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January 09, 2011


The hills are alive...

My mom also loves The Sound of Music. The idea that she's punk is sort of making my head spin.

Open threads are usually for pleasant topics of discussion, but I want to post a link to a piece about precision guided munitions and the rationalizing the US uses to justify hitting civilian infrastructure. The idea is that you can destroy civilian infrastructure with the PGM's so long as you aren't doing it solely to cause civilian terror--OTOH, causing civilian unrest is a good thing. The US was already thinking along those lines in the Gulf War (there's an article by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post from June 23 1991 that is commonly cited in this connection).


I love TSOM, von. And my wife? Narrowly missed being named Liesl. Very, very narrowly. Even given that, she loves TSOM.

My kids love it, too. Sometimes they even beg us to watch it.

I almost forgot: nice to be viewing your pixels again, von.

The greatest post ever on history-spork.livejournal.com.

I played the band highlights from SOM in high school, when the show was new and the movie wasn't even produced yet.

Hated it then, hate it now, 50 years or so later. Rodgers and Hammerstein had just run out of genius by then. (Actually, they had run out of genius with Flower Drum Song in 1958.)

My wife, who I think met one of the Von Trapps once, loves it.

The way you stay married for 30+ years is just to agree not to discuss certain things.

My wife and sister-in-law love TSOM.

And, no, I don't understand it, either.

Because if loving The Sound of Music in the face of such disdain ain't punk, I don't know what is.

Next you will be trying to tell me that Lawrence Welk is really metal.

I like the Sound of Music more than von. Take it how you like.


I do like the Sound of Music, and it makes my comment less insulting.

Come on, what about John Coltrane?

This reminds me I need to get that on DVD, thanks von.

Good to see you, von.

The only outing I ever went on with the only grandparent who survived to see my birth, was with my paternal grandmother, who took me, and I think my sister, to see The Sound of Music when it was still either in first or second run in theaters.

That is, we visited my grandmother many times at her apartment, she came to our apartment, and we were variously on other outings, but that was the sole time it was just my grandmother, myself, and my sister.

So that's memorable to me.

Beyond that, I like some of the songs, if in the right mood, and otherwise you really don't want a professional review from me. :-)

I neither love it nor hate it. I suppose I mildly like it, or at least bits of it, and don't mind the rest, so long as watching it isn't mandatory.

Nice opening photography.

Oh, but what peeves me about it is the way it glosses that Austrians tended to be more Nazi than Germans, very loosely speaking, or at the least, perhaps more fairly, were, for reasons of the approaching Cold War, were immediately post-war declared to be purely victims of the Nazi Party, so they'd stay properly neutral in the post-WWII era, rather than be peeved by being treated as if they were other than victims of Hitler.

Digressively, I only finally was able to confirm just a couple of months ago something I had strong reason to believe all my life, but hadn't had firm confirmation of, which is that at least one of my never-met grandparents was killed in the Shoah.

But now I'm getting way too serious, so I'll say that a few of my favorite things include feet, warmth, and sunlight.

And I adore mountains, though not necessarily climbing even one, let alone every one of them.

And I love music. And the sound of it.

Some of it.

And deeply obscurely, that mentions of the show/movie remind me of a man whose home I visited twice, named Harry Warner, Jr.

ral, you can tell I've read too much Facebook: like.

Ugh: maybe you do and maybe you don't.

Or perhaps you'd enjoy the horror version.

I think almost everyone might!

Donald, it's difficult to respond to your link without responding, so this about that: I haven't read Shue's piece, and won't be until I see an unshortened link. And time.

I'm therefore not commenting on Shue's piece, since I haven't read it.

