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July 23, 2006

The Marines Have Landed. (Pass Your Luggage.)


If you closed your eyes for a moment, couldn’t you see this image as having some kind of connection to international, rather than domestic politics?

Instead, however, the visual media — once again doubling as the Administration’s PR arm — floods us with dramatic pics of sea landings and helicopter air-lifts to help reframe the Government’s delayed response to citizen’s pleas for evacuation.

I just love the shot, reeking — as it does — of authority, resourcefulness and spirit.  At once, it conjures iconic WW II beach landings.  It shouts out: “Dark days may be upon us, but we will prevail!”  And best of all, those college students and seniors are so distant, it almost appears like the Marines, on Lebanese soil, are making a (larger) difference. 

(image: Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press.  July 21, 2006. New York Times. Cover.)

  • jt from BC

    Israel gets carried away with “Saving Private Ryan” the US military counters with an “Omaha Beach” sequel, while in Iraq and Afghanistan its looking like 1+1 = q

  • ummabdulla

    I’ve been seeing all of the other countries take their people out on cruise ships or naval vessels. All of those people boarded the ships normally from the dock. Why is it that the U.S.couldn’t get their ships up to the dock like everyone else? Why do their people have to wade through the water to get to these amphibious things? Was it to emphasize how difficult the evacuation was, to minimize the complaining about the poor planning? Or are they afraid their ships will be attacked?
    It wasn’t too bad for some of them, though. I saw one photo of a Lebanese soldier carrying an attractive young woman through the water, while a U.S. Marine carried her things.

  • Aaron Adams

    A civilian Dunkirk.
    An improvement upon Katrina response perhaps but hardly a victory.

  • Keir

    Didn’t Churchill (no hero of mine) once say something like “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after exhausting all other options”…? Those college students and seniors probably would have preferred to continue doing whatever they were doing in Lebanon—without the US proxy army bombing it, necessitating the delayed and apparently photo-op response of the US Marines.

  • Ksue

    I am just so sick and tired of all the crap that continually spews forth from this administration.
    Funny how they could muster warships in record time to rescue Americans halfway across the world, but they couldn’t muster buses to get Americans out of NOLA.
    Oh. That’s right. Most of the Americans in Lebanon are “white.”

  • margaret

    Speaking of public Relation from the White House, the latest, via the NYT:
    During a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, Ms. Rice’s aides ran into a tired and angry group of Americans who had been evacuated from Lebanon and were trying to get home, but their plane, which stopped in Shannon, had broken down.
    Some of the Americans recognized Karen Hughes, the assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy. Within minutes she was surrounded by the group, who said they had been traveling for five days and had been at the airport for 24 hours.
    “I am so sorry,” she said, sitting at a bar drinking wine.

    A perfect example of the diconnect and disregard to the feelings and suffering of the people whose lives are impacted by this war-mongering.

  • flyingshark

    Who’s the soldier pointing at? Why do the people in the boat appear to be cowering in a corner? Afraid of what they are leaving? Or that domineering representation of the military in the foreground? One can’t help thinking of the opening shot of Saving Private Ryan, where the door swings down and open and the bullets spray in on the captive soldier.
    I don’t think this is a positive portrayal of anyone– the military swallowing the remote civilians in the boat? America in general?
    The shot’s reminiscent of a picture from Gulf War One of the Navy Seals, M-16’s drawn, landing on an Iraqi beach and being greeted by…. photographers.

  • gasho

    WMD’s – Nope
    Democracy and Freedom for Iraqi’s – Nope
    Peace and stabilization of the region – Nope
    What a great display of military strength!! Look how we can evacuate our tourists after we destabilize a region – isn’t that impressive stuff for a millitary superpower.
    I’m starting to think that we are the world’s lone remaining millitary superpower on paper only – if that. The PNAC boys need to rethink their game plan to reshape the world in America’s image through brute strength. Turns out our ability to shape the world is like the class clown’s ability to disrupt class – we’ve made fools of ourselves and everyone’s looking – but we can’t affect positive change, lead a moral charge or even win the fights we’ve started.

