What Would Martial Law Look Like?

If they put a sign saying “Rule of Law” on the front of the howitzer, people might not notice any difference between this and other post 9/11 ornaments in DC.

“Nothing to see here, folks – move along….” 

The full size photo for the above is at http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=495676211&size=l

The new Patriot System in DC:

Just another harmless decoration on the Smithsonian Mall…

Full size version of the above photo is at http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=495662822&size=l

Looking at these photos, some people might think about how easily the howitzer (and the other weaponry on the Mall) could be turned at Congress.

Folks don’t recognize that the barrels are already pointing in their direction.

(I took these photos at the “Celebrate Public Service Exhibition” on the Mall yesterday.)


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27 Responses to What Would Martial Law Look Like?

  1. klyde May 13, 2007 at 5:58 pm #

    Have you ever noticed how every blog every tv host and radio talker has to profess their love for the military and the servicemembers? I try to tell people that if an building an unquestioned devotion to the military isn’t the first step toward facism it’s sure near the top

  2. Mace Price May 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm #

    …A picture’s worth a thousand words. Looks like something outta the Civil War vastly upgraded.

  3. Jim May 13, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    I took a bunch of photos yesterday of young children (age 3 to 6) posing with real machine guns at the Army recruiting exhibits.

    I reckon they like to plant the seeds young.

  4. Sol May 13, 2007 at 8:41 pm #

    Why does celebrating “Public Service Recognition” always involve are rulers brandishing heavy weaponry?

  5. Jim May 13, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    It keeps the cynics from muttering about the illusion of “public service.”

  6. Mace Price May 13, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    …Yessir, jest shore’s thay’s shit in a goat–But yeh didn’t see nuthin’ during the Vietnam War remotely like this did yeh now?? No hail no, jest the opposite in fact. Thus it don’t serve to tell ya that you’ve become a modern day Clement Vallandingham Jim. Remember what he told gen. George “Little Mac” McClellan when he was detained by his Provost and quartered with McClellan’s Staff? It was priceless. CV asked Li’l Mac if he might go into the camp at large and mingle with the troops. McClellan answered him “Mingle with troops?–Why, don’t you know that my Soldier’s would tear you apart?” Vallandingham answered him. “General Mcclellan, have your soldiers drawn up into a square and allow me but 10 minutes to address them, and I promise you that it will not be me who they would tear apart.” Little Mac prudently declined Vallandingham offer.

  7. Ryan May 13, 2007 at 9:02 pm #

    “Some people look at the howitzer and think how easily it could be turned at Congress.”

    Jim, for obvious reasons I won’t state where I would like to point that Paladin and who I would like to use it on. In fairness and to be bipartisan, I’d like to attack in both directions as the Polish Major General Andre stated upon being asked what he would do if he and his troops found themselves between Nazis and Communists.

    As someone who used to set up displays like the above for the public to show them what they were getting for their money I am appalled with the way the Bush crime family misuses the Military. We were meant to be a force to uphold the Republic, not the State. Some of us still remember the oath we swore to uphold the Constitution and to obey the lawful orders of our commanders. I don’t recall ever to have to swear on to a particular individual.

  8. Jim May 13, 2007 at 9:09 pm #

    The Poles have always had great courage but their batting average leaves a lot to be desired, at least since about 1750.

    I was struck by the atmosphere at the military exhibition – the soldiers acted like it was practically a party.

    The officers & civilian supervisors seemed very proud of some of the high tech weaponry on display. It was almost as if it was supposed to convey an aura of invincibility.

    Maybe some congressmen came by and had their photos snapped next to the fancy hardware.

    I would prefer that those congressmen were sent out on patrol with the troops in Iraq – not for a single photo op, but for their whole damn summer vacations.

  9. Jim May 13, 2007 at 9:25 pm #

    Mace – thanks for the kind words. Happily, I’m no politician, so the comparison misfires.

    I appreciate the hellraising that Clement V. did during the Civil War. He was right about Lincoln (he said he was a dictator), he was right about secession, and he was right about slavery (he was totally opposed to it).

    Some background on him – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_Vallandingham

    Background on Clement

  10. Ryan May 13, 2007 at 9:26 pm #

    “I was struck by the atmosphere at the military exhibition – the soldiers acted like it was practically a party.”

    Jim, for the troops it is kind of a party for them. They are justifiably proud of themselves. I can relate from my own experience. Going through all that training is rough.

    What really makes me angry is the way the neocons take a healthy attitude and pervert it for the worst things. There is nothing worst than abused patriotism. This means being lied to as I was back during the first Gulf war.

    As a sidenote to the above, One of the things we did was to dress up a hummer in what is called a “vismode”, i.e. to make a mock up of another vehicle, in this case a BRDM scout car. We got to play the bad guys and I, as a “Soviet lieutenant” got to assault the Americans with the “Russians” yelling intemperate language during Memorial Day. (Dittoheads and “freepers”, this “holiday” is coming up. It isn’t a holiday, but a day of commeration) This, of course, was back in the 1980’s and the crowd applauded us for the display.

