May 29, 2006

At the Veterans Museum.

In Madison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Counterpoint, a shop window;

store window


Mr. Magoo said...

Why is opposition to the Iraq war a "counter-point" to exhibits about WWI or WWII? I don't see anything anti-veteran or anti-WWI or anti-WWII in that window. Do you?

So why are you implying that opposition to the war in Iraq is a "counter-point" to honoring veterans of earlier wars?

Stirring up the hate mongers on Memorial Day, I guess.

I liked you better in huge glasses.

Ann Althouse said...

Look more closely at the pictures. Even Vietnam is there in the museum pictures. The museum covers all the wars that Wisconsinites fought in. Obviously, the difference in tone between the museum and the store window is clear. Why are you seeing hate, by the way? I offered no commentary other than "counterpoint." And the store window has peace signs and John Lennon material that clearly transcends opposition to the Iraq war. There is a sticker that says "Good Terrorist, Bad Terrorist," with pictures of Bush and Osama Bin Laden. Why don't you look a little more closely and think a little more before you make hateful accusations of hate? And look in a mirror, look at yourself, before writing things about others. Well, this post was kind of a mirror, and you did see yourself, but you didn't recognize what you saw.

Ann Althouse said...

"I liked you better in huge glasses."

A man who says things like that to a woman is a sexist. It's in the same category with statements like "don't worry your pretty little head." You need to look long and hard at yourself, man.

Jim Hu said...

Expecially since, to the extent that your readers only know you via your blogging, most of us didn't know you at all when you had those glasses.

Which means liking you now or then is only based on appearance.

Seven Machos said...

Reasonator: "I can criticize the war and criticize the actions of soldiers in Iraq all I want. IT'S MY RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN! But don't you dare question my patriotism by suggesting that a bumper sticker saying 'Bush Died Many Died' or a poster blaming Gonzalez for prison torture somehow goes against the spirit of Memorial Day. I can criticize to high heaven. YOU can't criticize me or people I might agree with. Never. That's stirring up HATE."

Is that about your argument, Reasonator?

vnjagvet said...

reasonator uses some of the same rhetorical techniques as our friend jaquxxo, doesn't (s?)he.

Elizabeth said...

My father, along with 3 of his 5 brothers, served in WWII. He was decorated for his bravery, and for being wounded. He went on to serve 20 years, and then another 20 in the Red Cross, working for veterans' healthcare, and other rights. He was passionately pro-serviceman, but also passionately against our actions in Vietname. Three of my four brothers also served, one in Vietnam. Two of them oppose our presence in Iraq. There's no opposition in being patriotic, pro-military, and against specific military engagements or tactics undertaken by our country.

Seven Machos said...

I'm sure quxxo is going to get erased here, as s/he should. But, seriously, Big Guy: why the invective toward Ann Althouse, someone I would call a reconstructed, moderate Democrat? Aren't there other fish for you to fry out there? I think it's more than passing strange that you keep coming here, changing your name, and ranting. It's kind of like a virtual stalking, really.

More generally, the only people here I see spewing hate and gall are the anti-war lefties. The best part is, they always call "hateful" the people they see as their adversaries. It's weird.

John Jenkins said...

At the risk of getting involved in politics on the internet (which is always a battle of definitions, rather than substantive discussion), I think I see the point-counterpoint, even if others don't.

On the one hand you have the Veteran's Museum, a celebration and honoring of our martial past, and the martial contributions of Wisconsinites in particular.

On the other, you have people who are opposed to the current war, reflexively, and not necessarily for the right reasons. There are many people who think the Iraq war was a bad idea out of good motives, just as there are some who supported out of bad motives.

The image, to me, invokes the reflexive, conspiratorial opposition that I would argue is poisonous and bad, rather than a considered opposition (if you think that a bumber sticker or a poster is a profound political statement, you might want to think a little harder).

So you have a juxtaposition between a considered, somber reflection on an honorable past and an ill-considered, possibly reflexive opposition to the Iraq war.

Reflexive lefistm (a la quoxxo, or whatever he calls himself these days) is anti-American and unpatriotic, just like relexive rightism is: both are abdications of thought and reason. Given a country explicitly founded, at least in part, on enlightenment values, those strike me as the least patriotic positions possible. I'm going back to talking about chewing gum now.

Brendan said...

Someone please explain to Reasonator that Memorial Day encompasses more than WW1 and II.

