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Re: The new US Air Force motto: Those who forget history... - Elf M. Sternberg
Re: The new US Air Force motto: Those who forget history...
I see the Air Force has annouced their new logo and motto.

Enjoy the schadenfreude.

(via Boing Boing)

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: Peter Gabriel, Slowburn

33 comments or Leave a comment
rapier From: rapier Date: March 12th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Atrocious. I used to serve in the Air Force. I'm ... surprised and horrified that they'd go this route.

(Though, for the sake of accuracy, their motto is still "Integrity first, service above self, excellence in all we do." This "Above All" business seems like an advertising slogan. But it's still outrageous.)
elfs From: elfs Date: March 12th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a lot of chatter going about that the phrase "Uber Alles" predated the Nationalist Socialist party and wasn't intended to imply that Germany was "above all other nations." I don't buy it. That's a bit like claiming the swastika is just a Hindu good luck charm. The Nazis have ruined "Uber Alles" (in any language) for everyone, just as they've ruined spiffy black-and-silver for military uniforms, lightning bolt insignias, and a lot of other things they were unfortunately very good at. The design aesthetic of Nazi Germany was so strong that it's put a lot of strong visual impact off limits for several generations-- including mine. Heck, smart designers don't even go near red, black, white and quadrilateral symmetry mixes anymore.

I do not, however, count sh*tty little mustaches as part of that strong design aesthetic.

This is just a bad move on the Air Force's part. The connotations are just too strong; ask the Dead Kennedys. Hopefully, the backlash will be effective.
omahas From: omahas Date: March 12th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a bit like claiming the swastika is just a Hindu good luck charm.

The swastika is more than just a "Hindu good-luck charm". In fact, it has been found in so many different cultures and religions (from Buddhism and Hinduism, ancient Germanic and Celtic, to Native American), that the fact that it was appropriated by the Nazi's to the detriment of any other culture being able to use it for many generations without being assumed to be Nazi is a huge cultural and historical crime.

But I digress.
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
to the detriment of any other culture being able to use it for many generations without being assumed to be Nazi

I have multiple stores and temples adorned with swastikas within a 10 minute walk of my house. Maybe Toronto's more tolerant of other cultures, but I haven't seen any problems.
omahas From: omahas Date: March 13th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
That's terrific. I would guess that yes, Toronto is probably more tolerant. I can't imagine being in Florida, for example, and getting away with that.
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, my deck's stacked a little since I live near Toronto's main South Indian Hindu/Moslem neighbourhood, with some other South-East Asian and Tibetan people mixed in -- the swastika sporting temples look to be Vietnamese and Sri Lankan. There's two small mosques a street over from my house, a street so "white" they also used it as a stand-in for depression-era New Jersey in Cinderella Man. I love my neighbourhood. If y'all ever come up to Toronto, I'll give you a tour! ;)
sirfox From: sirfox Date: March 13th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
it was really interesting looking at Tokyo tourist maps, and seeing all the little swastikas marking out where temples were.

there was a moment of: *blink* "What the f... OH! right."
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, they were past of the Axis of Evil! It's proof they're backsliding!
gromm From: gromm Date: March 13th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The best one I've seen to date however, is a shop called "Aryan Market".

No swastika though.
mundens From: mundens Date: March 13th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)
"Uber Alles" comes from the chorus of the German national anthem at the time, the words being (translated ), "Germany, Germany over all, over all in the world". It is quite correct that this anthem pre-dated National Socialism, and it is reasonable to argue, as is done on the relevant wikipaedia page, that when it was written it was not intended quite how it was later used. Also, many countries have national anthems that put the home country ahead of other countries, so it's not unusual or unexpected.

As to the swasitka, it was used by the Nazi's because of their early association with Thule-Gesellschaft whose philosophical forebears had been using it for centuries. <ob-illuminati style="fnord">It is unsurprising that Hitler was told to utilize this symbol by his Masters in the Ordo Novo Templis.</ob-illuminati>

Anyone accusing someone of being a Nazi just because they use a swastika is at best being culturally insensitive, if not downright racist, especially if the person being accused is obviously of non-European descent. As a for instance, when in the northern provinces of India I saw the symbol quite regularly amongst the wards and charms that adorn the ubiquitous TaTa trucks, daubed in yellow or red/brown paint by the drivers to help ward off accidents.

Of course if the person being so accused has "a saltire fylfot sable, on a roundel argent, a field gules"*, wears a uniform with black leather boots, and invades Poland... well, then the accuser might have a case.

*try getting that past the SCA College of Arms!

Edited at 2008-03-13 02:05 am (UTC)
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
+3 Internet points for saltire fylfot sable, wikipædia and fnords! Well played!
mundens From: mundens Date: March 13th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I like our Air Force's motto better!

