I’ve been told that the titles that I normally give my posts are horribly dull. Well is the above an inflammatory enough lead-in for you?


Via the Corner, I (as well as thousands of others by now) learned that an organization called MoveOn.org has produced a new version of the famous LBJ/Goldwater television commercial of a cute little kid picking daisies in a field that seemed to suggest either that 1) Libertoid Barry was just the off-kilter type who would send the nukes flying the moment Brezhnev looked at him cock-eyed, or 2) for some reason, the boys at NORAD were taking their Defcon cues from an 8 year old girl.

Now, is it just me, or is there something satisfyingly ironic in the shameless revival of an unfair piece of wild-eyed Cold War-era propaganda by a group that calls itself “MoveOn”?

Anyway, I’m of course too young to have seen the original commercial when it aired that single time, but to have it described to me by folks who were there, it was a TV event nearly akin to watching Oswald get shot. Dennis Leary once said that he and his age cohorts became the first generation of TV junkies because of suprising, singular moments like those.

But I saw a tape of the ad in my 10th grade history class, and remember being somewhat underwhelmed . Admittedly, at that point it had been 7 years or so since David Hasselhof had sung atop the falling Berlin wall and the Soviet Union had agreed to surrender and disband immediately if only he would just stop right NOW, and the American nation had thus safely tucked away the last of its nuclear paranoia into that old steamer chest in the attic full of bell-bottoms and other things apt to cause mild embarrassment and the weak explanation of “Well, it was the style back then.”

Now, it seems though that that the Fear-of-Nuclear-War Action Playset is being dusted off again for an entirely new generation of nuclear emergency drills in highschools and teenage boys convincing their girlfriends to put out because it “could all be over tomorrow” (lucky jerks… I never had that line at my disposal. What was I supposed to say? “Come on, baby, we have to seize the day, because tomorrow they might raise the Capital Gains tax!”)

At least, that’s the impression they seem to be selling in the new daisy girl commercial.



You’ve got a cute-as-a-button little girl oblivious to all the ugly trouble and bad people in the world picking petals off a flower and a grandfatherly voice-over with a vaguely Jimmy Stewart-esque amiable drawl whose voiced concerns amount to, maybe, just maybe, things won’t go exactly as planned … then BOOM: mushroom clouds over New York.

…or so he seems to think .


War with Iraq. Maybe it’ll end quickly. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will spread. Maybe extremists will take over countries with nuclear weapons. Maybe. .. the unthinkable. [Cue up picture of mushroom cloud]


Maybe granpappy hasn’t been taking his meds.

The schizophrenia of such an advertisement really has to make one wonder how successful the folks at MoveOn have been in shutting out the voices. After all, here we have a commercial making dire, apocalyptic warnings about the results of “extremists with nuclear weapons,” in order to stop a war whose entire purpose is keeping an insane extremist from getting nuclear weapons. With a different voice-over (of course, it would have to be Charleton Heston) the exact same images of cute little girl, anti-American violence around the world, and nuclear cloud could be much better employed to make the point that war with Iraq is absolutely necessary.

For months now, the voices from the anti-war camp (at least those who are not so pathologically delusional as to hope that an inspection process continually impeded by Saddam’s best efforts can be effective) have been saying that a nuclear Saddam could be safely deterred, and the risk of attacking him militarily before he gets his membership card to the Nuclear Club is unacceptable . Well then, I suggest you tell that to the little girl in the daisy field who just got vaporized.

As far as I can tell, the logic (and I use that word loosely) of the ad seems to take as its main point the worry that war with Iraq will cause “extremists [to] take over countries with nuclear weapons.”

So which countries are those? Of course Jimmy Stewart doesn’t say, because he’d be somewhat rhetorically limited by the fact that there currently are no countries that have both credible extremist threats and nuclear weapons, save for perhaps Pakistan (and Musharraf has shown that he is adept at mediating their influence thus far). That’s the whole point, friend. We’d like to keep it that way, if you don’t mind.

Imagine a world where Iraq, Iran, and possibly all of the chummy terrorist organizations they cozy up to on a daily basis with access to nuclear weapons, and suddenly those images of 8 year olds and mushroom clouds start making a lot more sense.

last update : 21-4-2018

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