Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U.S. "Precision Strikes" in a Nutshell

Signe Wilkinson's latest cartoon for the Philadelphia Daily News is brilliant:

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

It depicts a U.S. warplane (or drone) coming in for the attack, with the Barack Obama at the controls, saying, "Target is in sight!"

The only problem is that the "target" is really multiple targets:

* good terrorist
* bad terrorist
* despicable terrorist

. . . as well as . . . 

* lives near a terrorist

. . . and . . . 

* deciding whether to be a terrorist

In other words, pretty much anybody and everybody gets lumped together with "terrorists"; the vaunted "precision" of U.S. military strikes isn't precise at all.

And if those people on the ground weren't our enemies before the Hellfire missile strikes, you can be sure they will be afterwards.

My only quibble with this cartoon is that instead of depicting Obama in the driver's seat, it should make it clear that the warplane is controlled by "Americans." ('Cause we all get to share in the responsibility, the blame, and the consequences of our government's killing spree in the Mideast.)

Related posts

The U.S. has a modus operandi for conducting military strikes while slipping past any genuine public accountability. It's worth a look at the Tuesday, October 29, 2013, New York Times account of a drone strike in Somalia the previous day: "Pentagon Says Shabab Bomb Specialist Is Killed in Missile Strike in Somalia." It's a case study in what's wrong with the U.S. drone wars.

(See October 28 in Somalia: Another Day, Another Drone Killing)

A September 5, 2013, U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed six people - including Sangeen Zadran -- a "senior militant commander" who was "implicated in a long-running kidnapping drama involving an American soldier."

(See September 5 in Pakistan: Another Day, Another Drone Killing)

The press announced a flurry of drone killings in Yemen over the April 19/20 weekend -- that is, while the rest of us were observing Easter -- and just as with U.S. drone killings in Pakistan and Somalia, the U.S. modus operandi was on full display.

(See April 19 in Yemen: Another Day, Another Drone Killing )

Cutting Defense: Are We STUCK?

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a study this week based on survey data collected from over 2,000 respondents.

The survey has important data on Americans' attitudes toward foreign affairs and military issues, and includes comparative data from previous surveys stretching back decades. You can access Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment for free on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs website.

I've noticed four findings that are of special interest to me, starting with the following observation about American attitudes toward reducing military spending.

The bar graph reproduced below shows respondents attitudes toward U.S. military budgets, based on surveys conducted between 1974 and 2014.

Source: Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Here's what's striking to me: between 1990 (the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and 2002 (immediately after 9/11), there was a clear trend toward stronger and stronger support for expanding, and decreasing support for cutting back, defense spending. (Notably, there is always a core of 40% of the public who say "keep it the same.")

That trend was brought to a halt in 2004. By that time, the U.S. was engaged in two wars: in Iraq -- ostensibly to stop the spread of WMD -- and in Afghanistan -- ostensibly to punish the perpetrators of 9/11 and protect the United States.

Where have we ended up?  Right now we're "stuck" -- the portion of the public that wants to cut military spending has hovered in the high 20%s since 2004; it just can't seem to break the 30% barrier. (The percentage of people in favor of expansion is about the same.)

This leads me to two conclusions:

(1) We have had some success in the past decade in publicizing the idea of defense reductions.

(2) We need to do a lot more to move the needle -- and reach a critical mass of supporters who can bring about real reductions.

It also stimulates me to ask: how much of the change in attitudes toward defense spending is stemming from the growth in Tea Party and/or libertarian sentiment, as opposed to traditional antiwar sentiment?

And . . . to the degree that we are stuck . . . is it because we have failed to join the energies of these several strands of sentiment into a single, clearly articulated, impactful movement for defense reduction?

Watch this space for comments on other findings, relating to fighting terrorism, U.S.-conducted assassinations, and protecting American jobs.

Check out Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment for your self and see what conclusions YOU draw!

Related posts

Just like a family that has extra rooms in its house which inevitably become filled with stuff, the U.S. has thousands of bases -- here, there, and everywhere -- that inevitably create the "need" to spend.

(See What Will "Strategic" Mean in Our Children's Lifetime?)

What would happen if every member of Congress "adopted" a foreign military base and demonstrated what would happen if all the money spent there were brought home to local districts? Do you think the constituents would welcome THAT initiative?