"Per Ardua Ad Astra!"
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Ardua = Kampf = Jihad. QED. <_<
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 7th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ardua = Kampf = Jihad. QED. <_<

The motto translates as "Through Adversity to the Stars"

I have no idea how you got to Jihad...
(Deleted comment)
cthulu_for_pm From: cthulu_for_pm Date: March 12th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, if all they mean is that they're in the air and the rest of you aren't...

Nah, I don't believe that, either.
kistha From: kistha Date: March 12th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep waiting for the rest of it, even with the period.

Above All.

Don't forget to wear clean underwear.


Remember to strap in!

That's just me.
kyriani From: kyriani Date: March 12th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's exactly what I thought when I saw it... "Where's the rest of the ad?"
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 13th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I've amused, or perhaps frightened, friends by ranting at billboards and such for things like this. "More people get their news from ABC." THAN FROM WHAT?! Complete the statement!
caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Much as I dislike the military, I don't see the problem. It sounds like knee-jerk outrage by people ill-informed about the German language, and I've made a comment to this effect on BB.

The problem, if there is a problem, is that the makers of the slogan failed to anticipate "knee-jerk outrage by ill-informed people" as a possible outcome, not that the slogan genuinely aims to echo some verses of the German national anthem. The USAF should know to walk on eggshells these days, they sure have fucked up a lot of things.

Hey, maybe this is a conscious misdirection? Let's get the US lefties riled up against a ridiculous non-issue so they lose credibility and have less time to address the real crimes of their soldiers? That's just devious enough to be possible.

Edited at 2008-03-13 12:54 am (UTC)
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: March 13th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes, a knee-jerk reaction, exactly

"Über alles" doesn't translate to "above all".

"Above all" doesn't have any connotations of moral superiority or manifest destiny.

It seems to me that any controversy over this slogan has less to do with the slogan and more to do with people trying too hard to find fault in a military organization that has arguably done more to promote peace and freedom than any other in history.

And besides, we all know that people who post and comment on political topics on Boing Boing tend to be goddamn communist idiots anyway. There's never been any good reason to pay attention to anything they say.

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caprinus From: caprinus Date: March 13th, 2008 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes, a knee-jerk reaction, exactly

Oh, ha ha, you lose me there by the third paragraph. ;) Unless you're being very sarcastic? But I do post on BB, and usually their Canuckistani socialist leanings stroke me just right -- guess I'm just one of them idiots! I can also think of a few good reasons to find fault with the USAF, this one just doesn't happen to be one of them, on good historical and linguistic grounds.

It's not entirely a bad thing to have a knee-jerk reaction to things, I guess; better than no nerve reflex at all.
elfs From: elfs Date: March 14th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes, a knee-jerk reaction, exactly

He's not being sarcastic; as much as I dearly love Peter, I sometimes suspect that his RSS reader has about 200 tech blogs and Lew Rockwell. There might be just a few too many red diaper trust fund babies at Reason for his taste.
mikstera From: mikstera Date: March 14th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC) (Link)

On the other hand...

it could be that people see a disturbing parallel between the look of the logo and the motto "Above All" and slogans of the past, including a comparison between "Above All" and "Uber Alles."

Does anyone still use "Communists" as an epithet? If so, how... quaint.

It's all fallout from the nightmare of an Administration we've been suffering under for the past 7+ years, the erosion of good will both within and outside the US, and a general lack of trust and suspicion of motives.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: March 14th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: On the other hand...

People still use "fascist" as an epithet on Boing Boing, and almost never correctly. Heck, there are plenty of people on Boing Boing who use "capitalist" as an insult, and most of them have probably never even met a capitalist.

But when I say there are a lot of communist idiots posting there, I'm using those terms correctly. (I really shouldn't have said "goddamn," though, since that certainly isn't a true statement.)

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From: (Anonymous) Date: March 14th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: On the other hand...

Just so we're on the same page, what's your definition of "communist idiot" ?
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: March 13th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
So? I like it. We can't insist that every ghost of every echo of one of the times that Europe tried to kill itself (and not even the most recent time they tried) must be avoided like it was some old island tribal kapu.

"Above all" is a good motto for an air force.

And black and silver are great colors for a uniform.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: March 13th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well said, agree 100%.
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: March 13th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Not Above All

Article 1, Section 8. Powers of Congress. "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;"

Article 2, Section 2. "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States."

Article 6. "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land."

Seems to me that there's a lot the Air Force had better not be above. Congress, the President, the Constitution and the Federal law would be a good start.


As John Adams was the first of many to point out, "I give you a nation of laws, not of men."
gromm From: gromm Date: March 13th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not Above All

They might not be above the law, but they'll certaily be flying over the lawmakers. :)
latheos From: latheos Date: March 16th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not Above All

Hm. I initially read that as "...but they'll certainly be flying over the lawnmowers."

And it made sense.

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From: (Anonymous) Date: January 5th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Air Force Motto

So what is it?
You said "I see the Air Force has annouced their new logo and motto."
Leave word so Googlers can find it.
33 comments or Leave a comment