But as regards the article you link to about Shue's article:

[...] Anyone, whether a U.S. or Israeli targeteer, a blogger, or an armchair analyst who has done any research into the history of strategic bombing and "total war" knows very well that targeting the economy of the enemy in the hope of winning a war speedily is a hopeless venture... as anyone who grew up in the London Blitz or who saw what happened in the Israeli assaults against Lebanon in 2006 or Gaza in 2008 could attest.
Or, of course, anyone German or Japanese. Weird omission, given that those two are vastly better examples than, with the greatest of respect to those who suffered through or died during the Blitz -- and I had more than one friend who did live through a direct hit on his house, which I stayed in for a weekend, decades later, although the house -- obviously repaired -- was otherwise pretty well unchanged from that time, giving me a truly authentic British experience when visiting, sleeping, and bathing during the month of November.

I can't say that I personally know anyone who went through anything Gazans have gone through, but I mean no disrespect to anyone who has suffered so terribly as Gazans have, either.

But Japan and Germany truly are far better examples, and I'll avoid detailing how and why.

This is a completely trivial point, but it did stop me when reading that sentence, and I did, after all, in my previous comment more or less insult all Germans and Austrians of the era with one brush, so I'd also like to attempt to slightly compensate for that by pointing out just how much worse Germans and Japanese did suffer, horrific as the two examples given were/are.

On this:

[...] By 2003, the new version of this same document had completely taken out that caveat.
Again, I can't comment on Shue, but it's bizarre to say this without use of the word "Serbia" or "Bosnia."

I don't contest anything else; merely that to not mention the actual reason, however reasonable or unreasonable, is a more than significant omission.

Beyond that: hey, how about a guest post, Donald, on this?

On a personal note, the only grandparent I ever knew, Ida Farber, died when I was either 12 or 13 (I'd have to check, and those weren't pleasant years for me).

I've always been envious of folks with... families.

But I'm pleased that so many people do. They're nice to have, clearly.

Matt, thanks for the spork. If I'd read it before commenting, I'd not have needed to make a couple of my comments, and yours was much better.


I did, after all, in my previous comment more or less insult all Germans and Austrians of the era with one brush

No. You insulted some of them, a minority. The rest you spoke the truth about.

I like TSOM when I was a kid. I was raised on musicals. My favorite as a child was West Side STory but I loved the romantic songs in South Pacific. Music Man was a family favorite. I haven't herad TSOM in many years but I think it would be too saccharine for my tastes now.

I'm in a sort of Three Penny Opera mood tonight, though: grim, dark, sad, angry, cynical.

I'm currently reading Dave Barry's tricky business, and recently ran across this paragraph, from a scene set in what's politely called a rest home:

Two weeks earlier, the woman who sang show tunes, a Mrs. Bendocker, had performed a medley from
The Sound of Music, and during her big finale, "Climb Every Mountain", while she was shrieking out the high notes for "...till you find your dreeeeeeeam," Mrs. Fenwick, who was sitting in the front row, had emitted a gack and keeled over, dead as a doornail. A lawsuit had already been filed.

The Sound of Mucus:

"Most of the interiors were filmed in Los Angeles and the exteriors were shot in Austria. The nuns were confused by having to run through abbeys at Fox and coming out the door in Salzburg. Kym Karath who played the youngest of the seven Von Trapp children gained a lot of weight eating cream cakes during the six month stint in Europe. For the final scene when Christopher Plummer as the Captain lead the family to their escape through the Alps, the Canadian actor had to carry the heavy child for several hours. After several takes he screamed at Robert Wise to get it right, his back was breaking. Although Plummer would come to appreciate the film in later years, during the shoot he became dispirited and complained constantly. He referred to the picture as The Sound Of Mucus.

Robert Wise said it was good that Plummer was distant toward the children, it helped them to be scared of him on screen. Conversely, Andrews was as warm as she needed to be. She helped the child actors get over their nerves by making funny faces. The production was held up constantly by rain. Andrews would entertain the bored crew by bursting into song or doing Buster Keaton like pratfalls. It was her idea that Maria should sometimes be cross or exhausted having to take care of so many children, that she be more spirited than sweet.

But she couldn't always keep her humor. For the opening sequence with Maria running through the hills Wise used a helicopter to the get the shot. The force from the blades kept blowing Julie over. In between takes she would spit out dirt and grass, cursing like a sailor.

