This photo of a mother mourning her fallen soldier son was published in The New Yorker several years back.


It captures the pain and loss this day is about as well as anything could. Corporal Khan was 20 years old.

140 replies
  1. 1
    satby says:

    Heartbreaking, every time I see it.

  2. 2
    Derelict says:

    I reminder that war’s victims are not confined to the battlefield.

    And I’m sure that a certain subset of my countrymen looked at that photo and the first thought they had was, “Goddamn mooslim!” More’s the pity that this should be their first reaction.

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    It’s not possible to have a “Happy” Memorial Day – so, have a “Thankful” Memorial Day, folks!

  4. 4
    ulee says:

    This photo has me in tears. Very upsetting.

  5. 5
    Chris says:


    Or “goddamn politically correct liberal media only cares about Muslim soldiers, that’s why they published this.”

  6. 6
    liberal says:

    @Derelict: well, depends on how you define “battlefield”.

    We essentially defined all Indochina a battlefield and wound up killing a few million people. Oopsie!

  7. 7
    Amir Khalid says:

    Colin Powell mentioned this photo in an interview announcing his endorsement of Obama in 2008. He spoke at some length about it, in fact, using it to speak out against anti-Muslim prejudice.

  8. 8
    Schlemizel says:

    There was a poem from the late 60s, it was a person talking about all the medals (I think it was his brother) had won. The line that tore me up was about how there were so many big words that he had to look up in the dictionary, including “posthumous”.

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    Let’s not forget one of the greatest anti-war songs of all time – by The Zombies:

    A butcher yes that was my trade
    But the king’s shilling is now my fee
    A butcher I may as well have stayed
    For the slaughter that I see

    And the preacher in his pulpit
    Sermon: “Go and fight, do what is right”
    But he don’t have to hear these guns
    And I’ll bet he sleeps at night

    And I
    And I can’t stop shaking
    My hands won’t stop shaking
    My arms won’t stop shaking
    My mind won’t stop shaking
    I want to go home
    Please let me go home
    Go home

    And I have seen a friend of mine
    Hang on the wire
    Like some rag toy
    Then in the heat the flies come down
    And cover up the boy
    And the flies come down in
    Gommecourt, Thiepval,
    Mametz Wood, and French Verdun
    If the preacher he could see those flies
    Wouldn’t preach for the sound of guns

    And I
    And I can’t stop shaking
    My hands won’t stop shaking
    My arms won’t stop shaking
    My mind won’t stop shaking
    I want to go home
    Please let me go home
    Go home

    Here’s the link to the Youtube of this song:

  10. 10
    PurpleGirl says:

    @c u n d gulag: You could say “Have a peaceful day.”

  11. 11
    Schlemizel says:

    @c u n d gulag:
    Masters of War
    With God On OUr Side
    – Dylan

    Pin A Medal On the Man
    I Ain’t FIghtin Any more
    One More Parade
    The War Is Over
    – Phil Ochs

    Its a crying shame that there has to be so many great anti-war songs when any one of them should be enough.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: Unlike the rest of the Bush admin, Powell seems self-aware enough that this young man’s death would weigh on him. It should.

  13. 13
    PurpleGirl says:

    A poem that has always haunted me:

    Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967). Counter-Attack and Other Poems. 1918.

    Does it Matter?

    DOES it matter?—losing your legs?…
    For people will always be kind,
    And you need not show that you mind
    When the others come in after hunting
    To gobble their muffins and eggs.

    Does it matter?—losing your sight?…
    There’s such splendid work for the blind;
    And people will always be kind,
    As you sit on the terrace remembering
    And turning your face to the light.

    Do they matter?—those dreams from the pit?…
    You can drink and forget and be glad,
    And people won’t say that you’re mad;
    For they’ll know you’ve fought for your country
    And no one will worry a bit.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    He has his own war crimes from Viet Nam to answer for still. Aiding and abetting what he knew to be an illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq is just a cherry on his shit sundae.

    Those bastards all better pray every night that the god they profess to believe in does not actually exist.

  15. 15
    PurpleGirl says:

    From Pete Seeger, in 1967: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    War sucks.

    Which is why you couldn’t get the deserting coward or the Dark Lord anywhere near it when they were of prime age to visit the rice paddies.

    Honorless curs, both of them.

