You know how I feel about this country, soldiers, this war, etc.. The type of accusations you through around so blithely in debates such as these (I expect for dramatic affect) demeans the discussion itself.

I feel like Henry Fonda on Twelve Angry Men, asking again and again, don't you think its even possible? Everyone watching the movie knows its POSSIBLE, but all the other jurors just refuse to admit that even though they disagree, there is a possibility.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

I hadnt heard of William Arkin until you mentioned him. I'm not a big O'Reilly watcher (or talk show listener). Now that you did bring him up, I am glad you did. I am also glad he wrote what he did...it exposes him and those that will rise to defend him. It exposes the underlying arrogance and disdain for the military. The more people like him come out on the open the better as far as I'm concerned.

The radical left is a lot like the Al Qaida leadership. Every once in a while they feel safe enough to poke their heads out of their little holes and spew their venom then crawl back underground. The more exposure they get, the more mainstream America see's them for who they are.

The recent anti war demonstrations are a prime example. A little hit and run action, reported on in a totally slanted and biased way and then they scuttle back into the darkness.

If they stayed out any longer the public might have gotten to see all the communist flags being displayed, the anti-American slogans and booths, useful idiots wearing their revolution t-shirts and praising people like Che Gueverra, Castro, Lenin, and Stalin.

If they stayed out longer attention might have been drawn to the sponsors of the rally...the world communist organizations, the "world workers party", and all the anti-American influences that seek to undermine not the war effort but our very government and the foundation of our economic success as individuals and a country.

Yeah...I feel your frustration...I feel it to.

MindMechanic said...

The Munich Pact

Agreement concluded at Munich, September 29, 1938, between Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy

GERMANY, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, taking into consideration the agreement, which has been already reached in principle for the cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory, have agreed on the following terms and conditions governing the said cession and the measures consequent thereon, and by this agreement they each hold themselves responsible for the steps necessary to secure its fulfilment:

(1) The evacuation will begin on 1st October.

(2) The United Kingdom, France and Italy agree that the evacuation of the territory shall be completed by the 10th October, without any existing installations having been destroyed, and that the Czechoslovak Government will be held responsible for carrying out the evacuation without damage to the said installations.

(3) The conditions governing the evacuation will be laid down in detail by an international commission composed of representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia.

(4) The occupation by stages of the predominantly German territory by German troops will begin on 1st October. The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order:

The territory marked No. I on the 1st and 2nd of October; the territory marked No. II on the 2nd and 3rd of October; the territory marked No. III on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of October; the territory marked No. IV on the 6th and 7th of October. The remaining territory of preponderantly German character will be ascertained by the aforesaid international commission forthwith and be occupied by German troops by the 10th of October.

(5) The international commission referred to in paragraph 3 will determine the territories in which a plebiscite is to be held. These territories will be occupied by international bodies until the plebiscite has been completed. The same commission will fix the conditions in which the plebiscite is to be held, taking as a basis the conditions of the Saar plebiscite. The commission will also fix a date, not later than the end of November, on which the plebiscite will be held.

(6) The final determination of the frontiers will be carried out by the international commission. The commission will also be entitled to recommend to the four Powers, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in certain exceptional cases, minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination of the zones which are to be transferred without plebiscite.

(7) There will be a right of option into and out of the transferred territories, the option to be exercised within six months from the date of this agreement. A German-Czechoslovak commission shall determine the details of the option, consider ways of facilitating the transfer of population and settle questions of principle arising out of the said transfer.

(8) The Czechoslovak Government will within a period of four weeks from the date of this agreement release from their military and police forces any Sudeten Germans who may wish to be released, and the Czechoslovak Government will within the same period release Sudeten German prisoners who are serving terms of imprisonment for political offences.

Munich, September 29, 1938.
ADOLF HITLER,
NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN,
EDOUARD DALADIER,
BENITO MUSSOLINI.

Appeasement works SO well. When will we ever learn? Korea, Viet Nam, today...you want peace? I mean REALLY want peace? Unite. Stand together. Get the job done.

This should transcend politics. If nothing else does...this should.

Lysis said...

Dan;

As I recall, Mr. Davis (the part portrayed by Henry Fonda in the Movie) did in the end sway the other eleven to his way of thinking. You are likewise dogged in your determination. However, I do not believe Junior #8 changed the minds of his colleagues by misrepresenting their arguments, as I feel you have mine.

You (not I) said:

“But take it down to a more individual level. What would an 18 yr old in -insert war here- see as glorious or song worthy as he sits in mud/snow/sand, fearing for his life during the brief moments of terror that interrupt the hours of boredom.”

I don’t see any justification for the position you NOW claim; that what you meant to imply was some soldiers, or even some eighteen year olds.

I did not challenge you on any claim made about soldiers, I said:

"You seem to have decided that eighteen year olds, at least, cannot see more to their sacrifice than its stupidity."

I then pointed out that:

“You [Dan] are the one that implies through your question, even as Mulchay implies through his. And what you imply is that an 18 yr old is not capable of seeing anything glorious or song worthy as he sits in the mud/snow/sand, fearing for his life. I disagree, I think that 18 year olds as well as older and younger people are capable of seeing the need for which they suffer and are capable of seeking solace, encouragement, and expression in song; because the poetry can express the things they understand they are fighting for.”

You claim:

“You [Lysis] are the one who says soldiers, such as I describe, are frightened 18 year olds unable to comprehend what they are fighting for. I never said or implied that.”

But you did. Your words are, “. . . fearing for his life during the brief moments of terror . . .” Since you are defending Mulchay’s ditty that implies we never had anything to sing for, and since the entire MASH mantra is the Korean War is not worth fighting or singing about and anyone dumb enough to believe it is should be mocked; I maintain that it is my position that is reasonable, not yours.

If you have changed your position to one of: “The war was worth fighting and many soldiers, including 18 year old ones, accepted that and may well have thought it wroth singing about”; well - then someone has been swayed.

I have also know many moved by the “Green Beret” song. Thank you for this example of a song worth singing. I can only surmise that those who understand its meaning appreciate its power, and probably would disagree with MASH on the value of someone’s writing such a song.

