The tragedy of war … since 1400

The following chart gives a detailed account of war dead in conflicts since the beginning of the 14th century. (Click to enlarge: via Our World in Data)

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Amazingly, the rate of death is near the lowest point it’s been in history. Now, of course, the world population in 1400 was about the same as it is in the combined population of the United States and Canada (about 350 million). There are 7.23 billion people in the world now.

But even with that. despite the more impersonal and highly more devastating weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons now, battle axes in the 1400s), somehow humanity as a whole is now resisting the urge to kill everybody in site.

Don’t get me wrong. Humanity still is filled with homicidal tendencies, but we don’t act on them at the same rate as we used to. That’s got to be good for something, right?

The bad intelligence

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2015 Pulitzer Prize Nominated Finalist

Dan Perkins, drawing as Tom Tomorrow, of Daily Kos for cartoons that create an alternate universe — an America frozen in time whose chorus of conventional wisdom is at odds with current reality.

 

Tom Tomorrow is so much better than 99.9 percent of the editorial cartoonists out there today, and he really deserves to win the Pulitzer. But someone has to write him a better cover letter.
Here’s the letter he sent to the board for this year’s entry
To whom it may concern,
Enclosed please find my entry for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize under the cartoon category. I have tried to include a representative sampling of the diverse approaches I use in my weekly efforts to inform and provoke readers through humor and satire.
I am submitting this entry in my capacity as a cartoonist for Daily Kos, but please note that my work is syndicated to approximately 80 print newspapers across the country as well.
For 25 years, I have tried to push the limits of what an editorial cartoon can be — in approach, in subject matter, in appearance. These efforts have  earned professional recognition including the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning and the RFK Journalism Award (on two occasions), and praise from sources ranging from the New York Review of Books to Entertainment Weekly to authors such as Dave Eggers and the late Kurt Vonnegut.
I thank you in advance for your time.
Go to the Pulitzer site to check out the cover letters for the other entrants in the editorial cartoon category. You’ll see that their bosses really pushed their guy, and that seems to matter in the real world. The folks at Daily Kos need to up their game and make an effort to promote their guy for a prize he definitely deserves.

The Iraq quote hall of fame

iraqwhoppers720 One New York Times columnist is especially delusional when it comes to Iraq:

It’s really hard to give simple sound-bite answers about past mistakes. The question, would you go back and undo your errors is unanswerable. It’s only useful to ask, what wisdom have you learned from your misjudgments that will help you going forward?

Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.

While another has a complete grasp on reality:

Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

No, we don’t have enough nukes to destroy the world

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We were always told that there were enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world multiple times over. But then we went off and had those nuclear arms talks that the conservatives were all freaked out about, and now, we don’t even have enough to destroy 1 percent of the world.

Those peaceniks. Always trying to save the world from itself.

Obama in Selma

On March 7, 1965, about 600 people gathered to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

This is what happened:

It’s important to remember the history to fully appreciate Obama’s words. Some of us are old enough to remember when this happened. A lot of us weren’t even alive then and see it as ancient history.

Fifty years is a lifetime. But for some of us who watched the persecution and the beatings on television that night a half century ago, it really was only yesterday.