For lost causes like Jacques, who have the audacity to politicize a day of remembrance, the war is all cost, no benefits; all misery, no progress. "Hopeless!" "Quagmire!" "Disaster!" Disaster?
Compared to what? Saddam's little pre-invasion paradise? Let me throw a little hypothetical at you: let's say in 1944 there is no "world war" butthe US and Great Britain decide to invade Germany under the pretext of stopping Hitler's alleged atomic program. Instead of finding said
program, however, we discover Nazi concentration camps instead. Wouldn't the invasion still have been WORTH it? On the one hand you have embarrassment over not finding any weapons. On the other, you have millions liberated from a genocidal maniac. That's one "mistake" I (and the world) could live with. Similarly, if Saddam were indeed a monster of our own making
(as leftists like Jacques seem to imply), did we not have a moral obligation to the long-suffering people of Iraq to ATONE for that mistake by toppling his regime? Aren't 50 million Iraqi people "worth it," weapons programs
or not?

But don't take my word for it. In a poll conducted in January for by the Program on International Policy Attitudes PIPA) at the University of Maryland, Iraqis were asked, among other things,

"Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-
Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?" 77% say it was worth it, while 22% say it was not.
Overall, 64% of Iraqis say that Iraq is heading in the right direction,
while just 36% say it is heading in the wrong direction. This represents
a sharp upward movement from when the International Republican Institute asked this question in November 2005 and just 49% said that Iraq was headed in the right direction and 36% said the wrong direction.

Curiously, the Left, which once used to champion the downtrodden and
oppressed, couldn't be more cavalier. "F*ck 'em. You're own your own. Saddam torturing you and throwing your remains into mass graves? Tough shit. Your suffering isn't worth one American life, let alone 2,000." And so on.

Likewise, the Left's idolatry of all things Murtha and his designation as
"untouchable" or "unimpeachable" is laughable. "He served in Vietnam, so
don't you DARE criticize his shortsighted Iraq strategies or I'll accuse you of a smear!" WTF? What the hell does his valor (yes, valor) in Vietnam have to do with modern-day Iraq? John McCain suffered ten times as much yet HE says we should stay the course. Where are HIS kudos from the likes of Jacques or Murtha's new-found allies in the MSM? Why does Murtha have "absolute moral authority" but pro-war vets like McCain do not?

I'm not an "America, right or wrong" kind of guy. Abu Ghraib was a
disgrace that could haunt us in that region for years to come, and the
number of post invasion mistakes by the Pentagon (not enough boots on the ground, poor security, inadequate armor, pourous borders, collateral damage) could probably fill a small phone book. But Bush never promised us a rose garden, and we aren't giving the enemy nearly enough credit for what's transpired since "shock and awe." The insurgents are smart, technologically sophisticated, well-armed, mobile, and adaptable. But they're also outnumbered. It's 50,000 holdouts versus 50 million Iraqis who yearn for a better life free of tyranny. Democracy in Iraq is in its embryonic stage, and panicky sellouts like Murtha and Kerry--still traumatized by our failure in Vietnam--want to kill it in utero. Despite the Left's overheated verbiage accusing Bush of
being a "warmonger" and a "dictator," the real dictator is now on trial, held by the people he so viciously wronged, and it's directly due to Bush's steadfastness and determination and not at all to the resistance to taking any action repeatedly and embarrassingly demonstrated by you on the Left. My conscience is clear. How 'bout yours?

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of prisoners of war, one thing I learned at the museum was that during the Civil War, 80% of the North's prisoners died in captivity.

Elizabeth said...

I got an email earlier today wishing me a happy Yankee holiday. Ann's note, along with the email, reminded me that Memorial Day began as a post-Civil War recognition of fallen Northern soldiers.

Despite my family being Southern, most of my ancestors fought with the North--just so's you know, what with that Yankee comment.

knoxgirl said...

It's kind of like a virtual stalking, really.

That's exactly what it is.

I mean, how long has it been going on? months?

The tactics employed: the name-changing, the personal attacks, the need to post on almost every subject, coupled with the need to re-direct the subject to his agenda... the obvious disgust for our host as well as the entire community here... and more than anything else, the flat-out bizarro refusal to just go away.

All of quckso's partisan bullsh*t aside, there really is something at once creepy and sad, narcissistic and pathetic, about his continued and hostile presence here. Weird doesn't even begin to describe it. I suspect "loser" might be a good start, though.

The Drill SGT said...


I had not realized that it was that high. At Andersonville, the landmark Confederate prison it was 29% deaths. Perhaps there were others before they were transferred to that location.