MindMechanic said...

Just where, exactly, has Hillary Clinton been on Iraq? And where is she going?

October 10, 2002- Hillary Clinton carefully weighed the opinions of her many advisers and strategists and reached the conclusion that the president ought to receive authorization to deal with Saddam Hussein.

In her speech on the Senate floor, Clinton gave a lengthy, detailed, and complex argument for ending the Hussein regime.

The facts, she said, "are not in doubt." Saddam was a "tyrant" who "tortured and killed his own people" and "used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians." Once a U.S. ally, Hussein became an enemy with his 1990 invasion of Kuwait. An American-led coalition had ended the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, but had not ended Saddam's tyranny. Indeed, he went on to Bill Clinton, and ejected U.N. weapons inspectors from Iraq in 1998. (not true-the UN inspectors were pulled out Iraq refused to let them back in).

"In the four years since the inspectors left," Sen. Clinton said, "intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program." Moreover, he had given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists," including "al Qaeda."

To vote to authorize force was "very difficult," Clinton said. In fact it was probably "the hardest decision I have ever had to make." But her vote was cast "with conviction."

The "authority to use force" was already present. It was "inherent in the original 1991 U.N. resolution," a fact that " President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998." The bottom line for Saddam was "disarm or be disarmed."

When Bush gave the order to commence the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Sen. Clinton continued to support the intervention. A few days into the war, at a press availability in Syracuse, she counseled patience. "I've never been one of those that thought this was going to be done in 24 [to] 48 hours as some people had suggested,"

"This is a very difficult undertaking in very treacherous terrain." Americans just have to stand united and make sure our men and women in uniform know that we're behind them."

By summer, Sen. Clinton began criticizing the Bush administration's intelligence-gathering methods. In June 2003, she told NPR's Juan Williams:

I want to know, who were we relying on? Who were the people giving us this information? Because this administration has taken a very aggressive posture. You know, they talk about preemption. Therefore, I'm concerned that when I'm given information, it is scrubbed and as accurate as it possibly can be, especially when I see an administration that is willing to go a little further perhaps to pursue what they view as appropriate means to achieve ends that I may or may not agree with."

Ummm...what happened to the previous stance that She was confident in all the intel she had seen since post Gulf War 1 to current? you know...

In September 2003, she told a group of reporters that "the intelligence from Bush 1 to Clinton to Bush 2 was consistent" on the question of Saddam's WMD capabilities. And more recently, in the New Yorker interview, she said that the Bush administration "believed, as I believed, that there was, at the very least, residual weapons of mass destruction, and whether the Iraqis ever intended to let the inspectors go forward was being answered year by year. There was a lot of evidence that this was not their intention."

Clinton visited Iraq for the first time that Thanksgiving. In a December 2003 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, she continued to defend the war. She acknowledged that she had voted to grant Bush the authority to use force and that her decision was controversial. "I have had many disputes and disagreements with the administration over how that authority has been used," she said, "but I stand by the vote to provide the authority." And "I also knew that our military forces would be successful." "We have no option but to stay involved and committed."

In April 2004, she said on CNN: "No, I don't regret giving the president authority" to topple the Iraqi government, "because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein has been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."

As the war entered its third year, Clinton remained hawkish. She was thrilled at the turnout in the Iraqi elections. And she recognized the global nature of the war on terror. For example, after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, she and 10 other senators, including 5 Republicans, called on President Bush to tighten sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria.

(these comments are cut and pasted but her words are EXACTLY as documented...)

AND THEN...

Along comes candidate Clinton, and since the anti-war left is criticizing her for her support of war...

well...

you know the drill.

Notice the evolution.
1-All in favor of Bills actions.
2-Ever the politician, showing she is hawkish and strong enough to be a president.
3-Cite over a decade of intel as her reasoning for supporting the war and voting. Citing WMDs, terrorism, sponsorship of terrorism, reign of terror on his won people, tyrant that brutalized the world.
4-Backpedalling and stating she only voted for the war because she was mislead by THIS administration.
5-Appeasing the leftist activist to make her a viable candidate for the democrats.

I just use Hillary because she is right now the lead democrat candidate for president. You can glean the same facts about every one of these lying hypocritical democrats that are or will subvert the war in Iraq for political gain.

THATS the political support for our troops. THATS why I get so angry and frustrated. Because they ARE lying. And troops ARE dying. And it isnt a mistake, it isnt an accident, and it isnt bad intelligence...it is deliberate politics.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis AND Dan...

dont mean to step into the fray...
well...of course...I do actually...

"If you have changed your position to one of: “The war was worth fighting and many soldiers, including 18 year old ones, accepted that and may well have thought it wroth singing about”; well - then someone has been swayed."

This is another one where I think you guys are bumping heads as two sides of the same coin.

The fictional Father Mulcahey's song, sung correctly, may well have been the ditty being played out in the mind of EVERY soldier in Korea and VietNam (though I suspect more in VietNam than Korea). With rainfall, buddies dying, bombs exploding, bullets whizzing by their ears, attacking coordinates with no strategic impact only to give them back the next day, etc etc etc, I think it entirely likely that 18 year old draftee (or grozzled old career soldier) might very well just wonder "what WERE we singing for???"

"Over There?" They WERE over there and it was hell.

"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" was certainly a stirring song and sure...we would all be free for our actions. But we WERE free werent we? And the people we were helping didnt seem to care all that much...

The actual phrase from the song...

"Perhaps at last we've asked ourselves what we should have asked before,
With the pain and death this madness brings, what were we ever singing for?"

...does that REALLY have to mean Father Mulcahey was saying there was no reason to fight or that war was useless? Couldnt it just as easily have meant why on EARTH are we singing rousing songs about bloody battles?

And of COURSE I know the answer and you have given great examples Lysis...we sing as everyone has for ages, to give us courage, to inspire us, to make tedious tasks lighter, and to provide unity.

Couldnt you BOTH be right? Couldnt a TV priest bemoan the loss of life in ALL wars? And couldnt the soldiers have been thinking the same thing?

Either way...I suspect singing at camp this year will take on a whole new meaning.