  • boxcar

    This is so like the Bush Motion Picture Studio. So dramatic.
    The truth is, that this was simply a stunt to enlist recruits.
    Very dramatic. Kind of like a ride at disneyland.
    “Come with us! Quickly! Your lives may very well depend upon it! By the way, have you ever really considered a career in the US Armed Forces? Here’s a phamplet…”
    This monsterous boat pulls up at Coney Island, Santa Monica Blvd, and even somehow managed to surface at the Orange Julius at the Great Mall in Minnesota.
    “Hiya kids!”

  • ahpook

    The subtext of this photo is dominated by its visual composition. While I have no doubt the episode was staged for PR effect, I am still struck by the very impressive execution at a purely artistic level. The fisheye lens (note the curvature of the horizon) exaggerates the line of forshortening that starts at the marine’s finger, follows his arm, and is continued along the top lines of the landing craft. I’d assume its SOP to park the LC at the line of the shorebreak but it’s impressive how the ramp appears to be providing a bridge starting on the land, over the turbulence, and out to the deep calm blue beyond. Very nicely done, as propaganda goes.

  • howler

    This guy is a sailor, not a marine and definetly not a “soldier” SeaBees and landing crew sailors, etc., wear cammo utilities but if you look closely at marine cammo it has that computor graphic pattern, this guy’s does not. If this were WWII we’d all know the difference between the services. Now nobody cares who doesn’t have a family member in one of them. Folks in the services are like the poor to us; we pretend to give a damn about them but we don’t really. It’s understandable in a way but it’s also sad. The Marine corps is actually a part of the Navy. A marine never calls himself or herself a “soldier” but they are referred to all the time as such by journalists who should know better.
    That’s what this photo represents to me: some poor schmuck trying to do his thankless job while the civilian worlds floats, in realative safety, a million miles away.
    Semper Fi!

  • Rafael

    Prolly a navy beachmaster, but still the point is that this a puer PR shot, full of energy but signifiying nothing, except the failure(s) of the Chimp-in-Charge.

  • Nezua-Limón Xoloquinta-Jonez

    Reminds me completely of wartime propaganda posters. Man in FG larger than life, pointing to some distant horizon (behind us, hahaha!), rippling waves and big iron. Woo-ha. I don’t know if this pic is pushing military might, compassion, or just the military, but either way, if I’m going to be manipulated to such a degree, I’d like a kiss first, thnx.
    And as far as the “civilian world floating in safety a million miles away”: the more war we let rip through the world, the unsafer we become, see? Don’t do it on my account, vato. Claim your own journey and goal. There ain’t no martyrs here no more.

  • jt from BC

    Noah’s Ark and the chosen few

  • Pyrrho

    “Hey, YOU! Get on the boat! Reality is coming and we gotta’ get the hell outta’ here!”

  • Rafael

    Nice one Pyrrho, you just gave me the tittle for my newest Blog article!!!

  • Cactus

    Ksue: Oh. That’s right. Most of the Americans in Lebanon are “white.”
    And perhaps more to the point, most are christian evangelicals.
    I think the initial response of this admin. was ‘let ‘em fry.’ That proved to be just a bit too much in their face for the rest of the world so, after France’s passenger liner rescue and other countries getting their people out, people all over the world were making comparisons to Katrina/NOLA. Helicopters provided that sense of urgency and pulling out the stops, but still left people saying WTF? And the rescuees have to pay for this?
    So finally we have the macho rescue, but pay attention here, this is no easy ride like those pussy French. If we have to rescue you, you’re gonna know you’re getting rescued! Nothing in this life is easy, get it?
    I googled Kervork’s images and he doesn’t use the wide angle very often; only saw 3-4 instances of it. Looks like 95% of his work is celebrities & sports. He did take some nice ones of Katrina’s damage aftermath. Judging by this photo, I’d sure like to see some of his private work. Can’t add much to ahpook’s comments; it IS a stunning image. I can’t help thinking that he was given this assignment and thought, might as well make the most of it and just couldn’t keep his artist’s eye in his pocket.
    I know I’m judging this as photo/artist and not political propaganda but that happens with good photography. Besides, guess I politicked out the past two Bag postings.

