Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grim Reaper On Seal Of Government Agency Funded By Thee & Me

Not a parody -- believe it or not, this is the seal of this taxpayer supported government program.
If you've ever taught middle school, you've seen a lot of margin doodles that looked like studies for this cartoonish yet chilling logo. Hey, maybe one of your former students got paid to design it. Maybe your admonishments not to draw scenes of violence on schoolwork fell on deaf ears because the kid knew he, not his teacher, was the one swimming in the mainstream.

The Nazi party and the Bolsheviks had a lot better graphic designers, that's for sure.

Why would a US government agency have a logo of the grim reaper? Because we are super proud of our Grim Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle aka UAV aka drone. It can kill a LOT of people by remote control, and it costs a ton of money to manufacture and operate, thereby ensuring that the 0.01% -- military-industrial complex top executives -- don't fall on hard times.

Above we see what they call the PEO (rhymes with CEO) handing over command of this branch of our military. How to feel proud of being in charge of killing people without risking your own safety? Have a spiffy uniform with lots of ribbons on it! And make sure you get the lucrative consulting and/ or media jobs (like retired Gen. Wesley Clark on the new rah-rah war "reality" show Stars Earn Stripes). Wonder where outgoing Rear Admiral William Shannon is headed? He looks pretty happy about it.

A photo that's making the rounds on facebook puts some of this in perspective:
Meanwhile the Pentagon is doing the lobbying work of its corporate patrons, crying poverty if sequestration budget cuts go through. From The Hill: 

Pentagon warns sequester cuts will lead to ‘unready, hollow’ force by Jeremy Herb

A top Pentagon official warned Congress on Wednesday that sequestration would be a “major step” to creating “an unready, hollow” military force, as lawmakers and the Obama administration spar over a plan to avert the looming automatic spending cuts.

Testifying at a long-awaited House Armed Services Committee hearing on sequestration cuts, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter began laying out some of the impacts of the $55 billion cut facing the Pentagon in 2013 if the sequestration cuts are not reversed.

Carter said the across-the-board cuts would require the Pentagon to “substantially modify and scale back the new defense strategy,” which was crafted last year as the Defense Department prepared for $487 billion in budget reductions already scheduled for the next decade.

Carter and acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jeffrey Zients told the committee Wednesday that sequestration would be devastating and should never go into effect, bluntly telling Congress to fix the cuts before they hit on Jan. 2, 2013...
But it's not all about hardware. Even if bombing gets done mostly by robots in the wet dreams of the Pentagon's future, somebody's still got to go in and kick those doors down in the middle of the night. Thus the announcement this week on USA Today's front page: Army to expand citizen soldiers' training periods.
Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, said the wars went on for so long, that fewer people remember the peacetime schedule. 
Just as the picture at the beginning of this post was worth a thousand words, I'll end with a different eloquent image. Caption: a soldier holds his newborn prior to boarding his flight back to the endless state of war that U.S. citizens now find themselves in. Isn't war fun?


chrisrushlau said...

With such talents and resources, quite simply I cannot comprehend how we keep losing all these wars!!!
Could it be we don't have stylish enough uniforms?
Those Israeli berets, OMG!
I have a license from the Chief Rabbi to take the Lord's name in vain for purposes of national salvation.
It's not that the end justifies the means for some people. That's merely a definition of "end" as something to be achieved by struggle. The value of the goal determines the appropriate expense to be risked. The problem we face is people having a means but no end and yet thrashing around, lashing out, to no conscious purpose: "Ah, I see I have a hammer: well, what shall I bang on?" Or, "I have tenure and must publish, but don't want to offend any powerful person, so whom can I dump on?"
I've just abandoned reading, halfway through, a Ph.D. thesis published in 1973 by U. Kentucky, which was supposedly attempting to analyze the "crisis in democratic theory" arising out of a supposed clash between "scientific naturalism" and "absolutist rationalism", in which the author, who abandoned history to become a lawyer and law professor, stoutly refused to define his terms. What the hell is "naturalism" as applied to a social scientist or social philosopher? A hundred sixty pages was enough chance to define the term. The special case of it, apparently, for legal scholars is called, not just by the author, "realism": which reduces law to the actions of the government and lawyering to predicting those actions--but if you quote its own proponents to this effect the author accuses you of being "hostile". But what is "realism" here? Somehow "naturalism" has to do with empiricism, but empiricism is an abstraction, as is realism (and reality). A common noun is an abstraction, standing for both the case in point and all the other, absent, members of the category. If a name merely stands for the case in point, it's a proper noun, a George. As in, "This war is a hell of a George." If people are forbidden to use abstractions, well, we end up with cartoons and endless wars.
This intellectual wasteland is described by John Lennon in "Paperback Writer": "but I need a job so I want to be a paperback writer."
The shame is that we the consumers put up with it.
Think back to the first time you heard that the successor drone to the Predator was the Reaper. Or the first time you heard of the Predator.
That was your wake-up call.
Good article.

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