People are talking about cuts to the military. It couldn't happen to a more deserving half of our national budget. HOWEVER . . . we need a lot more people jumping into this debate, because the cuts being talked about are too timid . . . AND because the most dangerous and illegitimate (and frequently illegal) forms of military force are being advocated for the "efficiency" and "cost-effectivneness."

(See Talk of the Town: Shrink the Military )

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lady Alba: When Progressive, Antiwar Views Go Viral

Lady Alba may just push me over the edge.

Oh, I'm already in favor of Scottish independence.

I mean I may just move to Scotland.

Lady Alba is proof that we can succeed in using creative resistance to get our progressive, antiwar views into the mainstream discourse.

Rather than try to explain, I'll let you check Lady Alba out for yourself . . . .

Lady Alba, "Nuclear Love"
"We all live in a yellow nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine . . . "

"After over 300 years together, is Scotland in a 'Bad Romance' with 
the rest of the UK? That's what Lady Alba thinks. She's become popular 
on social media after her spoof video about Scotland's independence 
referendum went viral. The video re-interprets Lady Gaga's song 
'Bad Romance' to poke fun at supporters of a 'No' vote, who want 
Scotland to remain part of the UK. It has been viewed over 83 thousand 
times on YouTube." 

 Creative resistance: keep it coming!

Related posts

The vote on Scottish independence is trending toward YES! I'm celebrating by taking a look at the activism of people in Scotland against the stationing of Trident nuclear-weapons-equipped submarines in Scotland.

(See We're Rooting for You, Scotland! (Trident NO Scotland YES) )

England might negotiate to obtain lease on the base, so it can stay open. (Some commentators call that unlikely.) England might decide to move the Tridents to a port in England. (But that would require them to create a depot to store the nuclear missiles - a dicey proposition in densely populated areas.)  England might find another country to allow them to base this dangerous cargo; some have suggested France. (Um - hello? France?)

(See YES! to Scotland; No Place for Trident )

Eventually, in large part due to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the United States was converted from a country in which a small number of people thought slavery needed to be ended into a country determined to act to end slavery. This literary work took the movement wide, and it took it deep.

Why is a novel an important tool for creative resistance?

(See Creative Resistance 101: Uncle Tom's Cabin )

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 Memory: Grieving and Celebrating Valor, Leaving Vengeance Behind

This fire helmet is one of the objects depicted in
The Stories They Tell: Artifacts from the National September 11 Memorial Museum

I was back in New Jersey to visit with high school friends in July. It gave me the opportunity to visit the newly opened 9/11 Memorial.

Not surprisingly, what I saw made me spend days and weeks thinking about the memorial itself, and the larger issue of 9/11 in our national life.

Out of all that I have seen and heard and read and thought about, several thoughts keep rising to the top.

Aerial view of twin fountains at the 9/11 Memorial.
We need to eliminate the noise so that we can grieve

More than anything else about the 9/11 Memorial, I was impressed by how profound the twin fountains are as a memorial to all that was lost on 9/11.

I don't think that a photo can do justice to the sensation of standing at the edge one of these massive deep square black pools, water cascading down all four walls, seemingly bottomless, the people around the edges dwarfed by distance.

Especially for those of us who spent time in lower Manhattan and were familiar with the "footprint" of the two towers, the contrast to the past is shocking.

The names of those who died on 9/11 are engraved into the granite rims of the two pools.

We saw valor that meets a deeply-felt need

It is impossible to ignore the way that people everywhere -- yes, those touched directly by it but also people who were only observing from a very great distance -- keep circling back to 9/11, remembering it, calling it forth, dwelling on it. More and more, I've noticed that more than anything this seems to be connected to the memory of the courage, selflessness, valor, community-mindedness of the rescue workers involved.

New York City Fire Department
Members Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice
in the Performance of Duty
at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001
at Manhattan Box 5-5-8087

Probably the single sentence that sums up 9/11 for me is this description of the firemen: "On the stairways, as the occupants of the towers struggled to descend dozens of floors in order to get out, they were passed by the firemen running as fast as they could up the stairs to try to save more people."

It's heartbreaking.

In the 9/11 museum, there is a short video, with remembrances from some of the people involved. Rudolph Giuliani recalls seeing people jumping from the top floors, and rushing over to Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen and saying, "We've got to get helicopters there!"  Von Essen said, "My men can get everyone below the fire out." 