  17. 17
    Tommy says:

    There are so many photos, so many. This is the one that will forever be burnt into my mind about our senseless wars. I could go on and on with comments, but the picture speaks for itself. Just a wife that said she wanted to spend a final night with her husband. This happened.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    IIRC, Bush ended the tradition of allowing the press to photograph coffins comImg home (which Obama restored). Because the best way to honor vets’ memories is to hide their sacrifice, I guess.

  19. 19
    Anton Sirius says:

    @PurpleGirl: Those British WWI poets were all scarred geniuses. This one from Charles Sorley tears me apart every time I read it:

    When you see millions of the mouthless dead
    Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
    Say not soft things as other men have said,
    That you’ll remember. For you need not so.
    Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
    It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
    Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
    Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
    Say only this, ‘They are dead.’ Then add thereto,
    ‘Yet many a better one has died before.’
    Then, scanning all the o’ercrowded mass, should you
    Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
    It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
    Great death has made all his for evermore.

  20. 20
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @PurpleGirl: Sigfried Sassoon as well as Wilford Owen, who fought in WWI were great voices of anti-war literature. Also Erich Maria Remarqure whose novel All Quiet on the Front was repeatedly banned by various governments because it exposed war as it was. For the what that war did to the women of that era, Vera Brittain the novelist and Kathe Kollwitz the artist, I would recommend to young people today.

  21. 21
    dp says:

    Too many.

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:


    Because the best way to honor vets’ memories is to hide their sacrifice, I guess.

    Because seeing coffins coming home reminds people that war has a cost in more than just money. Not good if you’re worried about the next election.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    While I appreciate those that served, I still have a pit in my stomach when first Bush and then Palin went throughout the country, identifying true patriots. For Bush the true patriots were the ones in Iraq dying for his cause, not the countries cause. A bunch of Saudi Arabians attacked us on 9/11 and just like Reagan before him he attacked another country but this time thousands died. Palin was just as bad. She tried to go to white rural counties and identify them as the true patriots.
    Correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me the first American to die for Bush’s war in Iraq was buried in his home country of Mexico.

  24. 24
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @PurpleGirl: Have you heard Richard Shindell’s version of that song?

  25. 25
    demz taters says:

    @Roger Moore: Who says they didn’t learn anything from Vietnam?

  26. 26
    ulee says:

    I remember listening to right wing talk show host Howie Carr ragging on protesters in the days before the war in Iraq. Self congratulatory Howie remarked that those people were going to look pretty silly in three weeks. Well, Howie, the war didn’t end in three weeks, did it?

  27. 27
    mdblanche says:

    Well, the Republicans think they’ve finally found the scandal to take their Great Black Whale down (again), so it’s time for them to do what they always do: overreach. Because nothing says “we care about veterans” like attacking veterans’ groups for not carrying your water. It’s as if even the VFW thinks it exists to advocate for veterans instead of Republicans.

  28. 28
    scav says:

    @Baud: Tommy’s photo did entirely bring back to mind those enlightened times where those More Skilled in Patriotism Than I eagerly subscribed to the preservation of their beautiful minds through a dignified absence of visible bodies or information concerning same, Uncle Sam Knows All Best donchaknow. Those MSIPTI. are now in arms about absolutism in govt transparency in all things, Behghazi!! as best I can tell, but they are more skilled etc etc.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:


    For Bush the true patriots were the ones in Iraq dying for his cause, not the countries cause.

    For Bush, the true patriots were the ones at home donating to his campaign. The ones dying in Iraq were just suckers.

  30. 30
    nancy darling says:

    @ulee: The third or fourth soldier to die in Iraq was Jose Gutierrez from Guatemala. He lived down the hill from me (when I was in SoCal) with his “foster” parents. He came here as a teenager, riding the rails across Mexico. He graduated from North High School and wanted to be an architect.


    Vaya con dios, Jose.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @mdblanche: owowowowowowowowow

  32. 32
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ulee: I can’t think of a lower life-form than Howie Carr. Planarians don’t deserve that level of abuse.

    I’ll never forget, when that 6-year old, Dedric Darnell Owens, got his hands on a gun in Michigan and shot a classmate, that Carr volunteered to throw the switch on the boy, his explanation — thanks, WRKO — was, “Well, you can do it now, or you can do it later, for something else .when he’s grown.”

  33. 33
    PurpleGirl says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Thanks for the link. I hadn’t heard that version before; I like the fuller instrumentation.

  34. 34
    Tommy says:

    @ulee: I will openly admit I am a hippie liberal. I know there is’t a card for being a “hippie liberal” but if there was, pretty sure I could get one. Or maybe not.