Cameron said...

MM,

I think it was you who posted earlier concerning the thin line the US was walking in Korea and Vietnam. It was apparent that the USSR and China had a great interest in communism spreading. The US of course did not want that to occur. So in Korea we were there fighting, but we didn't want to fight too hard because that would pull the USSR and others into the fray (at least openly) which would result in even nastier wars.

So how is that reconciled with the disdain for politicians using the army for politics? Should we have just gone in with guns blazing and taken over all of Korea, despite the fact that it could cause WWIII?

Anonymous said...

MM Sez...

Cameron...

You pose a GREAT question.

"So how is that reconciled with the disdain for politicians using the army for politics? Should we have just gone in with guns blazing and taken over all of Korea, despite the fact that it could cause WWIII"

Imagine how the military people felt (feel)...they actually thought they were being sent to WIN a war.

The soldiers in Iraq today are feeling it. I have said it forever...the only common thread with Iraq and VietNam is how our politicians and the liberal left behaved. Today, while our politicians use disunity for power, the military (and their families) are the ones left suffering. I PROMISE...if the politicians came together and committed to leaving the war out of the political arena and just committed to winning, Iraq would be stabilized in months, not years.

As for how they SHOULD have done it...

First start with what they SHOULDNT have done. They shouldnt have engaged US troops in a war they had no intention of winning. They shouldnt have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives. The military oath says nothing about offering yourself as a sacrifice because your politicians cant figure out how to combat an enemy.

I know it is arrogant and hindsight, but if we were committed in the 50's in Korea and the 60's in VietNam then we should have just by damn fought the war to win it. Every strategic target in North Korea should have been levelled. China and the Soviets Should have been warned directly...stay out of it or else. And they wouldnt have liked the "or else" part.

Now...would that have worked? Likely. What we learned about the USSR is that their goal of world conquest largely depended on lessons they learned from Hitler. Dont overextend yourself. Dont challenge an enemy you arent sure you can beat.

The leaders of the Soviets relied on America to destroy itself from within. Nikita himself stated the doctrine as clearly as can be said...our "useful idiots" will be our own undoing.

When Kennedy called the USSR's bluff during the Cuban missile crisis, the USSR blinked. The fact is they had enough nuclear weaponry to fight to a standstill but lacked the conventional weaponry and resources to win. China had a decent military but they were for the most part landlocked. Any war we fought against them would be on their land and if we demonstrated commitment to win by obliterating North Korea's war making capabilities, I highly doubt they would have engaged.

Hindsight. Hindsight and arrogance. I get it.

The thing is...today I think we can afford to be honest. Today we can admit that what we did was for a greater good and the world benefitted, even if a lot of people got squashed in the process.

Anonymous said...

In a free society citizens can sing patriotic songs all they want, but what HONORS the country is NOT the NOISE and clamour of shouting, oaths, singing and the MOUTH HONOR that many REVEL in as the finest patriotism, simply because that's all THEY have been good for.

Patriotism requires more than getting hoarse singing all the verses of the "Star Spangled" Banner -- in fact, a GREAT American Patriot need not know the Anthem at all!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

What?

Rumpole said...

Mind Mechanic,

As always, I enjoy the discussion. I’d certainly like to continue.

You have written “Pierce was Hawkeye Pierce.” Here, again, we disagree. Pierce was certainly not Hawkeye Pierce. Pierce was what the writers of M*A*S*H molded him to be. Pierce was Alan Alda. Alda wrote and directed several episodes of M*A*S*H.

As TTP said “There's no question of what results the show's producers hoped for. My point remains that their sinister intentions and ugly message don't destroy the beauty of the medium.” Your suggestion that “Pierce was Hawkeye Pierce” is a great example of how successful the writers were in the “medium.”

The Anonomy later lauded your post about the draft, as do I, it was excellent; while I don’t think you intended this, you articulated far more clearly than I ever could have a great example of the M*A*S*Hing of America.

In the just wars of Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq politicians at home were (and are) playing politics with the success of the battles. Politicians that suggest things like; don’t shoot here, don’t be mean to someone over there, heck, what are we over there for? Let’s just all go home and forget it!

The attitudes portrayed on M*A*S*H certainly played their role in those politics. Again, to borrow from TTP, “There's no question of what results the show's producers hoped for. My point remains that their sinister intentions and ugly message don't destroy the beauty of the medium.”

Jay Hess, a POW of almost six years in Viet Nam came and spoke to our scout troop tonight. He related an experience from those years in captivity.

Major Hess had been moved from the Hanoi Hilton to Dogpatch. While incarcerated there, the North Vietnamese fed him mostly grass, which they boiled.

Apparently thinking that the grass was not enough to keep the prisoners alive, the captors generously added a little oil to the water as they boiled the grass. Major Hess created a vessel to save that oil, and when the grass was brought to him he scraped off the oil and saved it. He saved three or four drops at a time.

He saved the oil in the hope of having enough to burn for a short period of time so that he could have some light in his cell.

Finally, after he had saved enough oil, he called to the guard and asked him to light the oil. The guard refused. After three or four days of asking, the guard relented, and lit the oil for him.

As he stood in that cell, looking at the beautiful light, the hymn “The Lord is My Light” came to him.

Too bad John Francis Patrick Mulchahey wasn’t there to straighten him out.

Lysis said...

Rumpole;

I just wonder if you think Major Hess resents those of us who, although we never went to war, never suffered in a prison camp; still shout, sing, and swear our allegiance to our country.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

Come on now...you have to fight fair. You cant say "Pierce was Jack Murtha. Pierce was John Kerry. Pierce was Hanoi Jane"

...and then refute my "Pierce was Pierce" response with "Pierce was certainly not Hawkeye Pierce. Pierce was what the writers of M*A*S*H molded him to be." What the writers molded him to be WAS Hawkeye Pierce and Lsysi...they NEVER made any bones about it...even those years when you were a fan.

I dont get the next part..."As TTP said “There's no question of what results the show's producers hoped for."