 That is called living with purpose.

Pew at St. Paul's chapel - bearing the marks of first responders.
There is a church -- St. Paul's -- a block away from the Twin Towers site. It acted as a relief station for rescue workers at the time of 9/11.  The pews, where exhausted rescuers collapsed for a few hours of sleep, are now marred and dented with the marks of their heavy boots and other equipment that they didn't even bother to remove when they rested. The church and its sanctuary now stand as a kind of reminder of the community-mindedness of so many people during those days.

What these people did represents something that is all too often missing in our lives, and that we yearn to recover.

Revenge? Or reconciliation?

I become very uncomfortable when the focus turns to "getting" the people responsible for 9/11.

Part of the reason is that I see how many people around the world the U.S. has killed since 9/11 in the name of "payback." The last decade has certainly demonstrated that the only thing that is accomplished by violence is the perpetuation of violence.

"Impact Steel"
Another part of the reason is that revenge is simply not satisfying. It is pursued in the misguided belief that it will turn anger and pain into pleasure. As we all know, revenge only succeeds in guaranteeing that the anger and pain remains permanent.

For those interested in one exploration of this idea, I recommend the film by Martin Doblmeier, The Power of Forgiveness.  Part of the film is a profile of the mother of one 9/11 victim. It helped me understand that anger and vengefulness is a kind of hell, and that many people have been trapped in that hell as a result of 9/11.

Some of the most impressive peace activists I know are members of 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. "Peaceful Tomorro­ws is an organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace. By developing and advocating nonviolent options and actions in the pursuit of justice, we hope to break the cycles of violence engendered by war and terrorism. Acknowledging our common experience with all people affected by violence throughout the world, we work to create a safer and more peaceful world for everyone." I know and have worked with a number of members of this organization. Their grief is real. But they are also clear about the importance of peace, and of their personal power to bring about good.

What will we do with "the pain that made us"?

Years ago I read a story in The New Yorker.  I wish now that I could remember the title or the author. It involves a woman who tracks down someone who hurt her a long time ago, someone who is now old and weak. She makes absolutely certain that it is, in fact, the person from her past, and then . . . one expects the that the woman is about to have her revenge. Instead, she stops right there. And the author comments that we -- all of us, in large or small ways -- are drawn inexorably back to the pain that made us.

What can we learn from this?

Twin Towers on 9/11 - seen from New Jersey
A personal note: On September 11, 2001, I was in New Jersey. I had given a business presentation the previous evening -- to the Northern NJ Chapter of the American Foundry Society -- and then stayed overnight at my mother's apartment in Madison, NJ. On the morning of September 11, I got on the Erie-Lackawanna train in Madison to go to Newark, where I would catch a plane at Newark airport for Detroit, where I was scheduled to address the Detroit Diecasters Association that evening. As my train came through South Orange, someone got on the train and announced that a commuter plane had crashed into the World Train Center. I remember imagining a propeller plane. After arriving in Newark, I rode a bus down and on to Newark Airport. From that vantage point, it looked like the Twin Towers were just a short distance away. (It looked like a lot of smoke for a propeller plane.) It wasn't until I passed through security at Newark Airport and started to hear the loudspeaker announcements "the attacks today in New York City and Washington" -- Washington? -- that I realized everything was getting out of control.  From the gate area, we had a clear view toward Lower Manhattan; people stood watching in silence. "That's funny," I finally said to the person next to me, "but from here it looks like there's only one tower." "That," he replied, "is because there IS only one tower . . . " 

Nothing was the same after that . . . .

Related posts

We eventually made it to our hotel . . . but Munich and the Olympic Stadium have forever after, for me, stood for the proposition that going around in circles, stuck in the same rut and fighting about it, is a peculiar Hell that only humans could be capable of contriving.

(See "Munich and the Ring Road to Hell "on Compassionate Nation)

Beyond recognizing the inherent contradictions of "pre-emptive violence," we must confront an urgent problem related to technology: the automation of "pre-emptive violence" -- e.g. via drone technology -- is leading to a spiral (or "loop" or "recursive process") that we may not be able to get out of.

(See When "Pre-emptive Violence" Is Automated ....)

