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Understanding War Using Charlie Brown

by: hzuckerman

Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 15:06:43 PM EST

It is important to understand World War One's effect on Americans and on Europeans. At the time people in America thought that the war was Europe's problem and that the U.S. should remain neutral. However even after the U.S. entered the war and helped win it, when Americans look back now they generally forget the importance of the war. American ignorance and disregard for World War I might be due to the lack of involvement in the war compared to the European countries that fought in the war for more years.  Perhaps America's sense of itself as a country where military service and manliness go hand in hand with citizenship also began to take form as a result of the country's role in WWI. Though Americans have generally reaped the benefits that the 'Great War,' such as victory, industrial expansion, prestige, and manliness, the country often forget that the war was such a great and terrible wound to so much of the world.
On May thirtieth, nineteen eighty three, CBS ran a short Charlie Brown special entitled "What Have we Learned Charlie Brown?" It was a sequel to a Peanuts special called "Bon Voyage Charlie Brown" where Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and Marcy go to France to visit friends. "What Have We Learned Charlie Brown?" unlike the other light-hearted Charlie Brown films, teaches children about the devastation and real affect that the First World War had on Europeans. "What Have We Learned Charlie Brown?", written by Charles M. Shultz and directed by Bill Melendez, is a Peanuts special that aired right before the 39th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy.  The film's basic plot is that the characters, Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and Marcy go to France and while there learn about the world wars and visit sites of battles. The film begins when their car breaks down in Frnace and so they spend the rest of the movie in France visiting different sites that were significant to both world wars. First they meet a woman who recognizes Snoopy's World War I flying ace costumes and reminisces about how it was called the "Great War." The gang then camp out on a beach and Linus, realizing that its Omaha beach, tells the story of D-Day interspersed with clips from the actual invasion of the beach.
In another part of the movie the gang goes to Ypers, a town that sustained battles between the Germans and the Allied forces during World War I. Linus, the most sensitive of the group, alone realizes the significance of the site he and his friends are on. During that sequence of the movie he is alone watching different clips of actual footage of battles just as actual clips were used to show the Omaha beach invasion. By putting the loveable cartoon character of Linus which children can connect to, beside images from World War I children nowadays can actually get a picture of how devastating, scary, and real these wars were to those who lived through them.
In the last part of the movie Linus takes Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Marcy, and Snoopy to Flanders Fields. There are poppies growing in the fields and graves that mark where the battles were fought during the war. Linus then recites the poem 'Flanders Fields' as everyone looks at the images of the poppies and crosses that surround the field.
In the very last bit, after the poem, Linus asks the question 'What have we learned, Charlie Brown?' Charlie Brown does not give an answer and but that the question and the answer are both very important. Children who watch this movie, though they have seen much footage of both wars might still not understand the significance and perhaps people are all still wondering what they learned from these two wars and from all the wars that America takes part in. Children then can ask their parents, after seeing this film, about the two wars so that older generation will pass on their knowledge to their children so people can continue asking and learning even if they do not know the answer.


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Another war president?

by: Bruce Ticker

Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 20:43:57 PM EDT

This single question must be posed to Mitt Romney: Is a major war in our future during a Romney presidency?

Consider that Romney made a point of saying he has no "hidden agenda." That would not be his first lie.

Some of the words he uttered in Israel gave me pause. He left me wondering if he fully intends to drag us into a war whether or not it is necessary.

"We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions," he told an audience in Jerusalem. "We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option."

Taken alone, Romney's words certainly invites the prospect for war. We must "deny" them "the means," and "containment" is not good enough.

His audience comprised not only Israelis but also a number of Jewish conservatives from the United States, the same kind of group that pressed for the invasion of Iraq, though they were not alone in this. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson accompanied Romney.

To be clear, these clods do not reflect the views of most American Jews, like myself, 75 percent of whom usually vote for Democratic candidates. If they want a war, why don't they vote for Republicans?

As Romney's senior foreign policy aide, Dan Senor said in a briefing, "If Israel has to take action on its own, the governor would respect that decision."

A war is the most serious step that can be taken by a president. A war with Iran could create a mess far worse than Iraq.

A conflict between Israel and Iran alone could become so chaotic that other countries would be compelled to join. If not a war with Iran, it would be no surprise if Romney picked a fight with another country.

For a few days, as Romney assailed England's Olympics preparations, it appeared that we were headed for a third war with the Brits.

No question that Americans have little stomach for another war right now. Minority groups are especially concerned because their sons and daughters will be among those who risk their lives.

The fact that the last two major wars were focused on the Middle East make minority groups leery about Israel's precarious role. At one office with a large African-American workforce, a friend told me he overheard a black woman call Iraq "the Jew war." Though this remark was related to me secondhand, I have heard worse about Israel in the black community.

