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TIME's Person of the Year

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
http://www.time.com/time/personofthe...003/story.html

This year TIME has chosen the American soldier. I often question their choices, and was a bit afraid that Saddam Hussein would be picked, but this year, with U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, armed forces personnel should be honored. I only wish that the soldiers from other countries risking, and often losing, their lives in these conflicts had also been honored. Why not something like "Coalition Forces"?
post #2 of 29
I don't pay attention to TIME's person of the year. The reson for this is that TIME as an organisation can't choose the person who they see as being the most influential person in a chosen year.

For 2003, it certainly wasn't the American soldier. It wasn't the coalition.

In my opinion, it should have gone to George Bush Jr and not for any glorious or just reason, but for making the world a more dangerous place to live in.

Sure, people will be offended by my opinion, but the conflict in Iraq has not eased tensions about terrorism, it has only served to heighten them.

Just my two cents.
post #3 of 29
I don't think it should have been the American "soldier." There are also Marines, sailors, and flyers. Soldier is usually associated with the Army, and they were not the only ones there. We lost 23 Marines in just one company from Camp Le Juene.
And, yes, there were the coalition forces, whose lives and service were equally important. I agree that they should have been included, but Time is an American publication, and chose to include only Americans. I have not yet read the article, so cannot comment on content.
post #4 of 29
I feel bad for the american soldiers and their blind obedience. But I guess that's what they are prized for.
Aside from that, a "person of the year" shouldn't be an abstract generalization. It should be an individual who made choices.

And hey, A_Loveless_Gem.... you go girl :P
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by krazy kat2
I don't think it should have been the American "soldier." There are also Marines, sailors, and flyers. Soldier is usually associated with the Army, and they were not the only ones there. We lost 23 Marines in just one company from Camp Le Juene.
And, yes, there were the coalition forces, whose lives and service were equally important. I agree that they should have been included, but Time is an American publication, and chose to include only Americans. I have not yet read the article, so cannot comment on content.
The article explains that "soldier" is used to describe all branches of the military, and that the suggestion came from Donald Rumsfeld, who proposed "the American volunteer".
Mags, Bush was probably "out of bounds" because 2004 is an election year, and he could have exploited the "honor" in his campaign. But I agree with you.
post #6 of 29
From the text of the article it seems the editors of Time included the fighting forces of all the services, not just the US Army. As with any organization, group, or individual, Time is perfectly entitled to choose whomever they wish. Some of their past choices have been rather controversial. Here are some notable examples:

1938 - Adolf Hitler
1939 - Joseph Stalin
1942 - Joseph Stalin (again)
1979 - Ayatullah Khomeini (their most controversial selection)
1982 - The Computer (not even a person!)
1988 - Endangered Earth (again, not a person!)

Other trivia:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was chosen three times, several people twice.

Their man of the century, Albert Einstein, was never chosen as man of the year.

Time began selecting a "man of the year" in 1927. Charles Lindbergh was chosen that first year.

Quote:
George Bush Jr and not for any glorious or just reason, but for making the world a more dangerous place to live in.
Personally I strongly believe the exact opposite is true. The efforts of Mr. Bush's and his administration have made the world a SAFER place, though there is clearly a long way to go.

Then again, it's the forces with "boots on the ground" that really enforce policy. These young people are to be admirabled in their courage, dedication, and through their valiant efforts. CNN just aired a special about the Time Magazine selection. They showed a number of remarkable stories of US military personnel which never got play in the main press. I applaud this year's selection.

George
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Lynx
I feel bad for the american soldiers and their blind obedience. But I guess that's what they are prized for.
HAving served my country for 20 years, my sons serving their country as we speak, my father and his father before him having served on the battle fields of nations not thier own while the blood of friends and enemies alike ran underfoot, I cannot, for the life of me, adequately express my shock at this statement.

Perhaps I just misunderstood the meaning...... somehow I doubt it though.
post #8 of 29
Ken,
I must whole heartedly agree with you. I found it rather insulting to our military personnel myself. I composed a long response, but felt it to nasty to post, so I decided to back off and calm down. My nephew just returned from Iraq, where he and another young man are the only two from his squad to survive. He has been recommended for the Bronze Star. Our military has some of the finest young people in the world serving in it. My uncles had walking tours of Pacific islands and Europe in the early 1940's. My father visited Asia in 1951 (Korea.) My wife's brother retired from the navy a couple of years ago after 24 years of service. I am proud of them all, and all of the people who have served this country. Thank you, your sons, and your family for your service. People sure seem to forget that the only reason they are able to speak freely is because of all the people that have fallen, and all those that still stand up, to protect those freedoms.