The first reviews of the film were extremely negative. The premiere party was like a wake. But the initial slow business turned into a phenomenon as The Sound Of Music became the most successful film of all time in 1965, surpassing even Gone With The Wind (1939). The Hollywood Studios including Fox saw salvation in Musicals. Many such as Doctor Dolittle (1967) and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) lost millions of dollars. Bitter film executives who failed to cash in or who were fired because of being copycats blamed The Sound Of Music for ruining the movie business.

One person who had a great time was Maria von Trapp who made a brief cameo in the film. She loved how Hollywood changed things. So what if in real life the Von Trapps had no problem getting out of Austria, that their real problem had been getting past American immigration.

Who cared if she had lashed out at her stepchildren when they wanted to quit their music careers and had felt uncomfortable all living together out of a bus for eighteen years. And the best part was the handsome young actor they got to play the Captain. When she married Georg he was old. It had been more for security than love. When introduced to Christopher Plummer, the former nun shocked him by greeting him with a big kiss on the lips. "My God, darling I wished my husband looked as good as you!"

Sort of like wonkie, I was sort of raised on musicals, which included being the piano accompanist to my high school’s productions of The Music Man and Oliver and a helper with Oklahoma! One of my earliest memories (more like a memory of a memory now) is of falling asleep in a movie theater while my parents watched White Christmas. Bing Crosby was singing, snow was falling....

Though my cynicism to sentimentality ratio is orders of magnitude greater than it was when I was young (wonkie guesses right, The Sound of Music the movie strikes me as just silly now), certain music gets under my skin as effectively as it ever did. I have never watched White Christmas without tears flowing at "We'll follow the old man," nor can I listen to "Edelweiss" without waterworks. Regardless of the movie or the von Trapps or anything else, “Edelweiss” makes me homesick for the home I have (which I may leave one of these days), the home I don't have, and all the places I've never been, most of which I know I'll never see, including places that don't exist any more and places that never existed in the first place.

I could go on: "How do you solve a problem like Maria” is fun, not to mention a lot of the music from My Fair Lady and Camelot....

Nice to know that all this makes me punk. I feel better about it knowing that I've got von's mother for good company.

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And butterflies do fly

Rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And music
And music
Makes me cry

Quincy Jones, Everything Must Change (composer: Benard Ighner)

My mother loved musicals and my exposure to many of them was cast recordings on LPs long before I ever saw any of the movies. So this music is engraved on my brain.

Hey, von, don't diss Cats. You know who wrote the text, except for "Memory" (which was, of course, the big hit). The music was pretty good too.

I recommend just listening to the recordings if you don't care for the rest of the production.

I, too, was raised on musicals. Except that, for me, there was as heavy dose of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals -- not least because the local light opera company was full of people who loved them.

I have to say that, on balance, The Sound of Music is only so-so. Better than things like On a Clear Day or Carousel, no where near as good as Mikado or Hello, Dolly! A good musical is hard to do, since you have to have an interesting story to go with songs which are both well done and work well with the story.

P.S. I have to admit that my current favorite is probably Victor/Victoria -- how can you go wrong with Julie Andrews and James Garner? ;-)

I was brought up on Gilbert and Sullivan and the original cast albums of what I think of as the classic Broadway musicals (because they're the ones that I was ..., well, you know): Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. I've never outgrown any of them.

And a music-related horror story. The small software company I used to work for was recently bought by a gigantic one. During the first meeting with the new boss, my daughter called my cell phone; her ring tone is her favorite Bach piece. The boss asked, in all seriousness "Yeah, what commercial is that from"?

Long time lurker, rare commenter (I wasn't afraid of whales. Large aquariaums are a different matter). And my father's favorite movie is TSOM. He grew up on a cattle ranch, worked as an aeronaticual engineer and thought Gorbachev was a plot by the KGB to lure the West into a false sense of securtiy. I was and completely bamboozled that its his favorite pic. Me? I love Chinatown.