All the same, most African-Americans justifiably fear that they will be attending funerals because of a situation that is literally foreign to them. It is somewhat personal for me because I befriended many African-Americans through school and work since I was a teen-ager. I have no reason to believe that most minority group members voice this concern in any way but a legitimate manner.

I sure want Israel to be protected, but only with actions which are necessary. Plus, conservative Jews like Adelson embarrass me, and I do not want any Americans to fight an unnecessary war.

Any entry into war can only be based on the rationale for a war and an assessment of the risks. When Congress voted to authorize military action in Iraq, members of Congress provided no convincing rationale and never bothered to assess the risks.

Strangely enough, strong evidence for the need to engage with Iran emerged long ago. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly threatened Israel with destruction and is building a nuclear device.

However, the risks are excessive, far worse than the risks in Iraq. The situation could be extremely messy.

Let's remember what happened when we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. American servicepersons and Iraqi civilians died and we spent $1.3 trillion on both wars.

Billions of dollars were spent on private firms, including Halliburton subsidiaries and other companies with close ties to the Bush administration.

It stands to reason that Romney wants a war for the sake of going to war. His campaign is bankrolled by wealthy businesspersons who could profit from a military conflict.

War could well have been George W. Bush's "hidden agenda." What is Romney's attitude about foreign wars? Television hosts, reporters and average citizens should ask him. It is our obligation.

Note - Bruce S. Ticker is author of the e-book "Amending America: To Change Policy, Change the System" which is available at

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The Wars and Non-Wars

by: DocJess

Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 06:12:06 AM EDT

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch.

Last year, Scott asked the poll question "how many wars is the US fighting?" Twice. I thought about this over the weekend when Melissa Harris-Perry spoke about avoiding titles like "the war on women" and "the war against the poor." Her first point was very well taken: for anyone who has lived in an actual war zone, with bombs dropping and people dying, "war" means something very different then the rest of us saying "the war on drugs."

Harris-Perry's second point was equally well taken: that when we say "war" we tend to miss the nuance of what is really going on. What the Republicans are attempting to wreak on women (and unions, and the poor, and voters, the list goes on...) is horrendous. We all know that. But it isn't war, undeclared or otherwise. Saying it is changes the stakes, and misses all the details.

I'm guilty of this, although I'm going to work towards stopping. Instead of saying "the GOP has declared war on me and all the other women", I'm going to say something like: GOP talking heads just plain lie. And then give this example, where Alex Castellanos said: 

"Actually, because for example, men work an average of 44 hours a week, women work 41 hours a week," he said. "Men go into professions like engineering, science and math that earn more. Women want more flexibility."

Flexibility? Really? No, Alex, it's that we want the same dollar-per-dollar paycheck for hours worked. When Tom Corbett says to just close your eyes, I'm going to ask which orifice he wants that 10" probe stuck into. And I don't care which one he picks. 

War? I'm saving that for the potential issues in Iran and North Korea, and all the countries bleeding in Africa, as well as Afghanistan and Syria and other places where the bleeding needs to stop. 

Think about it...and for someone who gets his terms correct, and does it with aplomb and humour, I leave you with this, in case you missed it...


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What Does Normal Feel Like

by: Lisa Grunberger

Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 18:15:38 PM EST

Christopher Durang's Why Torture is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them

New City Stage Company's 2011-2012 season began on December 10th at the Adrienne Theatre Main Stage with a Philadelphia premiere of Christopher Durang's satire Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them, directed by Michael K. Brophy.   The play is part of season called The Terror Within, a body of work that considers political and ethical questions posed a decade after 9/11.  What does it mean to live in a world of terrorists?  

More after the jump.

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235 Years of Independence - An Occasion to Celebrate American Jewish Heroes

by: abg5e

Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 23:13:02 PM EDT

-- by Ken Myers

How many Jewish heroes of the Revolutionary War (or earlier) can you identify? You probably know that Haym Salomon was a key figure in financing the Revolution. Did you know that Francis Salvador was the first Jew to die in the American Revolution, on August 1, 1776, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence? You might know that Philadelphian Rebecca Gratz founded the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society and other relief organizations. Did you know that her family was prominent among revolutionaries here?

It is well known that Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938), was a member of the United States Supreme Court. His family already had a glorious record in America: David Nunez Cardozo (1752- ?) was a hero of the Revolution. He led the assault on British-held Savannah, Georgia, in which Count Pulaski was killed. Cardozo was taken prisoner by the British while defending Savannah, but was released at the end of the British stay in that area.

Forty-seven Jewish heroes of the Revolution and other major events in American history are listed and their achievements memorialized on the web site of the Florida Atlantic University Libraries, with credit to
Seymour Brody.

But his major opus is the book, Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, by Seymour Brody with illustrations by Art Seiden. Spend some time during the Independence Day weekend examining the lives of Jewish heroes during and since our War of Independence.

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