Those Deadly Democrats

“Which presidents and political parties were responsible for America’s deadliest wars?” asks the cartographer. “Republicans, Democrats, or the Founding Fathers?” This animated view of America’s military history is from the guy who brought you the animated Imperial History of the Middle East.

It’s fascinating because it’s a fine example of political propaganda — released as it was shortly before the US mid-term Congressional elections, showing how (apparently) the Democrats have caused more death than the Republicans. Watch and learn…

It’s ridiculously naive to say that “World War II was a Democrat war”. That’s like saying the Port Arthur Massacre was a Liberal massacre because John Howard just happened to be Prime Minister at the time — a point made by some of the people who commented on this map and only poorly defended by the maker:

History is not some bedrock of truth, it’s gossip. It is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. I have no responsibility to adhere to our current perception of ‘history,’ but only to faithfully uphold the hard facts of past events.

My work is not propaganda — it is fact.

Note ‘history’ in quote marks, whereas his version is “fact”. And then, of course, that magnificent tactic: completely ignoring the specifics of the criticism and wrapping up with:

Where is my argument flawed?

Well, as one commenter pointed out, the facts are wrong and the presentation is flawed. The US debacle in Somalia started under George Bush Sr, but is shown as happening on Bill Clinton’s watch, a Democrat. And the circles showing the wars are not scaled to reflect the number of deaths — so there’s undue visual emphasis on the little wars.

But none of that matters, because as propaganda it works well. There’s enough detail to make it look factual — “Wow all those wars I’d never heard of, gosh, this is well-researched!”. And there’s still the Big Red Blotch of the “Republican” American Civil War so the cartographer can claim he wasn’t biased — but that’s a long time ago, and we all know that the Civil War ended slavery, right, so it was a “good” war?

Our cartographer might gain more credibility if he wasn’t anonymous. “Maps-of-War is created by a Flash-Designer hobbyist and professional history-buff,” he says. A “history buff” who’s being paid? By whom, I wonder?

2 Replies to “Those Deadly Democrats”

  1. “History is not some bedrock of truth, it’s gossip.”

    Oh dear, their credibility vanished faster than a fine bottle of red wine in Amanda Vanstone’s office.

    It’s a pretty graphic with pretty circles, but I was left wondering what the bloody point of it was. To attempt to break down involvement in international conflicts to a partisan-related death toll is disingenuous to say the least.

    On the plus side, it has alerted me to the existence relatively obscure conflicts like the Barbary Wars, which might be worthy of a Wikisearch or two.

  2. I suspect it was party-political, some much-needed propaganda just before mid-terms when the Iraq War was _the_ key issue.

    The Republicans were being criticised for screwing up in Iraq, so they could use something which makes the Democrats look like they’ve killed more of “our boys”.

    I don’t trust anyone who stays steadfastly anonymous while claiming to present “facts”.

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