    I was for the Iraq war. I bought into the hype. I honestly am not totally clear on how this happened. But it did. I say this cause I look back at my thinking and it was wrong, wrong across the board. It is at this point I start to question myself and look to other people that were right when I was so wrong.

    Funny, sad really, those that were as wrong as me never did this. Says all that needs to be said IMHO.

  35. 35
    ulee says:

    @Tommy: We can all get duped. I actually went to city hall in 2000 and changed my voter registration to Republican so I could vote for John McCain in the primary. He convinced me that he was a good, moderate person. Now I think, Good Lord Ulee, what were you thinking?

  36. 36
    Roger Moore says:

    @demz taters:

    Who says they didn’t learn anything from Vietnam?

    I’m sure they learned a lot from Vietnam; they just learned the wrong things. Not to go all Godwin, but the hippies losing Vietnam is the American version of the Dolchstoßlegende, and the Republicans learned exactly the same wrong lessons. Both were convinced that the loss was a result of betrayal at home rather than inability to win on the battlefield, and both decided that the key to future victory was to run future wars in ways that avoided riling up resentment at home, rather than avoid the massive strategic mistakes that made losing all but inevitable.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Have you heard him do Cold Missouri Waters? Not military but most of the smoke jumpers in the Mann Gulch Fire were ex-paratroopers.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Elizabelle says:

    Fallen son.

    Squandered son.

  40. 40
    JPL says:

    @Roger Moore: You’re probably right. I was giving him to much credit.

  41. 41
    Tommy says:

    @Roger Moore: They learned something else IMHO. Don’t retreat. Retreat is losing. You have to keep keeping on.

  42. 42
    Baud says:


    I wasn’t fooled by Iraq, but have been fooled by other things. For instance, I used to believe that there was some amount of duplicity and discrimination by republicans that the media would believe went too far.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    Saw the back-and-forth in the thread below and was reminded of this cartoon by Bill Mauldin, someone always correct to mention on this holiday.

  44. 44
    rikyrah says:

    This photo still never fails to punch in the gut.

  45. 45
    gbear says:

    @Tommy: I was one of a couple of people on my block to have signs saying ‘Just say NO to war with Iraq’. The day the war started, someone snuck up to my house and painted the word ‘GO’ onto my and my neighbor’s signs. Luckily I had some paint that was the same color as the sign so I could mostly fix it, but I kept the damaged sign out for a long time after the war started. I just felt sick over the start of that war, and I really felt that it was going to result in a string of terrorist bombings in the US.

    I’m a big fan of that Zombies album that c u n d gulag links to above, and I’m going to add another anti-war song by one of their British Invasion brethren, my beloved Kinks. Some Mother’s Son from the brilliant Arthur ((Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) album.

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Not to go all Godwin, but the hippies losing Vietnam is the American version of the Dolchstoßlegende


  47. 47
    raven says:

    @rikyrah: Um, no linky.

  48. 48
    ulee says:

    The important thing is to be able to question our own beliefs. It is a strength, not a weakness, to say–Hmmm…I think I’m pretty fucking wrong—-. Cole did this, to our benefit.

  49. 49
    Roger Moore says:

    I wasn’t in favor of the Iraq war, but I wasn’t as strongly opposed as I should have been. When Iraq let the inspectors back in, I assumed that the war fever would die down because we were going to be able to get to the bottom of the WMDs. I remember thinking quite clearly that there was no rush to go to war. I just didn’t get it that Bush wanted his war and the WMDs were just an excuse; I still believed that the Republicans were capable of acting in good faith. I won’t make that mistake again.

  50. 50
    rikyrah says:

    I was never for the Iraq War. I wasn’t against War in the Middle East. I woulda been in support of a war against the country that brought us Bin Laden, an overwhelming majority of the 9-11 terrorists, and was the funder of the sect of Islam – Wahaabi – that cultivated the Jihadists against America.

    Of course, I mean Saudi Arabia.

    If the Gulf War had been against Saudi Arabia, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it.

    I had no problem with going into Afghanistan – per se, if Afghanistan were an actual country. It is not a country. It’s a land mass with tribes on it, so, no…don’t go there.

  51. 51
    Gian says:

    I made my mother in law cry when I explained how saddam was no fan of Al queda that sanctions and no fly zones had kept Iraq weak. And that Bush demanded the inspectors get out before he lost any shred left of national credibility to get his war of aggression on. But rather than weapons inspectors telling us there were no WMDs we had a war to find out there were no WMDs

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s interesting and somewhat disturbing to think how history would have been different if Bush had been willing to claim the fruits of his “toughness” without going to war.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    scav says:

    @raven: I just assumed she was referring to the one at the top.