    I agree with you on congressmen and congresswomen being sent to Iraq. I’d like to add dispensationalists to the mix as well.

  11. Ryan May 13, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    “Have you ever noticed how every blog every tv host and radio talker has to profess their love for the military and the servicemembers?”

    I have and note with contempt that most of these folks have never darken the doorway of a barracks. As a former veteran listening to these fakirs is revolting.

  12. Annie May 13, 2007 at 10:26 pm #

    Those things are hideously ugly.

  13. W Baker May 13, 2007 at 10:33 pm #

    Jim et al.,

    Very signifigant point, although with a slightly different contex: ‘it struck me that the soldiers thought it was a party’! You slipped up and really meant a political party rather than a good night on the town!

    It is my submission, having seen the military from within and without, that the present Pentagon, post Eisenhower, and particularly under Republicans in the late 20th and early 21st-centuries, would be considered a coup in any other country in the world.

    I challenge anyone,anywhere to lay out the reasoning or facts for this blog’s readers that an organization that controls as much money, resources, and political/social reverence as the Pentagon does to describe that instititution in any other terms than a coup d’état!

  14. Jim May 13, 2007 at 10:37 pm #

    Wes, lucky for us that Congress is keeping such a close eye on the military to make sure it strictly obeys the law and respects the Constitution.

    As I gazed upon the howitzer with the Capitol Dome in the background, it occurred to me that there is no need for a military coup – the vast majority of the House and Senate would not think of challenging the military.

    Of course, the Defense Secretary would be pushing his luck if he tried to make his horse a formal member of the Senate.

  15. Mace Price May 13, 2007 at 10:48 pm #

    …OK Jim you ain’t a Politician. So technically the comparison misfires. But jest by a whisker.

  16. Jim May 13, 2007 at 10:55 pm #

    Actually, I think Ron Paul would be a much more accurate comparison to Vallandigham. Paul has shown great courage throughout his career – he has stood on principle so many times, and willingly paid the price and suffered the odium. (Curious how Beltway Libertarians have paid so little heed to Paul throughout his career, even though he has courageously lived what they have sometimes talked about).

  17. Mace Price May 13, 2007 at 11:07 pm #

    …Thus do we see where telling the truth, per the record of Congressman Ron Paul gets a Politician, even in The LP. Don’t reckon I need to tell yeh why the Devil in The South is often referred to as “Ol’Nick”…as in Niccolo Machiavelli. Appropriate as hell too. To my mind Politics are nothing less than Diabolic.

  18. Sol May 14, 2007 at 12:45 am #

    “I was struck by the atmosphere at the military exhibition – the soldiers acted like it was practically a party.”

    They probably feel that being anywhere except Iraq or Afghanistan is a party.

  19. Original Steve May 14, 2007 at 4:10 am #

    Its just more proof of what is happening regarding the military-industrial complex.

    Remember, when we get out the Iraq War, They are going to “follow us over here.” So, we just cant even think about cutting all those juicy contracts.

  20. Jim May 14, 2007 at 8:35 am #

    Steve – Thanks for the plug!

    If folks here haven’t taken a look at Steve’s Aging Hipster blog, it is a hoot. It is as honest on politics as the day is long – and that is such a rare virtue these days.

    Plus, thanks to Steve’s cultural insights, I’ll never think about the state of Georgia the same.

  21. Alpowolf May 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm #

    Why does celebrating “Public Service Recognition” always involve are rulers brandishing heavy weaponry?It reminds me of that Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, where the two of them are “playing war”. Hobbes asks “How come we play war and not peace?” Calvin replies “Too few role models.”

  22. David Hill May 14, 2007 at 6:49 pm #

    I was in Tehran in 1979 when martial law was declared. There was a tank on a busy intersection near where I worked. A demonstration marched down one street and the officers gave the order to fire into them. Instead of carrying out the orders the enlisted men turned on their officers and joined the demonstrators. I should hope something similar would happen here,

  23. Tom Blanton May 15, 2007 at 12:42 am #

    Nice pictures, Jim. The decorative fencing is especially pleasing. What a glorious day in DC!

    I hope all the citizens remembered to thank the guardians of our way of life for their service. As for me, I’ve been serviced so well I can hardly sit down. I’d like to thank all the government folks for their service by volunteering to go without all their servicing – they deserve a break. I’ll just serve myself.

  24. Jim May 15, 2007 at 7:13 am #

    Tom, alas, in this post-9/11 era, citizen self-service is no longer allowed.

    But at least they have not yet banned taking photographs on the Smithsonian Mall….

  25. Mike of the Great White North May 15, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people!


  26. chris May 15, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    The confident, mighty and secure do not need such displays. Militaries may arguably be the natural outcome of nationalism, even not approaching jingoism. But militaries are the hand of government sponsored murder. Give government any resource and it will find ways to use it.

    Such public displays prominently show our fear, and are symbols of our response to fear. And we pass it along to the next generation at worst with merely a frown on our faces, rather than anger at the rape that is really is.

    “War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.” Madison