My mother died in 1977, my father on Pearl Harbor Day 1983. They and their urge to volunteer no longer have a place in the world of 2015. When I try to imagine Irma Selz today, in the context of America's new wartime and its endless wars, conflicts, raids, and air assassination campaigns, I think of her drawing drones (or their operators) or having to visit a Special Operations version of a Stage Door Canteen so secret that no normal American could even know it existed. I imagine her sketching soldiers in units so "elite" that they probably wouldn't even be allowed to send their portraits home to lovers or wives.
In these decades, we've gone from an American version of people's war and national mobilization to people-less wars and a demobilized populace. War has remained a constant, but we have not and in our new 1% democracy, that's a loss. Given that, I want to offer one small cheer, however belatedly, for Irma the Caricaturist. She mattered and she's missed.
Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
[Note: I'd also like to offer a final salute to Henry Drewry, one of the last of the World War II generation in my life and one of the great ones. He died on November 21, 2014. Tom]
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Copyright 2015 Tom Engelhardt
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).