  55. 55
    Tommy says:

    @gbear: I am always stunned how time works on people. It is hard to find anybody that is a liberal saying they were for the Iraq war, as I just did. But I recall the time and I don’t remember many liberals against it. Not somebody like you swimming upstream and yelling this is wrong. I wish there were more people like you cause maybe things would have been different!

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @Tommy: I bought Colin Powell’s rap. I did not believe someone with his background would lie.

  57. 57
    Baud says:


    But I recall the time and I don’t remember many liberals against it

    The war was pre-blogs, so that point of view may have been hard to find.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @scav: God I am dense.

  59. 59
    gbear says:

    @Tommy: There were massive protests in many cities including DC before the war started. No one wanted to listen.

    I’ll go searching for links…

    first one:

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    Fifteen years after the war to end all wars:

    “Remember My Forgotten Man” (from Gold Diggers of 1933)

  61. 61
    raven says:

    @gbear: If they were massive someone listened.

  62. 62
    debbie says:


    As I recall, liberal politicians were very publicly being bullied and called traitors.

  63. 63
    Tommy says:

    @gbear: No you don’t have to go look. I know they happened.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:


    February 15, 2003. An estimated 10 million people protesting worldwide, with at least 100,000 in New York City alone and about 50,000 each in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  65. 65
    JPL says:

    @raven: haha.. Although I have a great respect for him and have been fortunate enough to meet him and his wife, I didn’t believe his bullshit. He was being a good soldier.

  66. 66
    scav says:

    @raven: It’s a long day: it’s the internet. We’re link primed anymore.

  67. 67
    Roger Moore says:


    But I recall the time and I don’t remember many liberals against it.

    I remember some very big anti-war rallies, much bigger than any kind of pro-war rally. And I suspect there were a lot more people like me who thought there was something wrong with the rush to war but didn’t have the guts to stand up and come out full bore against it. Silent disagreement was treated as assent; that’s the big lesson I learned.

  68. 68
    Joel Hanes says:


    I know there is’t a card for being a “hippie liberal”

    Oh, but there is

  69. 69
    ulee says:

    The reason Powell lied is because he believed it would be a quick war. He was wrong. He should have put a bullet in his head a long time ago.

  70. 70
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I didn’t post these comments of mine to say you were wrong. But to say I was wrong. I was totally fucked up. Can we be clear on that?

  71. 71
    gbear says:

    Here’s a story about how bad the NYT’s and NPR’s coverage of the anti-war demonstrations was. They were downplaying the numbers because they’d bought into the war. I remember this being the time that I finally gave up on national public radio as a news source. They were fucking awful.

  72. 72
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    As long as we’re talking about Siegfried Sassoon:

    Suicide In The Trenches

    I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    War is Kind
    – Stephen Crane

    Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,
    Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
    And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
    Do not weep.
    War is kind.

    Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
    Little souls who thirst for fight,
    These men were born to drill and die.
    The unexplained glory flies above them.
    Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom–
    A field where a thousand corpses lie.

    Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
    Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,
    Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
    Do not weep.
    War is kind.

    Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
    Eagle with crest of red and gold,
    These men were born to drill and die.
    Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
    Make plain to them the excellence of killing
    And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

    Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
    On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
    Do not weep.
    War is kind!

  74. 74
    gbear says:

    Gah. Another link just got put in moderation because I used something that could be seen as a g@mbling term.

  75. 75
    raven says:

    @JPL: Well, you have and I had. I declined at trip to the Wall for Vets Day because he was the speaker.

  76. 76
    debbie says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    Wow on that last stanza. I finished reading “The First of July” last night. No one’s learned the lessons of World War I, let alone any wars since.

  77. 77
    nancy darling says:

    @gbear: I ran a small anti-war rally on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Crenshaw in Torrance, CA. The worst thing I was called was “fucking communist” by a passer-by. Phil Donahue lost his tv show because he tried to have a discussion about the war

  78. 78
    gbear says:

    @raven: I guess I meant that nobody from the media listened. My comment that’s in moderation links to a story about how the media downplayed the protests.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:


    Just pointing out that a lot of us knew it was fucked up and protested, but it was like spitting in the wind.

    Also, go to the thread below — I posted a link for you to a bunch of city bikes at different price ranges.