In the film "The Response," as military judges are debating the fate of a detainee at Guantanamo, one of them says, "Okay, if 9/11 is the measuring stick, are we a great nation because of the blow we took? Or because how we, as a country, respond to that blow? The response matters. Our response defines us . . . . "

(See Why Have We Built A Monument To Bin Laden?)

GAZA: Israel has a story about how all these people are there enemies, and the people of Palestine have a story about how all these people are innocent bystanders. Could both stories be true? . . . 9/11: "How could one set of people think that the towers and the people in them were legitimate targets, when others saw them as innocent victims?"

(See Gaza and 9/11: Innocent Bystanders? Legitimate Targets? Acceptable Collateral Damage?)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Obama Didn't Invent Permawar. He Just Perfected It.

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will make a speech to the nation about how the United States will fight ISIS.

It will be interesting to see how a president who won election on the strength of his OPPOSITION to U.S. war in Iraq will explain . . . resuming war . . . in . . . Iraq . . . .

Tomorrow's speech is really the continuation of the speech that Obama gave in May at West Point, when he defined a brilliant new twist on an old concept.

At West Point, Obama described how the United States would, in the future, rely upon a web of collaborators to fight for it, largely in "low level," counterinsurgency-type wars.  The U.S. will provide technology, know-how, and -- critically -- funding to these "partner" countries.

It was with this speech that Barack Obama could be said to have shown his true colors. He's all about that leverage. Why settle for just one war, or two, when you can provide the seed money to keep wars going on everywhere?

Tomorrow, expect Obama to stress several points:

* Somebody else (al Qaeda, ISIS, etc., etc.) started it.
* No American "boots on the ground."
* Technology (drones) is our friend in this fight.
* Anyone else who wants to be our friend has to ante up (i.e. fight in our place).
* As the provider of funding, the U.S. has the controlling hand. We provide "leadership." We're the "Big Daddy."
* Obama and his team is keeping you -- my fellow Americans -- safe.

They're calling it the Obama Doctrine.

This all sounds so convincing that there's one thing most people will miss.

This doesn't end.

He didn't invent #permawar
He just perfected it.

Watch and share this short video
from Brave New Films:
"How Does This End?"

September 10, 2014 in Chicago - Andy Thayer introduces speakers from
8th Day Center for Justice, Anti-War Committee of Chicago, Gay Liberation
Network, No Drones Network, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative
Nonviolence, and World Can't Wait, all speaking against the Obama
administration's latest war escalation.
 (Audio at "Demonstrators Hold Anti-War Protest Downtown" on CBS)
 (Photo courtesy FJJ.)

"We must say NO to that!"
Joe Scarry speaking on behalf of No Drones Network, emphasizing
the need to resist being tempted by government promises of "no-risk,"
"high-tech" (and unending) violence using drones and other modern weapons.
(Photo courtesy FJJ.)

Read "On Worthier Victims" by Buddy Bell, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Related posts

More than anyone else, the beneficiaries of permawar are the politicians who thrive on the power to make and control wars. The number one prime beneficiary is the President, as well as presidential aspirants. But it doesn't end there . . . .

(See J'ACCUSE: The Beneficiaries of Permawar )

The U.S. narrative goes something like this: Somebody "bad" (e.g. ISIS) is doing bad stuff . . . . The U.S. wants to "help" -- without overcommitting. We'll just start with a few advisers (to instruct, not to fight) and a few drones (to survey, not to kill) . . . .One thing leads to another and there's yet another fight. (Lucky we were there . . . )  Does it every occur to us that we've got the narrative (and the causality) backwards?

(See Drones, ISIS, and Permawar )

It's important to recognize that Goldman, Bloomberg, and the CME -- and ALL of the entities and individuals that profit from the "vol" -- can live with more or less taxation, or more or less regulation, or more or less business-friendly legislation. The one thing they can't live with? Peace . . . .