...because obviously, right here in our happy assembly we have differing opinions as to the shows intent and meaning. I have read Altmans intent. I have read Gelbarts thoughts on the show. I've read interviews from the cast ranging from Radar, to Kelly, to Hotlips, to Klinger, to Mulcahy, to BJ and even to Alda (oh what you do to me, Lysis...I REALLY didnt have time for all that...).

NOWHERE do I find ANY indication of their "sinister intentions and ugly message"

So...what you must mean is that to those who have the psychic insight and wisdom (meaning you and a few others) to know the real truth not what was really going on in the devious little minds of the sinister evil men that wrote the program and the rest of you (meaning of course me) fools are too blind to get it.

"Your suggestion that “Pierce was Hawkeye Pierce” is a great example of how successful the writers were in the “medium.”

I guess that clarifies my position as a fool then.

"you articulated far more clearly than I ever could have a great example of the M*A*S*Hing of America."

Please...dont give MASH the credit for my positions. I take full responsibility for my thoughts, my words, and my positions. I donty study at the feet of Alda. I have a tendency to dig a little deeper than the influences offered by a Hollywood liberal.

That my position happens to be right (this time) is just a pleasant little side benefit. ;-)

"In the just wars of Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq politicians at home were (and are) playing politics with the success of the battles. Politicians that suggest things like; don’t shoot here, don’t be mean to someone over there, heck, what are we over there for? Let’s just all go home and forget it!
The attitudes portrayed on M*A*S*H certainly played their role in those politics."

No, Lysis...they didnt. Cold war politics, the Korean war and and even VietNam was pretty well established long before MASH the TV show came along.

You can blame the influence of some of my dads examples for some of my mistakes, but you cant blame me for my dad stealing a car.

I dont know...maybe thats a bad example...but it seems to fit.

MASH did not cause the Korean or VietNam war...Korea and MASH and politicians sacrificing lives definitely influenced MASH.

BTW...to restate...I have no problem with the justification for fighting those wars. I DO have a BIG problem with how they fought them. I suspect you would too...especially if it was your sons forced to sacrifice limbs or even die on a mission that the politicians ensured would be a failure.

I honor Major Hess's service and his and his family's sacrifice. I respect every man and women in all branches of the military that has ever served...even those that were afraid. Even those that didnt want to be there. Even those that wondered what they were doing there.

I still respect your position...I just disagree.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic:

I could say "Pierce was Jack Murtha. Pierce was John Kerry. Pierce was Hanoi Jane"; but I didn’t. Once again you have confused my arguments with those of Rumpole.

But as you set up your defense of the benign nature of MASH based on the comments of those who pretreated it, let me caution you with a “story”.

As a boy I watched all most all the people around me, almost all the people I respected, smoked up a storm on their pipes and cigarettes. Shoot, even Harry Bailey smoked in his wonderful life. Ever day I heard the jingle, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” All America was taken in. Once we learned the truth most of us quit looking on cigarettes as something cool we would get to have when we grew up and saw them for what they were, coffin nails. Once we actually thought about it we no longer enjoyed the pleasant packaging and despised the hidden poison.

This is my reason in condemning MASH in spite of the endless testimonials in support of the program by those who got – or get – a buzz out of it.

Cigarettes can be judged by their effects in spite of anything that might have been said by those hawking the product. It is the same with MASH. Generations of Americans have been taking in, amused by the smuts and prates and heart warming moments. Now perhaps it is time to judge this TV show by its effects, not the promises and praises of those who promote its agenda.

I don’t give MASH credit for the challenges you present in your very well developed and clearly stated position; any more than I would give his cigarettes credit for Jimmy Stewart’s success as an actor.

MASH is no more than a stinking incidental in the story of American Appeasement, but it is surely one worthy of disdain by those who see it for what it was and is.

As to the real causes of American failure in Vietnam, the probable causes of our failure in Iraq, and the causes of our possible failure in our efforts to survive the threat of Islamic Terrorism, I do not blame MASH, but I continue to despise the stinking habit of belittling America’s necessary struggle against evil which it incessantly presents.

My Post is against Appeasement in general. The rant on MASH is no more than incidental. Smoking was never a danger to me; s other too came to see tobacco consumption differently after they had considered the truth of its demonstrated effects. I have the same hope for those who might now reconsider their addiction to MASH.

truth to power said...

MM said, "...obviously, right here in our happy assembly we have differing opinions as to the shows intent and meaning."

Honestly, that wasn't obvious to me. I didn't realize until this last post of yours that there was somebody who didn't see M*A*S*H's hippy politics.

M*A*S*H has been part of my cultural background for as long as I can remember, so as I grew to understand politics I came to understand M*A*S*H's political messages. And there's never been any question in my mind that they sought to portray war as pointless and those who stood against Communism as foolish and hypocritical. It's been obvious as long as I've been able to understand such issues.

These revelations never ruined the show for me. M*A*S*H is great television. But I repeat myself.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

Son of a gun...I completely missed that. That entire post was to Rumpole and not you...

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

This one is DEFINITELY to you...

"I do not blame MASH, but I continue to despise the stinking habit of belittling America’s necessary struggle against evil which it incessantly presents.

My Post is against Appeasement in general. The rant on MASH is no more than incidental."

On this we have no disagreement. I posted Chamberlains treachery so that all can see the cost of appeasement.

I wonder if we are not Gulliver. I wonder if we are a sleeping giant. I wonder if we as a country will wake up in time.

We can only partially blame the Lilliputions (terrorists).

MindMechanic said...

TTP...

'Hippie' politics? I think we can all agree that the underlying tone in MASH was anti-war and I think we also agree it was a bi-product of the VietNam era.

I think where the disagreement comes in is the intent. I dont believe the creaters of MASH the TV show were trying to destroy America and claim that there are NO wars worth fighting and we can ultimately triumph if we just embrace an appeasement doctrine. I dont think they were trying to destroy Americas faith in the military.

I refer back to the original posts.

For the record...I just wasted about 10 minutes cutting and pasting initial responses and then the responses explaining why those initial resposes of each was mistaken, flawed, naive, or already corrupted. But...its all there.

OK...

