Linkzookery – Special Sunday Edition

Since I short-changed you on Friday, and also because I don’t feel like writing any full-length posts, Murdoc’s got some more linkagery coming your way:

To tune in or tune out?
Modern media and kids. Good? Bad? Ugly? Joanne Jacobs notesNothing left to fall back on but common sense“, which is true. And troubling, seeing how much common sense and personal responsibility seems to be around.

McCain is ‘a warmonger,’ Sheehan says after meeting
Riiiight, Cindy. And never mind she lied about having some of McCain’s constituents in her group so he’d agree to meet with her.

Pentagon Weasels on Armor Payback
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Which democracies go to war with each other? The question the University of Maryland poll forgot to ask
I’ve been asked “what is America going to do if/when a democratic Iraq elects a government that isn’t friendly to us?”. I respond with the question “You mean like France?” While they process this, I hit them with the counter-punch “How many wars have we fought against an unfriendly France?”

Fourth Rail on Iron Fist pt. 2 pt. 3
Some day they’re going to publish a book about the ops near the Syrian border. Bill Roggio might write it.

Terrorist Offensive Gets Arrested
Iraqi police staying the course.

Are Arabs Anti-American?
If so, are they maybe being TAUGHT? By Americans? Via a reader, who writes “Seems to mesh with my theory that the extreme left hate themselves and their own country…

First SeaRAM outfit set for LCS
New air defense missile system for the second Littoral Combat Ship

Reservist says protesters are breaking faith
In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of all places.

Excel 12 Blog
The Group Program Manager for Microsoft Excel blogs the next version

Anatomy of a Photograph
This was forwarded to me last Tuesday but I didn’t get around to posting it. Now everyone’s posting it, but in case you haven’t looked you had better check it out.


  1. technically, there were a few hostilites between the French and the Allies in WWII. Some maybe-kinda-sorta-Vichi warships were sunk while in harbor.

  2. How many wars has the USA fought against France? Well, I only know of the one, World War II. The first US soldiers killed in action outside the Pacific theatre were actually killed by Vichy French in North Africa. Saying that wasn’t democratic is a no-true-Scotsman argument (google for it). The Vichy government was as democratically elected as Britain’s wartime coalition government. More generally, unless you use such a narrow definition of democracy as to exclude everything not fitting 20th century concepts (also a no-true-Scotsman argument), there have been lots of wars between democracies, the British-American War in the early 19th century for instance, or the conflicts between Holland and Belgium.

  3. Well, I’m not even claiming to be a Scotsman, but anyway… Yes, the ‘No democracies have EVER fought a war against each other’ isn’t as 100% waterproof as some claim, though the argument is usually made from a 20th Century-onward point of view, so the War of 1812, US Civil War, etc., are really from ‘an earlier era’ and so on. The two examples I always get are Nazi Germany (‘Hitler was elected, you know…’) and Vichy France. So it come down to defining ‘democracy’. If someone’s going to argue that Nazi Germany was a free democratic nation, there’s not much to say. (I realize that no one here has put that argument forward, but I’m just pointing it out because I’ve heard it many times and I want to head it off now…) That leaves Vichy France. Yep, freely elected. Yep, Vichy troops fired on Americans in North Africa. Therefore, the argument seems to go, America fought Vichy France in World War 2 and, since WW2 was the biggest of them all, that proves that democracies sometimes do fight each other. This, I believe, is overstating things a wee bit. Call me simple-minded, but wasn’t Vichy France basically a power grab by anti-Republicans who then proceeded to collaborate pretty heavily with the conquerors of their nation? The Free French Forces opposed Vichy, which has been considered to be an illegal government run by traitors to France. Regardless of the legality or true authority of Vichy, the US didn’t invade North Africa to fight against Vichy France. Indeed, we were hoping for a warm welcome, not hot lead. (Not the first time we misjudged the local reaction to troops marching in, and not the last.) We weren’t making war on Vichy. We were there to fight the Germans, establish a beachhead from which further operations against our enemies could be conducted, secure strategic presence in the Mediterranean region, and aid an ally who basically was standing alone against the foe. It wasn’t the conflict of our government with that of Vichy that resulted in the shooting. So I don’t really buy the argument that Vichy France disproves the entire ‘democracies don’t war on each other’ rule of thumb. And even if it does, that ain’t much of a leg to stand on for those who don’t think democracies help foster peace or that the effort to establish democracy will at least help stabilize things. Of course, what happened in Vichy could very well happen in Iraq. It’s perhaps even likely to happen. It certainly will be there to an extent. Shiites sympathetic to, say, Iran, will be elected to power and then will try to sell their nation up the river to the mullahs. I’m not arguing that democracy is the end-all answer. I’m arguing that historically it’s been a major building-block of peaceful relations between nations and that even when the peace is strained warfare isn’t a likely outcome. We don’t know what the end-all answer is, though I strongly suspect that free democracy is the foundation upon which it rests.

  4. I’m going to post a fuller reply against your later fuller discussion, once I gather my thoughts better. But basically I was trying to firm up and tighten what we are talking about. (By the way, I think the site you link to is more specific than you were, just here.) Simply, if anyone makes a broad and general statement, even tenuous counter-examples are enough to shoot it down. I was careful to point out that Vichy legitimacy was as solid as Churchill’s coalition government – that only rested on internal changes in the wake of 1940, with its last full elections way back in the mid 1930s. For your tighter discussion, I’m going to have to pull things together more and distinguish bewtween different cases, to see which ones are a better guide to what we have in front of us here and now.