I agree. A guy I admire, McCain had issues with the war before and since we got into it, but his sound bite still reverberates with me:

"We're in it, we've got to win it!"

Whether or not you agree about the reasons for our initial entry into Iraq, we can't quit now before we stabilize the country.

Internet Ronin said...

I used to think that, like most successful trolls, quxxo continued to post here because people invariably responded to him. Years of experience with such people led me to believe that the only real solution was for Ann to mercilessly delete any post he makes as soon as possible, because it is almost impossible to get everyone participating in an internet discussion to agree not to respond to someone.

These days, I think of him less as a troll and more as a mentally unbalanced individual in desperate need of treatment before he harms himself or others.

The Drill SGT said...


I was thinking the same thing.

The lad needs some anger management therapy.

He's one sick puppy.

Palladian said...

Let's quit talking about that entity (you know who). It just confirms that it was successful in completely poisoning this well, which is its intention.

To any vets reading this, thank you for your service, and to those soldiers who aren't here to read this, may the memory of your sacrifices for this freedom be eternal.

John Jenkins said...

Drill Sgt., that number seems excessively high to me (the 80% one). I'm looking into it currently, but I don't see how you can get there unless you compltely exclude prisoners paroled and do some other number juggling (e.g. technically someone captured with a terrible chest would would have died in custody, but that's not really the fault of the captor).

chuck b. said...

Cool museum! I love those dioramas. I like how they're lit up too. Dioramas are more for kids I guess, but I still like them.

One Memorial Day when I was living in Georgia I drove down to Andersonville, the site of a notorious Civil War POW camp, now the only nat'l park dedicated to all American POWs. Noone wanted to go with me, so I went alone.

I walked the perimeter of the camp under the hot Georgia sun and thought about the people who were held there, exposed to the elements for a year or more while they slowly starved.

Being a prisoner of war must be absolutely the most terrifying thing.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe the museum got the 80% number wrong, but that's what it said. Presumably, a lot of men died of diseases. I did see a picture of a man who was so starved that I had to lean in close to see how it could even be a man. It had a face but otherwise looked like a skeleton, right down to the kneecaps and dual bones in the lower legs. It was worse than any Nazi death camp survivor photo I've ever seen.

The Drill SGT said...

Here's the USPS site for Andersonville:

John Jenkins said...

The only numbers I can recall (and it's admittedly been a while) were about 30% of those who were in Civil War prison camps on both sides died. The most famous one is Andersonville in South Carolina, but there were many of them.

It was certainly a horrible place to be because disease and malnutrition ran rampant. The consequences were quite a bit as bad as those in a WW2 concentration camp, but given that the cruelties inflicted were rarely intentional, I wouldn't place the two eras on equal footing.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Drill SGT said...

Most the civil war deaths wre starvation, in the South at least. The South overall was on starvation rations, and in the days before the Geneva Convention, prisoners were getting less than the general (starving) population

Internet Ronin said...

BTW, did anyone else read sippican cottage's touching Memorial Day Weekend post?

The Drill SGT said...

On this Memorial Day, I was just watching an ABC news piece on the Old Guard. The Army Regiment that guards Arlington Cemetery, and "plants" veterans.

I was remembering a "good" anti-war flick called "Gardens of Stone" about the Old Guard during the Vietnam War.

Joseph Hovsep said...

According to the book Elmira: Death Camp of the North, the Civil War prison camp in Elmira, NY, had the highest death rate of any prison camp in the North: 25%. The overall death rate of all prison camps in the North was just over 11%; in the Sourth, it was just over 15%.

reader_iam said...

I don't know if it's precisely accurate to say that Memorial Day ( Decoration Day) was established only to honor Union soldiers, per se. My understanding was that it was the South which refused to observe that day, preferring instead to honor that's side dead on a different day, which is what took place until after the WWI.

As for the prison camps: Years ago, my parents on a number of occasions took my brother and me to Ft. Delaware on Pea Patch Island, DE, which was used as a prison camp for confederate POWs. It came to be known as the "Andersonville of the North." Visiting and touring the preserved fort/prison, especially the underground cells, was quite the eye-opener!

Some have claimed that Pea Patch was even worse than Andersonville.

Interestingly, though, when I googled to confirm that it was still open for visitors, I came across 2000 book which appears to be an effort to debunk Pea Patch Island's infamy. Coincidentally enough, one of its co-authors is an old boss of mine, back when I worked as a daily journalist.

Weird, small world this is!!!!

reader_iam said...