I think it IS safe to say that there was certainly an anti-war message in MASH. Hawkeye Pierce wasnt just portrayed as a paciifist, his character PRONOUNCED it. War is hell. You dont have to go through it or be in it to recognize that.

MindMechanic said...

"those who stood against Communism as foolish and hypocritical"

This part though...I dont get. I also dont get the "no war is worth fighting" message. Maybe thats just me.

The historian part of me DOES say that the US military actions in Korea and Vietnam were wrong not in the sense that we engaged but in the sense that we sacrificed so many live to a war we had no intention of winning. thats not a MASH perspective, thats a retired soldiers perspective. I value my children too much to tell them to go stand in front of a bully and let him beat your face in until his arms get tired and then you win.

The consequences were far more than just letting them beat our face in.

180,000 South Korean and UN troops died, of which were 54,200 US troops. Approximately 3 times that amount lost limbs. We had the ability to WIN the war and MUCH sooner...but we didnt have the political WILL.

In VietNam we started with a plan to destroy the Norths civilian infrastructure and bring them to the peace tables, but that plan was deemed too provocative to other communist countires, so instead the plan shifted to jungle warfare...to body counts. the idea was we could inflict such a high body count that the North would have to negotiate peace. The problem was, the North was used to jungle warfare, and they didnt care about how many bodies they lost. The North flipped that strategy during the TET offensive. They killed 2,000 US soldiers and lost 50,000 troops doing so. that would be, in the eyes of any military strategist, a profound loss by the North. The reality is, WE didnt have the stomach for loses and TET signaled the beginning of the end.

VietNam wasnt much different...58,000 thousand US dead, 304,000 wounded. its not that war isnt hell and that casualites arent expected. Its not that it isnt worth fighting for. But if it IS worth fighting for then fight and win.

THAT to me is the problem.

MindMechanic said...

Hah!!! I scooped the Wall Street Journal! I wonder if THEY are reading us here in the Agora!


Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007 12:55 a.m. EST
Hillary Clinton's Flip-Flop Chronicled

The lead editorial in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal chronicles Sen. Hillary Clinton’s move from a "solid, even eloquent hawk” on the Iraq war to a presidential candidate calling for a quick withdrawal of American forces.

"Pressured by other candidates and by her party’s left wing, she is walking back her hawkish statements and is now all but part of the antiwar camp,” the editorial declares, citing Clinton’s statements over the past 4 1/2 years:


On October 10, 2002, Clinton spoke to the Senate in favor of a use-of-force resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, saying: "The facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt.”

On December 15, 2003, when it was clear there were no large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Clinton’s support was unwavering. "I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force,” she told the Council on Foreign Relations. "We have no option but to stay involved and committed.”

On April 20, 2004, Clinton told CNN’s Larry King that she did not "regret giving the president the authority,” noting that Saddam Hussein "had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade.”

In October 2005, amid growing anti-war sentiment, Clinton still told the Village Voice: "I don’t believe it’s smart to set a date for withdrawal . . . I don’t think it’s the right time to withdraw.”

By November 2005, Hillary was softening her stance, saying in a letter to constituents: "If Congress had been asked [to authorize the war], based on what we know now, we never would have agreed.”

On December 18, 2006, Clinton went even further, saying on the "Today” show: "I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

On January 13 of this year, Clinton spoke from Baghdad about President Bush’s call for a troop surge: "I don’t know that the American people or the Congress at this point believe this mission can work.”

On January 17, Clinton called for a cap on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and suggested withholding funds for the Iraqi government.

Finally, on January 27, Clinton hit the campaign trail in Iowa and demanded that the president "extricate our country from this before he leaves office.”

Anonymous said...

MM
Is a comprehensive downloading of FLIP-FLOPS for the last fifteen years also forthcomming for:
-John McCain
-Rudi Giuliani
-Mitt Romney
-Newt Gingrich
-Condoleeza Rice
-George Pataki
??????????
Have ANY of these REPUBLICAN candidates for president flip-floped on issues????

If you can't break away from your dedicated loathing of Bill/Hillary, I'll help bu matching with downloads on ALL these others -- you know in the interests of fair play, objectivity and judiciousness!!!!

Realizing, of course, that the "flip-floping" complaint is a club that bashes from BOTH ends and All issues.

We could always re-run FAMOUS and UNFORGETTABLY FATUOUS flip flops from the past; ie, -- Immigration policy, Saudi control of American ports -- Supreme Court nominees, Middle East policies and other top 40 flopper flips!!!!

Anonymous said...

What offends ME the most is for someone to pass gas in public then look around innocently and say
"What"????

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysis said...

I heard Boxer say today that the War in Iraq has become Mission Impossible. I wonder how the troops in the field feel about that. I wonder what our enemies think. If Osama wasn’t dead he’d be dancing. George gave us six years, now his enemies will give away the country.

I wonder how much it will take to appease fanatics that would rather be dead than live in the world with the infidel. I guess the only hope is that there will be some good courses in Arabic coming out. That will solve American’s bilingual problem thou, won’t it Barbara? What do you think Rumpole? Is there a chance the LDS church might pay for the classes, a last gesture before everyone becomes a Muslim?

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

2 things...

1-Attacking another is not a defense
2-This thread is talking about war. This thread is talking about the importance of consistency and fighting a war once you have obligated lives. This thread is about politicians past and present that have played political games with the lives of American servicemen.

I didnt attack list ALL the democrats and their willingness to sell out the lives of our soldiers for political gain...just the leading front running democrat candidate for president. But I could.

I would absolutely be willing to engage an entire topic on flip-flopping politicians and have no problem discussing the fish out of water tactics of candidates from both sides.

But THIS topic is about WAR. It is about lives being lost because politicians are too busy playing partisan games.

Sorry...there is no comparison.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

I just want to point out that the tactic of saying, "other people do things bad too" as an cover for doing bad things is a classic left wing tactic. Just read the Communist Manifesto. Marx tries to cover most of the accusations against Communism, not be disproving or even denying, but by saying the Capitalists do bad things too. “Do the Communists want to destroy the family? The capitalists have already destroyed the family.” Thus Marx lies and dodges at once. Just like the dodges thrown against your indictment of Hillary. It doesn’t mater who has flip-flopped, that doesn’t excuse Hillary’s flip-flops, or the defense of them by the Left. The reason for the flip-flops is even more insidious. She is simply deceiving people to gain power, the signature ploy of a relativists.