(See Finance's Unholy Trinity of Permawar: Goldman, Bloomberg, and the CME )

The United States is very good at starting things . . . but seldom considers three moves ahead, much less how it will all end. Drones are a case in point. Now people are starting to talk about the problem of global drone proliferation.
(See GLOBAL DRONE PROLIFERATION: How does this end? on No Drones Network)

More related links

September 15, 2014: Howard Friel, Noam Chomsky, and Edward S. Herman wrote to The New York Times: "We owe the existence of ISIS in part to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was in violation of the [UN] charter. President Obama now seems determined to match, or exceed, the lawlessness of that decision, which, without the establishment of proper checks on the president’s war powers, is likely to be repeated by the next president, and the one after that, with perpetual war (or worse) an assured outcome." (emphasis added)

September 16, 2014: Tom Engelhardt, "Power Drain: Mysteries of the Twenty-First Century in a Helter-Skelter World" on TomDispatch.com: "Nowhere, at home or abroad, does the obvious might of the United States translate into expected results, or much of anything else except a kind of roiling chaos. On much of the planet, Latin America (but not Central America) excepted, power vacuums, power breakdowns, power drains, and fragmentation are increasingly part of everyday life. And one thing is remarkably clear: each and every application of American military power globally since 9/11 has furthered the fragmentation process, destabilizing whole regions."(emphasis added)

Monday, September 8, 2014

We're Rooting for You, Scotland! (Trident NO Scotland YES)

Trident NO Scotland YES   tridentploughshares.org

The vote on Scottish independence is trending toward YES! I'm celebrating by taking a look at the activism of people in Scotland against the stationing of Trident nuclear-weapons-equipped submarines in Scotland.

(There is a strong hope that the YES vote on Scottish independence will be followed by a vote to ban the Tridents from Scotland.)

Did you know that activists in Scotland blockaded the Trident base at Faslane for 365 days straight?  I read about it in the excellent book on peace activism and civil disobedience by Rosalie Riegle, Crossing the Line. There's an entire Faslane 365 website where you can learn more.

So . . . in the days ahead . . . 
when you hear #Scotland and #indyref . . . 

Protesters covered in "blood" as police look on

TAPESTRY: Faslane 365 - Nonviolent Resistance to Britain's Nuclear Weapons

Protesters being arrested at Faslane nuclear submarine base

COLLAGE: Faslane 365 protest art

Police presence confronts protesters at the gates of Faslane submarine base

"How would U spend £40,000,000,000? Nurses or Nukes? Trident or Trams?"

Mass Demonstration: "Scrap Trident, Fund Human Needs"

This is just a tiny sampling of images from the protests against nuclear weapons in Scotland. Check out the photo section of the Faslane 365 website.

PS - Also check out the Faslane Peace Camp Facebook page, for more creative resistance, like this sculpture by Lavinia, one of the peace campers:

SCULPTURE protesting Trident submarines by Faslane Peace Camp participant

Related posts

England might negotiate to obtain lease on the base, so it can stay open. (Some commentators call that unlikely.) England might decide to move the Tridents to a port in England. (But that would require them to create a depot to store the nuclear missiles - a dicey proposition in densely populated areas.)  England might find another country to allow them to base this dangerous cargo; some have suggested France. (Um - hello? France?)

(See YES! to Scotland; No Place for Trident )

How do you formulate a statement that can somehow convince the United States to eliminate its threatening nuclear weapons?  How do you formulate the 10th request? Or the 100th? Knowing all the time that the United States is in the position -- will always be in the position -- to say, "No" ?  At what point does it dawn on you that the United States will never give up its nuclear weapons, because it has the power and the rest of the world doesn't?

(See 360 Degree Feedback in New York (2014 NPT Prepcom and How the World Views the United States))

I don't think Alanna and I ever talked about what it must be like to be trying to escape a shower of sparks and hot ash. But she seemed to know that the sparks and hot ash are too important a part of the picture to be left out.

(See The Children Are Waiting )

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Can We Confront the Fire and Blast of Nuclear War and Still Remain Human? (Watching "Grave of the Fireflies")

A touch of humanity: Sakuma candies
I recently wrote that we need to do more to to confront the reality of nuclear war. I suggested that, instead of trying to put the fire and the blast of nuclear war out of view, we should articulate a curriculum about it and confront it.

Everybody knows about a few seminal resources like the book Hiroshima by John Hersey. Another essential resource is an animated film (anime) from Japan: Grave of the Fireflies.

Grave of the Fireflies captures the experience of the people in Japanese cities in the last months of WWII. It doesn't specifically depict the fire of the nuclear bombing; but it does convey the experience of the fire-bombing.