  • gbruno

    Maybe the Marines are scared… I seem to recall they cut and ran after a fuel-air incident at their barracks in 82. They havnt been back since.

  • Cactus

    Question: If this Israeli raid/attack was planned years ago, as it apparently was, and press, diplomats and U.S. government was in on all the briefings, then why the long delay in rescue efforts? [Ref. article on 7/21]
    Question: Does it appear to any one else that the U.S has been dragging its feet for days, not just with the rescue, but in paying no official notice and delaying the ’state visit’ of Rice? Was the delay because the admin knew that Israel was going to send in the troops and didn’t want to stop it? Or was it simply that Rice had no clue what was going on and had to take the extra time to bone up on the countries involved? You say it’s not Russia?

  • Rafael

    Of course they have taken there time, haven’t you been watching FauxSnooze? The only way finish this (say the gazillion non-military experts) is for US, I mean the Israelis to bomb Lebanon to kingdomcome, perhaps hopin that the Kingdom will come soon! I wonder if any of them, after advocating the death of thousands, will they be at the front or the line to Heaven or all the way back to the line, you know around the 7th level of Hell or something….

  • readytoblowagasket

    howler said: “That’s what this photo represents to me: some poor schmuck trying to do his thankless job while the civilian worlds floats, in realative safety, a million miles away.”
    Now that’s some verbal propaganda for us to ponder. If you were Lebanese, howler, this photo might represent a few galling unanswered questions, like why are all those U.S. tax-payer-funded bombs suddenly dropping from Israel’s planes? Why are entire Lebanese towns being flattened? Why is this rescue craft even here, when an immediate ceasefire could (should) have been an option? And whatever happened to all the excited “freedom’s on the march” in the Middle East predictions from a year ago?
    Is this what Bush had in mind by “march”? ‘Cause I had a totally different picture in my head.
    Well, anyway, let’s have some compassion for that poor schmuck who’s just doing his thankless job. And let’s imagine we’re safely floating a million miles away. Ahhh, that’s nice. Kind of like a Hallmark card from the Marines.

  • Howler

    Maybe you’re thinking I’m some seventy-five year old ex-marine from the ‘greatest generation’ blind to all that’s going on over there because I’m too lost in my own nastalgic delusions. But I’m merely commenting on what I believe is an interesting bit of Hypocracy. Maybe you’re thinking I’m being nit-picky about this guy being a salior and not a marine and maybe your right considering the much more serious events of the past two weeks. But it does bug me a little when we pretend to ’support the troops’ with our yellow car magnet ribbon thingies when in reality we don’t know anything about them, don’t give a damn about them, and would rather not think about them at all other than when we pray they continue doing the dirty work none of us would want to do.
    Don’t forget there was a point in the VN war where radicalized white middle-class college students were calling poor white and black draftees “Baby Killers” to their faces because they didn’t resist and go to jail (where being poor and unable to get college deferments, they were probably headed if they resisted). Yeah, this picture is a set up–sure. But the guy in it probably had no say. He’s the guy I want us to be careful not to turn on when things start really going south. That’s all. I agree with pretty much everything else. I’m not from the ‘greatest generation’, but,yes I am an ex-marine with a soft spot for enlisted service members. I’m also stone cold against these wars and this administration’s unconstitutional conduct.

  • jt from BC

    Howler your comments *are valuable* I don’t need an answer unless you wish to give one, but if asked by an economically challenged and patriotic young person would you recommend joining the military at this time ?

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