George
post #9 of 29
Okay, okay, I should rephrase that. I met a group of american soldiers about a month ago and they told me that they didn't care what the job was or the reason why. One said "just tell me where to drop the bombs and I'll do it," and the others all nodded. Not all soldiers are like this, but I'm sure there are examples like that from ANY country. I shouldn't have based my comment on that silly group. Soldiers have a job I don't envy, and that's risking their lives for the safety of the majority. American soldiers do much riskier work than Canadian soldiers do, and I recognize that I owe my personal safety and quality of life to their sacrifices. I'm personally not a fan of preemptive violence, I think it breeds an attitude of hatred and intolerance. My distaste for this type of war is what spurred my comment and I now recognize that what I said wasn't fully thought out. I apologize for insulting you.
I still think that a person of the year should be an individual, recognizing someone's difficult personal choices. Not "The computer," or "Endangered Earth" or "The American Soldier."
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lynx
I still think that a person of the year should be an individual, recognizing someone's difficult personal choices. Not "The computer," or "Endangered Earth" or "The American Soldier."
I have problems with the first two, but not with the latter. I think the idea was to focus not on the various branches of the service as institutions, but on the fact that servicemen and women are individuals, each with their own reasons for joining up, and each making their own personal sacrifices. Having grown up in the Vietnam era, and seeing the daily "body counts", I think it's important to realize that there are real people out there, with families, friends, pets, hobbies, etc., risking their lives, being wounded, and dying.
TIME is an American magazine, but it prides itself on taking an international approach, witnessed by the fact that it has different editions covering various geographical regions. For example, because I live in Germany, I get the "European edition", with more coverage of EU affairs. I therefore find it an affront to the military personnel of other countries who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq to just honor the "American soldier".
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Lynx
I feel bad for the american soldiers and their blind obedience.
Maybe I'm naive, but wouldn't ANY soldier obey their commanding officer no matter what country they come from?? I can't see an army working very efficiently if every command was discussed and questioned. That would be chaos. And in a war, thats a good way to get killed.
post #12 of 29
Well Sweets, that was my point. I feel bad for them going to die without often knowing what their mission is, just directly obeying the orders. I said American Soldiers because that's what this discussion is concerning.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Sweets
Maybe I'm naive, but wouldn't ANY soldier obey their commanding officer no matter what country they come from?? I can't see an army working very efficiently if every command was discussed and questioned. That would be chaos. And in a war, thats a good way to get killed.
I understand what you're saying, but that gets me back on the subject of "blind patriotism", which is one of my pet peeves. Suppose a majority of the Japanese servicemen had decided to disobey Hirohito's orders, or that members of the Wehrmacht had refused to implement Hitler's plans to conquer Europe (those who disobeyed or deserted were executed), or that German police officiers, civil servants, railroad workers, etc. had refused to be a part of the "Final Solution" (euphemism for the Holocaust)? That would have been the right thing to do, wouldn't it? I would like to think that a soldier's obedience hinged on the morality/necessity of the C.O.'s orders.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Sweets
Maybe I'm naive, but wouldn't ANY soldier obey their commanding officer no matter what country they come from?? I can't see an army working very efficiently if every command was discussed and questioned. That would be chaos. And in a war, thats a good way to get killed.
No, you're not naive.. not at all..