"Oh, but what peeves me about it is the way it glosses that Austrians tended to be more Nazi than Germans,"

Ah, yes, that would explain the character of Rolf, Liesl's boyfriend who becomes an enthusiastic Nazi. And who, in the movie, at least, screamed for the guards when he caught them trying to escape, knowing Liesl might die as a result.

I like The Sound of Music. Not to the extent I like, say, South Pacific, but I watch it every few years.

my wife loves tSoM. i bought it on DVD for her, last xmas. she hasn't had to unwrap it, because, somehow, it's always on TV when she wants to watch it.

Yes, Rolf gives up his gun to the captain and only shouts out when the Captain says that he'll never be one of them. Because one of the features of Nazis was there constant questioning as to whether they were worthy of being part of the 1000 year Reich.

It reminds me of this anecdote

Mr. T [another guest] was telling me the scenes that happened in Rocky III, where he lost. The reason he lost was because his mother needed money for an operation, and so he was paid to take a dive. And I said, "Well, I don't remember that in the movie." And he just looks at me right in the eye and says, "Things you don't see!"

I should say, I think a lot of the songs in that movie are pretty good. Rodgers and Hammerstein knew what they were doing.

...And Robert Wise, of course, was a genius cinematographer who carried that through to his directing. You can tell it's a Wise movie from the first shot.

I love TSOM, and I know all the words to every song, although sometimes these days a few slip away.

But I also know all the words to the songs in Mary Poppins, Oklahoma, any random Bing Crosby movie and almost everything that Gladys Knight and the Pips and Boyz2Men ever sang. Plus thousands more.

A curse and a blessing. So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye.

Also, I always wondered how you solve a problem like Maria, it would help me to know.

Next you will be trying to tell me that Lawrence Welk is really metal.

That comment is One Toke Over the Line, russell. (Not metal, but still...)

A wonderful gospel song.....

hairshirt -- my laugh of the day. Not so much the song, as Lawrence Welk calling it a spiritual.

I just sang "One toke over the line sweet Jesus" on the phone to a friend the other day for some reason that I now can't remember. She had never heard it. She said, astonishment ringing down the wire, "Toke"?

My mother loved Lawrence Welk when I was growing up. 'Nuf said.

Some (perhaps all) of the Lawrence Welk musicians were quite good, and were active in other musical endeavors.

Henry Cuesta was a guest of my high school jazz band (which, really, is a lot better billing than it sounds; some of their guests were quite accomplished), and was a really good jazz clarinetist.

The Welk, they have been among us.

Plus, his middle name was "Falcon". That should be an automatic win.

My grandparents watched Lawrence Welk every Sunday. We would go over their place for dinner, and Lawrence Welk would torture me until the Six Million Dollar Man (awesome! - better, stronger, faster) came on. At least that's how I remember it.

I like musicals a lot.

A fair amount of what is called "The American Songbook" or "Standards" - Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, etc. was written for Broadway in the 30's and 40's, or for musical films of the era. So this stuff has some endurance. As do later efforts as well.

My mother played the South Pacific soundtrack pretty much nonstop when I was in kindergarten and younger. A couple of decades later, she finally Washed That Man Right Out of Her Hair.

I think I got my procrastination gene from her.