  80. 80
    James E. Powell says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Not to mention the painters. Otto Dix, for example.

  81. 81
    raven says:

    “Have you news of my boy Jack?”
    Not this tide.
    “When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Has any one else had word of him?”
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind —
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

    Kipling after pushing his visually impaired son to fight in the Great War.

  82. 82
    Gian says:

    The protesters were called focus groups rather dismissively at the time

  83. 83
    GregB says:

    I’m still haunted by the horribly disfigured soldier in the wedding photo with his distressed wife.

    The whole story ended terribly.

  84. 84
    NotMax says:


    On the contrary, there were those of us engaging in what has come to be known as blogging posting about it at the time and well before.

    The reach, penetration, perceived utility of and familiarity with the internet was very different, but there was no dearth of information or sentiment.

  85. 85
    scav says:

    It was easier to be overt about being against it in certain venues so we sometimes had to be very circumspect. On the upside, I remember there being one memorable extended family dinner where there was only a single individual who believed Bush co must know something they’re weren’t telling us and no quarter was given to the gullible one. Lucked out on that front. Going to an anti-war rally in the Loop is what finally convinced me not to trust Chicago cops an single inch and I’m entirely pale and tend toward the inoffensive kindly slug phenotype (I already knew not to trust most of my collar county neighbors to have my back.) At the same time, my mother’s little town had multiple, some even weekly anti-war protests.

  86. 86
    gogol's wife says:


    And I believed Tony Blair.

  87. 87
    ulee says:

    @GregB: I just don’t see how Powell can live with himself, seeing this photograph. Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice are doing just fine. They are not touched by it. But Powell? At long last, sir, where is your sense of shame?

  88. 88
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Wish I would have been with you. I have family members, not deaths thank god, but crippled from this war. I’ve said this a lot here. In the last 100+ years I might be the only male in my family that has not served. My family members fight wars. We don’t talk about it on TV. The US Military is a family business.

  89. 89
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Baud: It’s even more interesting and disturbing to think about what history would have been like if the Supreme Court hadn’t selected Bush in 2000 rather than allow the votes in Florida to be counted so that Gore would have been President.

  90. 90
    scav says:

    @gogol’s wife: Tony Blair?! Watching that man suck up to Bush just as hard as he went after Clinton should have been warning enough. Negative spine.

  91. 91
    Svensker says:


    I am always stunned how time works on people. It is hard to find anybody that is a liberal saying they were for the Iraq war, as I just did. But I recall the time and I don’t remember many liberals against it. Not somebody like you swimming upstream and yelling this is wrong. I wish there were more people like you cause maybe things would have been different!

    Pretty much everyone I knew was against. My cousin even went to Iraq to try to act as a human shield. A bunch of us marched in NY a couple of times, called the WH and said, “Hell no” — but it was obvious that Bush was going to go, once he took the populace’s temperature and discovered a nice juicy war fever brewing. It was like watching a movie that you know is going to end badly, in slow motion.

    That’s when I officially became a Democrat and no longer an “independent libertarian” who almost always voted Repub. Haven’t — won’t — vote Repub since.

  92. 92
    WereBear says:

    @GregB: So am I.

    I saw a documentary about how many men and women come back gravely injured, go through with the wedding and try to live “happily ever after.” The failure rate is something like 90%.

    Neither of them stay the people who got engaged.

  93. 93
    trollhattan says:

    Richard Thompson offers an atypical take on war’s aftermath.

    Sam Jones

  94. 94
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @raven: Wow. Thank you. I heard Keelaghan do it, but not this version. I love Shindell. And although its selfish, I wish he was busier.

  95. 95
    Svensker says:


    I’m still haunted by the horribly disfigured soldier in the wedding photo with his distressed wife.
    The whole story ended terribly.

    Oh, God! Now I’m in tears. Goddamn George W. Bush and the whole bunch of fucking neocons. That poor kid. And his poor “wife”.

  96. 96
    trollhattan says:

    His role as Bush-to-English translator definitely played a role, and had its effect.

  97. 97
    RSA says:


    I really felt that it was going to result in a string of terrorist bombings in the US.

    I was still posting on Usenet back then, and I was strongly against the war. A few years later I went back to one of my posts, and I discovered that I was mostly wrong about the details of what would happen. (For example, I thought that chemical weapons would be brought out.) But mistrust of warmongering American conservatives was a safe bet. And today…

    Forgot to mention: Yesterday, on a visit with some older friends, I shook hands with a WWII vet and two Korean War vets. “God bless ’em,” as their contemporaries would say.