Sorry for the OT, but this has been a day of weird coincidences via the 'net, with this just being the latest, so I'm a bit agog.

The referenced "old boss" also supervised, at various times, the person at whose place I guestblog, who is himself and published civil-war history book author.

So interesting, the layers of, ahem, "linkage" via the 'net, and not in the page link sense.

Ann Althouse said...

I live just a few blocks from Camp Randall, where 1,000 Civil War prisoners were held. I see that 120 of them died.

Aspasia M. said...

The North had a lot more resources with which to feed their prisoners. (In constrast to the South, particularly near the end of the war.) I know in places like St. Louis, they allowed women who supported the Southern troops to bring food & such to prisoners.

But the lack of antibiotics & Cholera caused many deaths.

I had some ancestors that fought for the Union. (They were from Iowa.)

Anyways: in the counter-point I see (I think?) I picture of Delay.

A bunch of the political stuff in that window does not reference Iraq. I can't read a bunch of the signs very well, but it looks like a general political display, not a specific anti-Iraq war display.

Ann Althouse said...

If you click on the photo you can get to much larger versions and you can read everything.

MadisonMan said...

John Jenkins, those things are in the shop window because they sell, I'm guessing. There's no way of knowing the shopkeeper's view on the war, is there?

When my great-great-grandfather was taken prisoner at a battle on Whitewater River (the same one the Clintons made famous), my great-great-grandmother went to tend to him.

I was bummed today because I was out biking and missed the shooting at the Confederate Cemetery in Forest Hills. (They have a salute every Memorial Day).

MadisonMan said...

Just a footnote: In Great-great-grandfather's regiment, 67 died on the battle field. 321 died from disease. Those are the totals for the enlisted men.

I guess I'm curious, then -- I'll have to sometime go check out the Vet Museum -- to see how the disease death aspect is addressed for earlier wars. It's not something I really think about when I consider Civil War mortality, and I guess I should.

John Jenkins said...

MadisonMan, in a perfect market, that's true, you stock what sells. However, a lot of the time what's in the window is either something you (1) bought a lot of and need to move or (2) isn't selling and you need to move. My guess is that there is a confluence among the political opinions of the seller and various buyers and the seller has taken advantage of that in what to stock. I don't think that affects what I said (though as a commentary, it would be more on those who bought than those who sold, who might merely be pursuing profit).

Aspasia M. said...

Madison Man,

Cholora was a large source of mortality during the Civil War.

Particularly in situations like moving troops up and down the Misssissippi the disease would spread. There was a island used for quarantine near St. Louis.

Entire regiments were devistated by Cholera. (I think the 66th of the USC Inf - but I'd have to check.)

Sloanasaurus said...

There will always be people in this country who hate the military. They think the volunteers are all fools - going off to fight in Mr. Madison's...I mean Mr. Lincoln's...whoops...I mean Mr. Bush's war. Some of them masquerade on this website. The only time they care about casualties is when they can use it politically to dishearten the people who actually do care.

It makes little difference. We will also always have people who hate because of race, gender, etc... I am just grateful to live in a country where there still is a lot of motivation for people to volunteer to join up and fight for causes such as freedom and liberty. As long as that motivation is there, we will survive as a country and as a civilization. What other country has freed more people from the bonds of tyranny in the history of mankind. What other country sends its sons off to foreign lands to bring liberty to places they can't even find on a map.

Take time to see the world with eyes open (and your history books open) and you will see that America is the greatest force for good ever to exist in history.

We owe much of that to our military.

Aspasia M. said...

ooops- It was the Fifty-sixth USCT reg. 156 Men died of Cholera. (I think the month was August of 1865.) They were traveling by steam boat up to St. Louis from AK to be mustered out of the military.

chris said...

i was seriously saddened by this memorial day post.

museums are places to remember and honor ... a storefront selling stickers to madison lefties ain't. placing a monument next to a bunch of slogans is just a tad manipulative.

when one makes a "counterpoint," it's not about another's "tone," it's about an argument. here, stickers aren't speaking to remembering our fallen soldiers.

yeah, i support staying the course in iraq. but, i can also see how people would be really, really mad about dishonoring our soldiers by "choosing a war" and conducting it so poorly. i guess i see more in common with each set of images than you do.

Brenden, Chuck Hagel said yesterday on MTP that the Mid-East is less safe now that we invaded. In the long term, things will hopefully get better ... people may have freedom, but since there's zero stability, it may not last too long. That's why we don't (and no longer can) topple other evil dictators.