I think Helena Cobban wrote that because she focuses on Middle Eastern issues and also because Israel's wars are arguably the most recent examples of the phenomenon described. The Shue piece mentions the failure of strategic bombing in Japan and Germany and Afghanistan during the 80's. In fact, my own pet peeve is that it doesn't include any mention of the bombing of Korea. Here's a long excerpt--
Why bomb off the battlefield at all? According to Douhet, wars can be won by bombing civilian populations indiscriminately and into submission. This doctrine has been widely refuted on historical grounds. As the British Bombing Survey Unit concluded, “In so far as the offensive against German towns was designed to break the morale of the German civilian population, it clearly failed.” In a definitive study of “punishment” or “morale” bombing, Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (1996), Robert A. Pape observed that: “Over more than seventy-five years, the record of air power is replete with efforts to alter the behaviour of states by attacking or threatening to attack large num- bers of civilians. The incontrovertible conclusion from these campaigns is that air attack does not cause citi- zens to turn against their government. Air power slaughtered British, German, and Japanese civilians in World War II; threatened Egyptian civilians in the 1970 ‘war of attrition’ with Israel; and depopulated large
parts of Afghanistan in the 1980s. In each case, the citizenry remained loyal to its leaders. In fact, in the more than thirty major strategic air campaigns that have thus far been waged, air power has never driven the masses into the streets to demand anything.”
In 1998 the U.S. Air Force issued Doctrine Document 2-1.2, Strategic Attack, which included a key passage that recognized the inability of air power to achieve military results by breaking civilian morale. “Despite attempts to achieve psychological collapse of an adver- sary through population attack—most notably by the German and British strategic air campaigns of World War II—the ability of airpower to achieve victory through direct psychological impact alone (without resort to WMD) has not been substantiated.” According to this report, prolonged strategic air campaigns against targets cho- sen to deplete “morale,” on the contrary, may “serve to stiffen national resolve and neutralize the desired psy- chological impact.” This happened in the Battle of Britain during World War II and Operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam. This document rejects the strat- egy presented by Douhet. It notes that “a demoralizing psychological impact can be an elusive objective.”
This passage from the 1998 Air Force document is perfectly true, and quite wise. When Doctrine Document 2-1.2 was reprinted in 2003, the entire passage just quoted had disappeared from it.


i love the songs, but can't stand musicals (in general). i just don't like the notion that a whole group of people will spontaneously burst into a song which (presumably, because they're often up-to-the-second topical) none of them has heard before.

Also, Gary, I'm not sure that the bombing of Serbia or Bosnia explain whatever was happening inside the air force bureaucracy. Did they think that the example of Serbia cancelled out all that had gone before? Did the US military think it had suddenly discovered just the right way to bomb people to achieve American goals? We had hit Iraq's civilian infrastructure much harder during the 1991 Gulf War without causing Saddam to fall.

Here, btw, is the link to the Barton Gellman article on the bombing of Iraq--


cleek, maybe there's a demon involved.

Regarding strategic bombing, it may be the case that the US Air Force is much better at convincing people that it is effective than actually being, well, effective. Note this article from the journal International Security that explains how the air power was not generally far less useful during the first Gulf War than is conventionally thought.

I'm pretty much right there with cleek.

That said, I'm not sure what it says about me that I didn't even have to look at ral's link to know where it led.

I love musicals precisely for the reason that great quantities of people drop whatever boring things they are doing, pour into the streets, and break into song and synchronized dance at the drop of Fred Astaire's hat.

It beats 99% of reality 50% of the time, as Yogi Berra might sing in the remake of "Damn Yankees".

How spontaneous IS reality anyhoo?

A flash performance of Handel's Messiah in a food court is faux spontaneous, but when it is over, tell me how spontaneous finishing the second half of your Orange Julius hot dog feels, not to mention how spontaneous it feels to not be able to find your effing car in the effing Mall parking lot one more effing time even though the scene has been rehearsed so many times that it has lost its spontaneity.

Wouldn't you rather have all of the people in the parking lot wandering around searching for their car suddenly join ranks and tap dance their way through a rousing rendition of "I Swear I Parked The Car in G-19".

That said, I like parodies of musicals, too, like the "Oliver" bit in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life".

There's a reason the Wicked Witch of the West is the only prime character in "The Wizard of OZ" who doesn't sing and dance.

She can't.

I'd like to see an inverse musical - something like a church choir suddenly stopping in the middle of song to build a large wooden boat or restore a '68 Camaro.

That would be funny, if not useful.

But, instead of boat-building or Camaro-restoring, I think the choir would spontaneously start picking up litter on the church grounds or break into a spontaneous church business meeting to discuss the grievous state of the endowment.

"Hey, kids, stop the music, my uncle has a barn where we could put on the committee meeting!"