It's about the children

Grave of the Fireflies: Seita, with Setsuko on his back,
searches for a way out as the neighborhood erupts in flames
following a U.S. firebombing.
The main reason I think Grave of the Fireflies is so important is the way it conveys the horror of the fire-bombing, and at the same time gets you to embrace the two children portrayed as human beings.

I particularly like a scene of the two children on the beach. I was amazed at the way the animators captured the facial expressions and movements and moods of the little sister, Setsuko.  (Perhaps you have to have spent some time around toddlers to see just how precise the characterization is.)

The scenes in which the children try to escape their neighborhood as the incendiary bombs fall, and the fire rapidly spreads through all the wooden houses, is truly terrifying. I realized that this is a hellish situation which animation is actually able to help us imagine in a way that is more impactful, perhaps, than even what could be accomplished with live action.

And, of course, it is the combination of the fire and the fact that it is a couple of children that are up against it that makes the reality of Grave of the Fireflies so undeniable.

Doorway to a large (graphic, sci-fi) literature in Japan

I think Grave of the Fireflies is especially important as a part of the "Curriculum of Fire and Blast" because young people are especially likely to connect to it.

First, it is a product of the tremendously successfuly Studio Ghibli -- and thus is a "sister" creation to a set of anime films -- such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and many more -- that young people really connect to.

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture,
exhibition catalog by Takashi Murakami.
In addition, it is a "cousin" of a much wider oeuvre of Japanese pop culture, much of it relating directly or indirectly to the experience of the atomic bombing. This literature is explained in fascinating detail in the illustrated catalog, Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, by Takashi Murakami. Some of the works covered range from the Barefoot Gen series -- a literal chronicling of a boy's experience in Japan at the time of the atomic bombing -- to science fiction works like Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and many, many more.. Again: these are tremendously accessible to young people.

Hanging on to our humanity

A motif that runs through the film, and that no one who sees Grave of the Fireflies can ever forget, is the tin of "Sakuma" brand fruit candies.

Grave of the Fireflies: Sakuma candies
We see the brother and sister share the candies.

We see the relish with which the little sister savors the candies.

We can appreciate at a distance how these little treats can be an object of desire, a symbol of stewardship and hope for the future, and an outlet for the senses, even in the midst of devastation.

Grave of the Fireflies: Are there any left?
And more . . .

The tidy tin and beautiful, brightly-colored candies are a little piece of civility, of the pleasure of human craft, that we can all see and keep relating to in the film.

Most of all, the tin, the candies -- in fact, all of Grave of the Fireflies -- remind us that the whole point is to somehow remain human.

Related posts

"It's not enough to remember this just once a year; it's not enough that we make a single book -- Hiroshima -- required reading, and never go beyond that. There should be a whole canon that people study progressively, year by year, to grasp and retain the horror of this."

(See FIRE AND BLAST: A Curriculum that Confronts Nuclear Danger?)

I don't think Alanna and I ever talked about what it must be like to be trying to escape a shower of sparks and hot ash. But she seemed to know that the sparks and hot ash are too important a part of the picture to be left out.

(See The Children Are Waiting )

The spectre of cities on fire was a particularly Japanese reality in 1954.  What will a Godzilla produced in the U.S. in 2013 zero in on? Will the American Godzilla evoke a particularly American pain? To what end?

(See GODZILLA! and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves . . . )

I'm trying to understand: "What was Hayao Miyazaki thinking (when he made his latest animated film, The Wind Rises)?" How can this most humane (and antiwar) of artists created an homage to the creator of the Japanese Zero fighter plane?

(See Boys and Their Toys (Trying to Understand "The Wind Rises"))

It's a pitch-perfect antiwar tale -- timeless.  You can read about it on the Michael Sporn Animation blog, and watch it in two parts on Youtube. I don't know what part of "The Hat" I like best: the totally convincing dialogue (spoken by Dizzy Gillespie and Dudley Moore)? the original soundtrack they created?  the mythic arc of the story? the exquisite drawings? Where are we going to get more of this kind of work to power the movement to abolish war?

(See Antiwar Animation: A Lost Art? )

Eventually, in large part due to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the United States was converted from a country in which a small number of people thought slavery needed to be ended into a country determined to act to end slavery. This literary work took the movement wide, and it took it deep.

Why is a novel an important tool for creative resistance?

(See Creative Resistance 101: Uncle Tom's Cabin )