Those who think the left hates the soldiers/miliarty are stuck thinking of the '60s left. That extreme wing has long been shunned; the new left takes pride in standing up for the military and soldiers and are truely sad to see it disgraced by incompetance, unaccountable officials and manipulation.

Ann Althouse said...

This post represents my experience, being in Madison, where this museum feels very incongruous. The last picture isn't something I went looking for. I came out of the museum and was walking back to my car, the usual route down State Street, and saw this window. I hadn't been planning to take more pictures and I wasn't looking for something to make a counterpoint. I used the photograph because for me it seemed to complete the picture of what there was to see in Madison. Putting the photos together here creates something for readers to complete in their own minds. I knew that would happen, of course, and I was interested to see what people would say. It was an accidental juxtaposition in real life for me, a matter of walking down a familiar street. I offered little text. You put things together in your own mind. You saw a challenge and fleshed it out. That's interesting. Reasonator saw hate mongering. Anyway, I understand the argument that this isn't a proper Memorial Day post -- that there's some concept like that. The same with the previous post. There's supposedly some protocol for the holiday. I never noticed Americans being so abstemious about the holiday. How much of this is defensiveness from anti-military types who were hoping to avoid any criticism on the day? A lot, I think.

Michael Farris said...

The counterpoint to me is that the US is one of the (very) few countries to have a large, powerful military _and_ a vocal minority which feels free to publicly criticize individual military/government policies/actions. That's an uncommon feat and Americans have every right be proud of it.

Dissenters (although they can be a royal pain in the ass, yes) are the canaries in the coalmine. Be glad they're there and visible, start worrying when they're not.

verfication word: Jikeffor, a small island in the artic, scene of an unimportant skirmish between German and Icelandic forces in WWII.

Sloanasaurus said...

Althouse, I think it was a fine post for the context of your blog. There is no one on here who reads and posts who has the right to be offended (including yourself).

Your photo of the anti-war shop is a reminder. It's a good thing to know that there are people out there who passionatly hate America. Further, it's a good thing to know that people make their living passionately hating America, which is why we must take such hating seriously.

MadisonMan said...

Further, it's a good thing to know that people make their living passionately hating America, which is why we must take such hating seriously.

What could be more American than making a living selling effluvia to the masses? How is that hating America? Reserve your animus for the people who buy that stuff -- don't hate the person who sees a market and exploits it.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, please explain how being anti-war means "hating America." That seems to be the rightwing phrase du jour.

Anonymous said...

Ann, your post was at the very least manipulative in a manner you may not have intended and that you should clarify.

The title of your post was "At the Veteran's Museum", but it becomes clear only late in your comment thread that this wasn't the Museum's giftshop.

Just down the street from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health are a dozen head shops. And your point is?

You speak of people projecting their thoughts onto your tabula rasa, Rorschach posts. But when you write This post represents my experience, being in Madison, where this museum feels very incongruous, isn't that exactly what you are doing?

What is incongruous to you is probably not to many other people, liberal and conservative alike.

I have never been to Madison, but I lived in Berkeley for ten years, and if the Bay Area can proudly host dozens if not hundreds of celebrations, memorials, and museums to our soldiers, I find it hard to imagine that Madison cannot.

Contrary to you and your readers' comments, liberals love America, liberals are very patriotic, and liberals commemorate Memorial Day.

Ann, to the soldiers and families involved, the fallen weren't Democrats, nor Republicans, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Immigrants, or Blue Bloods. They were our best.

West Coast Independent said...

I realize that I’m seriously off base here, but am I the only one or did anyone else think of Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard?” when they saw the poster in the third picture

The mama pajama rolled out of bed, and she ran to the police station
When the papa found out, he began to shout, and he started the investigation
It's against the law, it was against the law
What the mama saw, it was against the law.
The mama looked down and spit on the ground ev'ry time my name gets mentioned
The papa say "Oy, if I get that boy
I'm gonna stick him in the house of detention."
I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm goin',
I'm on my way, I'm takin' my time, but I don't know where.

Goodbye to Rosie, the Queen of Corona
See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard
See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard

In a couple of days they come and take me away
But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest come to get me released
We's all on the cover of Newsweek
Well, I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm goin'
I'm on my way, I'm takin' my time, but I don't know where

Goodbye to Rosie, the Queen of Corona
See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard
See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard
See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard

Well, back to the serious business of solving the worlds problems on Ann’s Blog.


Ann Althouse said...

West Coast: Thanks! I didn't think of that, but now that you point it out it's so obvious.