Maybe we could change the song "Whistle While You Work" to "Work and Then You Can Whistle, If There is Time".

Followed by a reprise of the "Do More With Less" rag, but skip two verses and a chorus to save money.

I really, really dislike musicals, partly for the same reason cleek does. When I was a kid I didn't like any of the Disney movies because they kept singing all the time.

But, I find myself singing "So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye" when I am saying goodbye to people and it drives me INSANE.


i just don't like the notion that a whole group of people will spontaneously burst into a song which (presumably, because they're often up-to-the-second topical) none of them has heard before.

Does that happen so much? Sometimes, yes, but aren't most of the songs solos or duets? Not that I've counted, of course.

@ cleek
@ Bernard Yomtov

Older musicals (pre-Oklahoma and Showboat) were just reviews, with the "plot" loosely strung around mostly unrelated songs.

Jerome Kern and Rodgers/Hammerstein changed that, and made the songs an integral part of the storytelling. In effect, they moved vaudeville and opera closer together, leading eventually to Sondheim. (VERY short version - I'm trying to type this and get out of work fairly quickly. Quickly typing is not my forte.)

@Countme--In Has anybody ever seen you and John Thullen together at the same time? I thought not!


Thanks. I haven't seen many of those, just know the music. The one I did see a few years ago, "Of Thee I Sing," definitely had a plot line, albeit a very bizarre one.

@ Bernard Yomtov
...definitely had a plot line, albeit a very bizarre one.

Exactly. The Gershwins, Irving Berlin, etc also re-used and recycled songs in totally unrelated shows (as, by the way, Mozart, Rossini and many others did before them).


Actually, bizarre though the plot is, the music does follow it.

If you haven't seen it and get a chance, go. It has distinct (Groucho) Marxist overtones, since the script was written by Kaufman and Ryskind.


Long time lurker, rare commenter (I wasn't afraid of whales. Large aquariaums are a different matter).
kate, I don't know anything else about you, but my memory isn't terribly bad, and given that this is one of the most bizarre threads ObWi has ever had, it's impossible to forget. :-)
I am going back to the whales! Never thought of them before (and will never look at them in the same way again) but I really dislike those huge aquariums. Like at Seaworld. Where you can go down three stories and look at Shamu. I am terrified that the glass will crack and I will die or I will be crushed or even I will get eaten by Shamu (yes fear even before the edward post. not frightened of wild whales, but whales in captivity). And if that isn't irratinal enough, I have always been afraid on bridges or piers with gaps between planks of wood that I will slip through. Or now that I am grown and about to start another new year vowing to lose weight/be more active, that I will trip on the crack and go falling over the side. Likely to be eaten by Shamu.

Posted by: kate | January 04, 2005 at 05:27 AM

Everyone else new to ObWi: google and other search engines led to a snowball effect you'll see there of whalephobics, finding each other, and whale-fear bonding.

It was very interesting to watch. It just kept going.


Well, that didn't work, and since it's vons' post, I can't fix it, but I was pointing to this from South Pacifi.

Donald, wouldn't this be relevant to mention? 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I like A Shoggoth on the Roof otherwise not a special fan of musicals (no general foe either).
I like the Monty Python takes on musicals too. The Meaning of Life was actually the place I heard of TSoM first. I've seen the Goodbye song due to a link from here but that's all of it (and I hope it stays so).
I am heavily culturally prejudiced against Austrians (and Bavarians for that matter). Doing bad stuff then blaming failure on others and declaring themselves victims is part of the Austrian national character (not that I intend to exculpate Germany for either WW1 or WW2). As the saying goes, the Austrians managed to make Beethoven an Austrian and Hitler a German (and got pretty angry when Mozart made the list of most important Germans of all time*).
Playing the advocatus diaboli:
Douhet included indiscriminate use of posion gas in his strategic bombing campaigns (don't know about bio weapons). His followers abstained from that (at least against 'civilized' enemies). That could have undermined the effect. Radioactive waste could also be an option (depleted uranium doesn't work fast enough).

