Sunday, November 4, 2007

Photo Ops Do Not A Just Cause Make

Poland, 1939:

Baghdad, Iraq, 2003:

Jonathan Schwartz has this to say about the first picture:
It's hard to tell, but these are pictures of ethnic Germans in western Poland, throwing flowers at the invading Nazi army in September, 1939. They're screengrabs from the BBC series The Nazis: A Warning From History.
I don't know who took this footage, but I would bet a lot of money it was the Nazis themselves, and that they rushed it back to the home front to demonstrate the extraordinary morality of their cause.
Supposedly many Ukrainians were also quite excited when Germany invaded them, shortly afterward. One odd fact of history is that in every invasion you could find someone in the invaded country who was thrilled about it. Thus, if you're in an invading country, you really shouldn't depend on this as a gauge of whether you're doing the right thing.
As for the context surrounding the second picture, in an earlier post I treated viewers to an aerial shot showing the "crowd" surrounding the dismantling of the Saddam statue was underwhelming, to say the least. Made for a nice photo op for the various news outlets during those heady early days of the Iraq War, when its perpetrators and apologists were drunk with hubris. Some of the apologists later tried a bit of sobriety. The perps - well, I don't think they ever stopped drinking their own Koolaid. Promises that those invaded will greet the invaders with flowers (even if they do manage to transpire - as they appear to have for the Nazis, though not for the US) should be dismissed as propaganda.

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