Rumpole said...

Mind Mechanic,

It’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt. The anonymy may beg to differ, but being confused with Lyis is a great complement.

As to “Pierce was Jack Murtha. . . and Pierce was what the writers of M*A*S*H molded him to be,” there is no inconsistency in my argument. My point is that writers of M*A*S*H fashioned Pierce from traits and opinions that those who were against being in places like Korea and Vietnam.

Both characterizations aptly apply to Pierce and what the writers intended to accomplish, even the writer Alan Alda.

As to TTP’s comment “There's no question of what results the show's producers hoped for," I hesitate to speak for TTP, but I believe he meant that the writers of M*A*S*H intended to turn sentiment against being in Vietnam. Note here that I distinguish between fighting that just war and how the war was fought. The conversation on M*A*S*H wasn’t about how to fight a war; the conversation was whether or not we should be there at all.

I do not believe you to be a fool; I sincerely think you are far more intelligent than I. Nevertheless, I do believe the intention of M*A*S*H was to sway public opinion against even being in Vietnam.

Additionally, I do not credit M*A*S*H for your opinions. I loved your previous post because of the arguments you wrote about that M*A*S*H does not possess. Unless I am mistaken, your frustration about Vietnam is rooted in how the war was fought, not that the war was fought. I agree. The M*A*S*H view expressed frustration over the war being fought at all.

I do believe M*A*S*H attempted to play a role in Vietnam politics. M*A*S*H began its run in 1972; Vietnam ended in 1975.

I don’t believe that M*A*S*H “caused” Korea and Vietnam. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. I do, however, believe that M*A*S*H attempted to sway public opinion against both those conflicts, even if it was after the fact in the case of Korea.

Anonymous said...

Before Lysis decalares MARTIAL ORDER in the Agora against all those posting "contrary" threads, may I suggest that he appoint a "thread nanny" to keep order.

I nominate MM who has already assumed the ceremonial duties of "thread mom" and elevate him to the highest rank of FOUR STAR THREAD GENERAL!!!!
Do I hear a second?
____________

However, I offer these caveats.

"Even when there is a necessity of military power, within a land, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and jealous eye over it." -Sam Adams

The point of civilian control of the military is to make securty SUBORDINATE to the larger purposes of a nation, rather than the other way around. The purpose of the military is to defend society, NOT TO DEFINE IT.

"Standing armies in time of peace are INCONSISTENT with the principles of REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENTS, dangerous to the liberties of a free people, and generally converted into destructive engines for establishing DESPOTISM."
-Elbridge Gerry.

Lysis and MM might be willing to throw their freedoms under the wheels of ANY militarist bus that promises security from those Moslem hordes, but in a FREE society, CIVILIAN RULE is the only safeguard against military despotism, which the founding fathers considered to be MUCH more dangerous than the advance of "outside" enemies!!!!

Historically, civilian (political) control of the Military has sometimes become tragic meddling and created the waste of loyal fighting men -- I agree that it's filled with "flip-flopping", as polital winds shift and loyalties erode, and that INSANE directives driven by political whim have ruined chances for victory on MANY battlefields -- however I STILL choose freedom and civilian politial authority over the illusory temptations of security offered by militaristic despotism!!!!

Anonymous said...

As a rejoinder to the above posted arguments Lysis could post the "Pledge of Allegiance" for the edification of all -- I like the "Pledge" as much as the "Star Spangled Banner" -- "America the Beautiful" would be a good choice too, however, its musicality could be spoiled with too much drum and fife!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

1-It isnt playing thread nanny, it is being consistent in an argument. Romney's change of position on gay rights has no bearing on the discussion of political flip-flopping (something you acknowledge exists)on war. Using war for politics has cost literally hundreds of thousands of lives and limbs. I would think that is something we can ALL agree on...that when it comes to our servicemen and our nations commitment, politics should be off limits.

2-As I said...I have no problem discussing the flip flopping positions of ALL politicians...just in the appropriate thread. Here, it would just serve to muddy the water, which of course was your intent. I suspect you wont get much satisfaction from the debate though because I dont have a knee-jerk need to defend politicians from EITHER side.

3-You bring up the freedom argument (again). As I recall, the LAST time an anonymy brought this up they were unable to point to any personal freedoms they had lost or sacrificed. Pity...the sound bites and talking points dont provide examples...just snippets to parrot.

4-You think I want autonomous military rule? Wow...you ARE deluded. What I WANT is a civilian government WORTHY of their role as leaders. I value the life of my children and (assuming you have them) yours. I dont want politicians using the lives of soldiers as political bargaining chips. I ESPECIALLY dont want them to pretend they actually give a damn about them.

MindMechanic said...

Rumpole...

Again...sorry about the mix up.

I THINK we ALL pretty much agree that the intent of the director of the movie and direction of the TV show was decidedly anti Viet Nam. I just dont see the deeper sinister things that were purported as being represented. I also dont think they tried to hide anything. I remember at least a few episodes where Hawkeye Pierce declared loud and proud his pacifist position. There wasnt much deception.

I also think it is easy to see how people of that era could feel the way they did about the war in Viet Nam. I felt the same way-but for somewhat different reasons. To me it has nothing to do with the cause...it has everything to do with the way. But even those that disagreed with our mere presence...I can understand why. ESPECIALLY in light of a drafted military.

I served with people that didnt want to go to Bosnia. I know people that dont want to go to Iraq. But we are in an all volunteer military and I have never seen it presented where we had a choice which orders we wanted to obey and where we wanted to go serve and which presidents we wanted to respect as our commander in chief. Just the opposite...they make it pretty clear from day one.

I'm not trying to make a sales pitch or change minds. I thought they actually did a good job with the characters on the the show. They all grew. They all changed. They all matured. They all had weaknesses and they all had strengths. They exposed their fears. The show was about a MASH unit in Korea but it was about so much more, which is why it was successful for as long as it was. I suspect it is what intrigued even those here in the Agora that today cant stand it. It wasnt just 'funny'.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

"She is simply deceiving people to gain power, the signature ploy of a relativists"

I agree...and sadly, 120,000 men and women and their families will suffer.