*strictly spoken WAM was neither German nor Austrian since Salzburg then was independent.

"i just don't like the notion that a whole group of people will spontaneously burst into a song which (presumably, because they're often up-to-the-second topical) none of them has heard before."

I've seen it happen in real life. Once. In fifty years. And it wasn't a whole song, just a fragment. A sarcastic, "Walks like a man, talks like a woman" after a Gibbs song on the radio... But you'd swear they'd rehearsed it, to see it happen. The timing was perfect.

"i just don't like the notion that a whole group of people will spontaneously burst into a song..."

What? You don't like random acts of culture?

I'm joking, of course.

I also remember the whale thread. It's a classic. I had no idea that there were people who are afraid of whales, other than orcas,of course, which are scarey from a kayak.

Yes, Gary, bombing campaigns in the Balkans during the 90's would be relevant to mention. But I don't think it changes Shue's point in any important way, which is that some in the military think civilian infrastructure is a legitimate target in war and in part they think this because they wish to put pressure on the enemy government by hurting the civilian population and doing so in ways that seem less vicious than carpet bombing. However, the case of the Gulf War shows that this alternative approach can be just as deadly as carpet bombing.

Your Balkans point goes to the question of why they think it is effective--out of all the air campaigns in history, maybe there were one or two that were "successful". It's not an impressive record. It might be interesting to understand why the Balkans were different.

"However, the case of the Gulf War shows that this alternative approach can be just as deadly as carpet bombing."

In case I need to point this out, just as deadly because Iraq (due to sanctions) had trouble repairing the infrastructure and infant mortality rates went up. These two quotes from the Gellman article linked above are relevant--

"Some critics, including a Harvard public health team and the environmental group Greenpeace, have questioned the morality of the bombing by pointing to its ripple effects on noncombatants.

The Harvard team, for example, reported last month that the lack of electrical power, fuel and key transportation links in Iraq now has led to acute malnutrition and "epidemic" levels of cholera and typhoid. In an estimate not substantively disputed by the Pentagon, the team projected that "at least 170,000 children under five years of age will die in the coming year from the delayed effects" of the bombing.

Military officials assert that allied aircraft passed up legitimate targets when the costs to Iraqi civilians or their society would be too high, declining for instance to strike an Iraqi MiG-21 parked outside an ancient mosque. Using the same rationale, the critics argue that the allies should not have bombed electrical plants that powered hospitals and water treatment plants.

"I think this war challenges us to ask ourselves whether or not the lethality of conventional weapons in modern, urban, integrated societies isn't such that . . . what is 'legitimate' is inhumane," said William M. Arkin, one of the authors of the Greenpeace report.


And then there's this--


"People say, 'You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,' " said the planning officer. "Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions -- help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions."

Col. John A. Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime."

"Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage."

I was raised on Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, so your mom and I would get along like a house on fire.
While I enjoy the TSOM movie, my favorite musical is Les Mis.

Entirely possible that this thread is already dead but I can't resist throwing pointless minutiae at it anyhow.

Robert Beller's history of Austria (2003?) has a great chapter on 1955-70, and he even discusses TSOM. Apparently, Wise wanted to film the triumphant Nazi entry into Salzburg, but the city council was horrified and absolutely refused to grant permission. No patriotic Austrian would have celebrated the invasion of their country! So the filmmakers offered to compromise by using 1938 filmreel footage instead...

A compromise was reached quite rapidly.

Beller also suggests that, because of Austria's unique position in the Cold War, the pre-war Austrian celebration of Vienna as a _Weltstadt_ got turned on its head, and TSOM helped cement Austrian identity based on the Alpine hinterlands. "As though Papageno was now the star of _The Magic Flute_ instead of Tamino," as I recall him putting it.

Papageno would beat Tamino in most popularity contests, at least that's my opinion/impression. Not uncommon for (not just) Mozart operas btw, the 'low couple' often is the actual favorite of the audience, not the 'high' one with the usually rather stiff behaviour.

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