  98. 98
    ulee says:

    @Svensker: Why the quotation marks around wife?

  99. 99
    scav says:

    @trollhattan: well, somehow I was immune and missed even the merest whiff of it. Didn’t improve the logic or evidence of it — it was just enunciated in more of a Posh RP and less of an affected twang.

  100. 100
    NotMax says:


    Recalling a long-distance phone call with the folks which got to the point that the lines should have melted.

    It was the next day after Powell’s dog and pony show, and we were discussing, point by point (because they asked), where his presentation was patently incorrect, where it was questionable, where it was slanted, where the flimsiest of data had been puffed up, and so forth.

    Eventually it boiled down to their repeating, “Well, he’s the Secretary of State and you’re not.” That served as a signal to change the subject, but the seeds of informed skepticism had been planted in fertile soil.

  101. 101
    Tommy says:

    @Svensker: I don’t mean to sound flippant in the least, but you are on a liberal blog. This site. Daily Kos. Those were not around. I wouldn’t say I was “pro war” but well kind of. That is such a strange thing to say cause as I have said in the last few comments my family members are those that fight said war.

    I said it was my “Family Business.” I pondered that statement after I wrote it and honestly it is totally correct. I think every adult that isn’t retired in my family, over 25 is either active duty or Civil Service for the DoD.

  102. 102
    trollhattan says:

    I doubt it helped my nearly continuous head-scratching at the time (Why are we about to do this, again? Anybody?) but as a do-over of the “great” Reagan-Thatcher duo, it was probably like a familiar pair of shoes to many. Once I understood that nothing Hans Blix said (hah-hah, stoopid Hans Blix is stoopid) was having the slightest impact on the spin-up, I got that we were going in and it was a preordained decision. I still didn’t give them credit for being as crass as it turns out they were/are.

  103. 103
    Roger Moore says:


    This site. Daily Kos. Those were not around.

    Strictly speaking this blog was around back then, but it was a Conservative Warblog rather than a DFH blog at the time. And Daily Kos was founded in 2002, so it most certainly was around. My impression is that the run-up to the Iraq War was one of the major events that really got political blogging going.

  104. 104
    debbie says:


    I remember there being many many, heated arguments about Iraq on Mac forums in the lead-up to Iraq. Seems a suitable equivalent to blogs.

  105. 105
    JPL says:

    @ulee: All the rest still support the same bull but Powell supports the President. Maybe he does have some regrets, that I don’t know.

  106. 106
    Judge Crater says:

    @ulee: Someday alien beings will land on Earth and try and figure out the sum total of the wealth and energy and human lives that this planet has expended on war and preparing for war and rebuilding after war. It will blow their alien minds. The gross planetary product that humans have spent on war and all its ancillary activities is testament only to our ongoing stupidity and savagery.

  107. 107
    JPL says:

    Another thing… Powell was not the President. Let’s lay blame where it belongs.

  108. 108
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Certainly were blogs / sites, I distinctly remember picking up some very pointed pretend power-point presentations mocking Colin Powell’s. Wonder where there are, I was in an insane back-up mode at the point . . . .

  109. 109
    ulee says:

    @Judge Crater: Judge Crater? Geez, how are you? We were all wondering where you went.

  110. 110
    raven says:

    @NotMax: I was wrong.

  111. 111
    ulee says:

    @JPL: True enough. Still, if I was Powell, I would have looked at the presentation I was being ordered to give and said—With all due respect, fuck you—-.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I was at Eschaton (Atrios’s place), Pandagon, Hullabaloo (Digby’s place), and others in the aftermath of the 2000 election. I didn’t get here until 2007, which was well after Cole’s transformation. So there definitely were places to go where you could feel less completely insane after a day of watching the news and talking to people who were convinced we had to invade Iraq to protect Israel (no, seriously, that was an argument I got from someone a bit older than me who was otherwise a committed liberal).

  113. 113
    NotMax says:


    Step-father, before he moved to being a college prof, spent years and years and years laboring in the disarmament section of the U.N.

    Yet even after witnessing the sausage being made for so long, he somehow still could not swallow that a presentation of such import to the General Assembly might be contrived.

  114. 114
    Ruckus says:


    Those bastards all better pray every night that the god they profess to believe in does not actually exist.

    This is the only reason that I care that there might be a god. Alas I’m sure there isn’t for any god that would cause them that much pain in the end could have done it in life and saved the rest of us all the trouble they caused.