The article you cited from the Post shows the trend...the more the politics shifts for power, the more the disdain for the military will shine through.

Lysis said...

Anonymous:

I have carefully read Mindmechanic’s posts, and am aware of my own as well. No where do either of us advocated abandoning civilian control of the military or closing the sharp eye of the people on their military.

Here we have an example of our anonymous thought policeman, incapable of dealing with the arguments presented, inventing one of his own with which to debate. You’d think he could do a better job.

I suppose Anonymous would now like us all to join in with him, and Hawkeye and mock the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe he can find a “cut seen” from Mash where Father Mulchay asks, “What were we ever pledging allegiance to anyway?”

As for the appointment of a Thread Nanny; the facts, often presented by Mindmechanic, among others seem capable of keeping order here, in spite of those who continue to ignore them. It does amuse me to note that it is the neo-libs that are screaming for government control of the air-waves and the imposition of “fairness” doctrines, to make sure that when the truth is told and equal amount of hokum is also dispensed. Seems they despise the free market of ideas as much as they fear the free market economy.

Anonymous said...

Thread Nanny alert!!!! Thread Nanny alert!!!! Code Red variance!!!!

Deviation from THREAD on aisle six -- (Lysis' posting)

"government control of airways" and
"free market economy" arguments are NOT consistent with thread for this week!!!!

Activate the MM "fact annihilator discombobulator thingee" and exorcise these irrelevancies!!!!

Thank You.

You may now continue blogging!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

slightly amusing...not a total loss...

Lysis said...

Any thing that supports the freedom of discussion and exposes the censorship aspirations of the neo-libs (Whether it has to do with seductive appeasement arguments or the flip-flopping of Hillary Clinton to escape her past and agree with Hawkeye) is consistent with this weeks thread. It seems that what Anonymous needs isn’t a censor it is someone to explain things. He’s come to the right place.

Anonymous said...

Sightings of the dreaded, "beady-eyed pettifogging zealot" (BPZ)here at the Agoraland Petting Zoo (APEZ) have put everyone on edge.

The BPZ has a terrible reputation for chucking handsfull of excrement at patrons who approach wearing "Save the Neolibs " T shirts or who play the new anti-war "MASH" Gameboy -- the game that whimpers, "hit me, beat me, stomp me, and I will appease you, you big nasty terrorist."

Enraged the BPZ sets up a perimeter defense of howling the "Star Spangled Banner", "bottlenecking" passers by and holding them hostage until they utter the pass words of the "Pledge".

Particulary insidious is the BPZ' proclivity to wrap himself in the flag and abuse anyone who laughs and mocks -- he thinks attacking HIS excesses equals an attack on the flag itself -- these delusions are VERY dangerous!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

Not much that makes sense here, but you sure got the neo-libs pegged!

Anonymous said...

One thing more, HUMORLESS!!!!

Rumpole said...

Lysis and (pledging) Anonymy,

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase ending with “pearls before swine.” I’m a little reluctant to post this, but what the heck, caution to the the wind!

Major Hess related an experience he had with the Pledge of Allegiance while he was incarcerated.

After he was shot down, he was taken to the Hanoi Hilton, where he was housed with three other Americans. One was a Catholic, one an Episcopalian, one a Protestant, and himself, a Mormon.

The officer that had been there the longest (the Major gave us the names of the other three, but I don’t remember them) had some real health issues that had not been attended to, not the least of which was a broken shoulder.

They were placed in a small concrete room with nothing to sit on or to sleep on. It was very difficult to be comfortable at any time.

On his first Sunday of incarceration, Major Hess remembered wishing that he was at home attending church. As he sat thinking about it, the injured officer that had been there the longest offered to Major Hess that it was, indeed, Sunday, and the POW’s tried to have a service at the same time each week.

They were to wait for a bang on the wall, then they would all take a moment to have a service together. The four debated as to whether they should stand or sit. It was determined that they would stand, and recite together “the Lord’s Prayer”.

The bang on the wall came, and they all stood together and recited that scripture. Major Hess commented that it was one of the most meaningful and powerful moments of his life to that time.

When they were finished, Major Hess went to sit down. The injured officer, who had been there the longest, stopped him, and told him they weren’t through. He told Major Hess that they needed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Major Hess, tired and frustrated, turned to the other officer and asked, “Why do we need to say the Pledge? We don’t even have a flag!

The injured officer responded with, “Hess, can’t you just imagine one while we say the Pledge?”

Do you think that officer thought the Pledge worthy of repeating for the other three’s “edification?”

Anonymous said...

Rump:
Every time I go to Deseret Industries and pay for my purchases with a check, the clerk dutifully checks my driver's license and writes down the numbers -- nothing wrong with that. When I point out that my DL# and Birth date are ALREADY preprinted and can just be verified, I'm ignored and the whole list of numerals written again anyway -- in fact, I and my check begin to be scrutinized with great suspicion!!!!

Sometimes I point out that the check doesn't get better the more times my diver's license # appears on it.

And that is my point about ZEALOTRY everywhere -- patriotic exercises CAN become a kind of OCD impairment that can take the place of REAL and SINCERE devotion by substituting mindless and mechanical repetition.

How many pledges must we say, and force others to say, before it becomes REAL patriotism? The legislature recommends once a day in Utah for school children, but is that REALLY enough? -- some think that the pledge should be recited after each class change!

I suffered a whole year for the agony of a young Jehovah's Witness student who, of course, never stood or recited -- but, the surprising effect on her schoolmates was to empathize with HER and RESENT the routine of once-a-day pledging -- also the meaning of what the Pledge represents suffered in their eyes.

My proscriptions are NOT ANTI-PLEDGE, nor ANTI-STAR SPANGLED BANNER, nor ANTI-PATRIOTIC!!!!

In the ZEALOTS world these are totems of POWER and EXCLUSION that are used to bash anyone who is deemed UNWORTHY or who simply expresses an alternative idea!!!!