  115. 115
    gnomedad says:


    I was for the Iraq war. I bought into the hype.

    Me, too, not that anyone asked or cared. I was thinking how the Iraqis were suffering under sanctions, and that if Saddam was such a threat we should remove him rather than make the people of Iraq pay the price. Now, 500,000 dead Iraqis, 4000 dead Americans, $2 trillion and zero WMDs later …

  116. 116
    Baud says:


    The reach, penetration, perceived utility of and familiarity with the internet was very different,

    That’s what I should have said.

  117. 117
    Baud says:

    This thread is too depressing. George W. is making art! It’s all good.

  118. 118
    Roger Moore says:

    Powell may not have been the President, but he had a lot of power to stop the thing. Any of the higher ups in the Bush Admin could have done a lot to stop the march to war by sticking their necks out and publicly declaring the case for war was a pack of lies. Powell, who still had a lot of gravitas from his time a Chair of the Joint Chiefs would have had more power to stop it than most. Everyone who helped to make the case for war deserves a big helping of blame.

  119. 119
    nancy darling says:

    While we are praising WWI poets, lets not forget the poets of the Viet Nam War. “Visions of War, Dreams of Peace” is a collection of poems and writings of the women who served. This one by nurse Dana Shuster is one of my favorites

    Mellow on morphine, he smiles and floats
    above the stretcher over which I hover.
    I snip an annular ligament
    and his foot plops unnoticed into the pail,
    superfluous as a placenta after labor has ended.
    His day was just starting when his hootch disappeared,
    along with the foot, and at least one friend.
    Absently I brush his face,
    inspecting, investigating,
    validating data gathered by sight and intuition,
    willing physical contact to fetter soul to earth.

    “You the first white woman ever touch me,”

    Too late my heart dodges and weaves, evades the inevitable. Ambushed again.
    Damn, I’m in love.
    Bonded forever by professional intimacies,
    unwitting disclosures offered and accepted,
    fulfilling a covenant sealed in our chromosomes,
    an encounter ephemeral as fireflies on a hot Georgia night
    in a place and time too terrible to be real.
    But it will shoot flaming tracers through all my dreams
    until the time my soul, too, floats unfettered.

    When daylight waxes and morphine wanes,
    when pain crowds his brain
    and phantasms of his footless future bleach the bones of present
    our moment together will fade as a fever dream
    misty, gossamer, melting from make-believe
    through might-have-been
    past probably-didn’t
    all the way into never happen, man—-
    as I move on to the the next stretcher
    and the next fleeting lover—-
    silken memories mounting, treasures in my soul.

  120. 120
    Gator90 says:

    @JPL: Powell lied to the world on GWB’s behalf, and his wholly undeserved reputation for integrity helped solidify US public support for the war. (Margaret Carlson in 2003: “Whatever Colin does, I’ll go with.”) Plenty of blood on that bastard’s hands.

  121. 121
    JPL says:

    @ulee: Well he sorta did that and got better material. I don’t know what I would have done in his position. I do know that his mistake was supporting Bush.

  122. 122
    ulee says:

    Sam Stone is a notable anti-war song. Sometimes writers hit it just right. When John Prine wrote—-There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes—-he was in the zone.

  123. 123
    JPL says:

    @Gator90: The rest of them are still lying though. What about Rice and Rumsfeld? At least Powell has changed course. That’s all I’m saying.

  124. 124
    JPL says:

    My point is they all lied and except for Powell, they still support the lies.

  125. 125
    Betty Cracker says:

    The mister and I were both four square against the Iraq War. But we had a little kid underfoot and lots of job and family obligations to attend to at the time it got underway, so our opposition was mostly expressed via the message boards that were blog precursors and quiet arguments with family, friends and coworkers.

    We’re watching the Rays game now, and they showed a clip about a local young man who was killed in one of the current, pointless engagements. What a horrendous waste.

    We told each other the next time some president is getting his war on, we’ll chain ourselves to the gates of the Pentagon or whatever. Not that it’ll do any fucking good. But we’ll register our disapproval as loudly as we possibly fucking can.

  126. 126
    Ruckus says:

    I recall the same things. Those were most of the sites that I was reading at the time as well. I think I came here from Atrios and it was also after John’s awakening from his death sleep.

  127. 127
    ulee says:

    @JPL: I do seem to remember that Powell looked at the first script and reportedly said–I’m not reading this shit—. Good for him. If only he had looked at subsequent scripts and said the same thing.