The Third Reich made an art form of saying and writing mechanical tests of loyalty. The predictability of the whole exercise led to one of the greatest allied coups of the war, breaking the Nazi Enigma Code. Allied cryptologists reasoned that EVERY incripted German communique would ALWAYS preceded with Heil Hitler! -- they always did.

NOTHING IN EXCESS is Aristotle's proscription that should be vigorously applied to all Patriotic slogans and behaviour.

Hence, EXCESS becomes ABSOLUTE and MODERATION becomes RELATIVE to ALL ZEALOTS!!!!

I will be reposting this on the forthcoming new discussion prompt and expect chastizement for not saying the "THREAD" enough times --
Mea Culpa, Mea, Culpa -- Via l'enferno!!!!

Rumpole said...

Anonymy,

Zealotry and self-righteousness, if you will, can indeed become impairing; however, where is the line drawn between zealotry and sincere devotion?

In your world is it considered zealotry to recite the “pledge” once a day as a demonstration of sincere gratitude? Is it asking too much to pause for a moment before a ball game to sing the national anthem while remembering the sacrifices of those who came before, and provided the opportunity to enjoy the game in relative peace and security?

It seems to me that what we have here is a different perspective. What you consider as over-zealous, or as excess, I consider as gratitude.

You post: “I suffered a whole year for the agony of a young Jehovah's Witness student who, of course, never stood or recited -- but, the surprising effect on her schoolmates was to empathize with HER and RESENT the routine of once-a-day pledging -- also the meaning of what the Pledge represents suffered in their eyes.”

While you suffered for that student, did you suffer for Major Hess? Did you suffer for every American that laid down his life on the battle field? What about the families of Major Hess, and others like him? Did you suffer for them?

If you allowed you students to continue in the vein you describe, you missed a great opportunity. Your Jehovah’s Witness certainly has a right not to participate in a demonstration of gratitude. Did you discuss that right with your class? Then, did you follow up with a discussion from the position of a Major Hess, from the position of families that have made greater sacrifices than Major Hess, and from a position of gratitude?

Are the inmates running the asylum?

Unfortunately, it appears that the parents of those whom you teach have failed their children in teaching them to demonstrate gratitude. If it has become an exercise, if it has become a chore, if it has become a burden to take a moment out of every day to express thanks publicly for those who have gone before (like Major Hess, and his injured cell-mate), your classroom is in a sad state of affairs.

I emphasize to you that I do not believe that those who participate have the right to mock the detractor. Nevertheless, the detractor equally has no right to mock, and no right to label and to call over-zealous, those who wish to participate; the detractor has no right to deny those who wish to demonstrate their gratitude that right of demonstration, even at the expense of “hurt feelings.”

To use your own words, those who consider participation as zealotry, who use their own power in an attempt at exclusion, deeming willing participants as unworthy to express an idea are just as guilty as those who you deem as zealots.

Your implication that reciting the pledge daily is a mechanical form of loyalty is a huge stretch. Are we required at any level to say the “pledge” before we talk about America?

Unfortunately, it appears that we have become an ungrateful people in an attempt to salve a self-inflicted wound. Will there be a point where we wake up and finally drop the knife?

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysis said...

Flaccid;

Your selective ire is interesting. You fail to notice your own fanatic aversion to repetition of words just because you have failed to or are incapable of consider their meanings. Your excusing, even lauding, the “zealotry” of your “young Jehovah’s Witness”; while failing to take your other students past the vain repetition stage in their daily pledge, is telling of your bias. It seems your understanding of the value of these words has been MASHed.

I have often considered how the Nazis used many of the same ceremonies and symbols that are employed at Boy Scout camp. But just because tools can be misused does not mean their value is lost to those who can properly employ them. To one who does not understand their true application, the distinction between inspiration and manipulation seems to be impossible. The ceremonies are themselves just tools, empty if not considered, evil if misused, but of transcendent value if understood and properly applied.

Your failure to grasp these differences explains, although it does not excuse, your own Zealotry.


Rumpole;

I find myself repeating the explanations you have given to the Anonymous. I am heartened to see that you grasp the difference between hollow words and expressions of gratitude, commitment, and duty. These very words are, of course, anathema to those who cannot distinguish between patriotism and zealotry. It is like the line between infatuation and love. One is self-serving the other self-sacrificing. Major Hess shows us the one; Flaccid has provided the telling contrast by which we can judge the other.

Lysis said...

I will be speaking in church this morning. Not my own, but one several towns away, the subject –“The Values of Scouting and their roll in the LDS church.” As is always the case, many thoughts are running through my mind as I organize the stories I have so often used in this situation.

This Paragraph from Anonymous last post keeps coming to my mind:

“I suffered a whole year for the agony of a young Jehovah's Witness student who, of course, never stood or recited -- but, the surprising effect on her schoolmates was to empathize with HER and RESENT the routine of once-a-day pledging -- also the meaning of what the Pledge represents suffered in their eyes.”

How could Anonymous have missed the “hands on opportunity” to teach the meaning of the words his students were reciting. How could he leave them empty and meaningless? What a marvelous example this little girl could have provided of “one nation” of “under God” of “Indivisible” of “Freedom and Justice for all”. Instead Flaccid let the teaching moment, and its daily reiteration – its actualization in the lives of his students - slip away. And his students, with no understanding of the words they mouthed came to see them as an attack on a friend, rather than seeing her life as a celebration of those very words.

I asked myself again and again, how could a teacher allow his students to come to regard these words so; to come to resentment them; to find them routine, and their meaning to suffer in his student’s eyes. The answer came to me. Flaccid is a word gamer, to him no word has meaning past the momentary use he chooses to put it to, the flip or flop, he wishes to employ it for. Like all Relativists, Flaccid has no TRUTH or VALUE from which to reason – how can he teach those things to his students? It is obvious he cannot and does not, not even when the perfect opportunity to make the words real presented itself day after day in his class room.

Cameron said...

Repetition of WORDS WORDS WORDS!!!! is ZEALOTRY ZEALOTRY ZEALOTRY!!!!!!!

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