  128. 128
    Tommy says:

    @gnomedad: My problem was my father. He worked at high levels within the DoD. Military planning. He would tell you most folks in the military were shit all stupid. He was retired in 2002 but had Colin Powell as a student when he was a professor at the Army War College in the 70s. Thought he was always the smartest person in the room. I thought Bush couldn’t fight his way out of a wet mental paper bag. But if Powell said something, well I listened. That didn’t work out so well for me or our nation.

  129. 129
    JPL says:

    @ulee: At least he changed. The others haven’t. In fact Condi, Donald and Dick are still talking about the values of war.

  130. 130
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Powell may get some small percentage of pass from some because he woke the hell up and said so publicly, but many made their minds up simply because they trusted him to be the better person, that he turned out to not be. And that gets him no points from me. People like Cole were for the war but weren’t really in a position to influence anyone that didn’t already agree with them. Powell was and he abused that position. I don’t know that it wouldn’t have changed anything but something was a tipping point or we wouldn’t have seen any of the PR campaign to change minds, we would have just gone.

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    @nancy darling:
    Never seen that.
    Wow. Just Wow.

  132. 132
    The Other Chuck says:


    I had no problem with going into Afghanistan – per se, if Afghanistan were an actual country. It is not a country. It’s a land mass with tribes on it, so, no…don’t go there.

    And that’s what made it hard for me to get on board with the anti-war protesters: I supported the Afghan invasion then, still do now. Just not the nation-building exercise afterward, though I still don’t have a good answer to exactly when you pull out of a country you’ve dragged into war and the entailing anarchy.

    Iraq on the other hand was a travesty and a crime from the word go. Hell, George Bush Senior laid out the case pretty damn clearly in his own memoirs why it was a bad idea to go there. Only silver lining, so to speak, was that it ended a brutal sanctions regime that was killing thousands of Iraqis a year, but I kinda suspect there were ways to get that resolved other than obliterating the country top to bottom then ensuring no civil service could arise after the fact…

  133. 133
    ulee says:

    @The Other Chuck: I don’t disagree with the decision to invade Afghanistan. The Taliban were giving aid and comfort to jihadists who were actively doing their best to attack the US. But after we went in and helped the Northern Alliance rout those fuckers(and the Taliban are assholes. Remember them hanging women for nothing in the soccer stadium) we should have pumped them with arms and aid to congress their own country. If it failed, well, it’s better than having our soldiers being killed in remote outposts in the middle of nowhere.

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    @The Other Chuck:
    Weren’t the bushies trying to prove that you don’t need government? Iraq has of course shown that.
    Oh wait….
    That’s not a very good proof of that fucked up stupidity. Except to show how fucked up it is.

  135. 135
    Tommy says:

    @ulee: Here is this quote from Princess Bride. Telling (and not a war movie of course):

    That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…

    I know a lot of folks with military backgrounds and you just don’t start a land war in Asia. Period. I recall mentioning this to my father, when your national past time is playing polo with a severed goat head, maybe those are folks we don’t want to fight.

    It might seem like a joke, I wasn’t joking.

  136. 136
    Svensker says:


    Why the quotation marks around wife?

    They were married just a short time and apparently she didn’t want to get married but felt the social pressure was so strong, she had to. Not against her, just a pitiful situation.


    I wasn’t on liberal blogs at all at the time. I was a libertarian who voted Republican. However, I was reading the libertarian which had accurate articles about what was really happening. Found myself making common cause with liberals back then — now I am one.

  137. 137
    ulee says:

    @Svensker: I understand. This tragedy was brought to you by Mr. George W. Asshole Bush, who is happy to go bike riding with vets (just as long as he is always in front) as if that makes up for being a murderous failure.

  138. 138
    Joel Hanes says:

    when your national past time is playing polo with a severed goat head

    Gameplay in the bushkazi employs the entire goat carcase.

  139. 139
    CaseyL says:

    @GregB: Holy shit. That story has haunted me all this time as well, but I never knew how it turned out: I hoped, so very much hoped, against all odds, that they would find happiness together. That’s heartbreaking.

    I can’t think about the dead and maimed too much, because I get so. damned. angry. at that vacuous grinning man-child and his Sith Lord sidekick.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I don’t remember many liberals against it.

    You are wrong.

    ETA: There were marches and rallies. There was all sorts of shit on the internet. If you weren’t aware of it, it was by your own choice. Deal with it.

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