Quote:
Originally posted by jcat
I would like to think that a soldier's obedience hinged on the morality/necessity of the C.O.'s orders.
We would all like to think that, fortunately there are measures in place to protect service people who are ordered to do something illegal, but even then, I must admit, sometimes those measures don't work, luckily that doesn't happen often. Unfortunately, we (the military) are a cross section of society, with all the same personality types to deal with as the rest of the world. As for blind patriotism, we try, very hard to give as big a picture as possible, sometimes it isn't possible. I've always lead people with the philosophy that if you explain to them what the deal is when you have time (no matter what it is), they will ask for no explination when there is no time for it. You wouldn't beleive the number of times I've had to explain to someone how cleaning the head or the hanger bay everyday is helping the mission, but that's okay, because it's the same people who, if I had to tell them, would close a hatch on a flooding compartment with 20 people in it, in order to save hundreds. Never even blink an eye in question, because they would know had I time to explain it, I would.
post #15 of 29
Being part of a military unit doesn't afford each soldier the luxury of taking a poll on every decision. Soldiers are trained in a very specific manner and for very specific reason. That's why the military works.
post #16 of 29
Years ago I worked on an army base in Germany. I found that the vast majority of the soldiers knew what was going on and were well aware of the pros and cons of their mission. Very few of the soldiers were the blindly patriotic fools who turned off their brains and performed like robots. In fact, the officers and enlisted men alike found these "blind" soldiers to be the most risky ones to have around. These soldiers are the ones who freak out and accidently cause harm to the others if their leader is disabled.

So...although I met a couple of pretty scary guys when I was on the base, the vast majority were thinking men (I worked with MOSs that didn't have women) who were able to understand the rationale behind commands even though they may not know all of the details.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Your explanations make perfect sense to me, particularly because I come from a military background (Marine Corps most of the way, with some "dissidents" who decided to go into the Air Force or Navy), but I've lived half my life in Germany, where things obviously went wrong in a big way. I guess I have a tendency to categorize things: defensive wars, like WWI, WWII and Afghanistan, wars of assistance, like Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Gulf War I, and wars of aggression, like Iraq (I hate the term "pre-emptive"). You may very well disagree with me, but for the first time since I became eligible to vote (in 1975), I've felt that the government has done its best to manipulate public opinion to achieve its personal aims. I sense that many people in the current administration have financial interests or want to carry out personal vendettas (here I would include Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz [a nightmare], and Rice). Many Americans have the attitude that they were attacked, so any response is justified and reasonable. The Bush administration has used this attitude to curtail human rights, ignore international law, and impose its will on other sovereign states. The result is that other countries, many of which are no less democratic or jeopardized than the U.S., feel that they are being bullied ("My ---- is bigger than yours!). The U.S is the sole superpower at the moment, and seems to delight in flexing its muscles, but what's going to happen a couple of decades from now? China and India are far more populous, and China, at least, is experiencing far greater economic growth. Sorry, but I feel that the Bush administration is very short-sighted.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by jcat
I've felt that the government has done its best to manipulate public opinion to achieve its personal aims. I sense that many people in the current administration have financial interests or want to carry out personal vendettas (here I would include Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz [a nightmare], and Rice).
Sadly I must agree with you.


Quote:
The result is that other countries, many of which are no less democratic or jeopardized than the U.S., feel that they are being bullied ("My ---- is bigger than yours!).
Agree with this as well.

Although I agree with most of what you said in this last post, I think this is a very different issue than that of our service men and women being selected as person of the year. Our enlisted service members and their officers have performed admirably even if the administration which runs the country has not (IMO).
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yes, you're right - I was definitely getting off the topic. I agree - the military has been doing a very difficult job extremely well.
post #20 of 29
Since we've gotten a bit off topic anyway...

I will say, without reservation, or hesitation, that the military a big stick of the political arm, always has been, always will be.

And it's ALWAYS been about money, one way or the other, that's what it comes down to. Protecting America's interests abroad is not making sure that tourists get the deals on travel (sarcastic I know), but how ANYTHING that goes on in the world will affect OUR economy or our long range plans for our economy.
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Imagyne
Since we've gotten a bit off topic anyway...

I will say, without reservation, or hesitation, that the military a big stick of the political arm, always has been, always will be.

And it's ALWAYS been about money, one way or the other, that's what it comes down to. Protecting America's interests abroad is not making sure that tourists get the deals on travel (sarcastic I know), but how ANYTHING that goes on in the world will affect OUR economy or our long range plans for our economy.
You're probably right, though I personally would substitute "most of the time" for "always". I've generally thought that the Korean and Vietnam Wars were extensions of the Cold War - did the U.S. have any financial interests there, other than the vague hope of future markets for U.S goods? My dad and one of his brothers (USMC) were Korean War veterans, and they always said that they were there to fight Communism. I literally grew up with the Vietnam War, and I still remember all the talk of the "domino effect". And I can't recognize any economic motives for getting involved in Somalia (under George H.W. Bush - I believe he was the one who committed U.S. troops to the humanitarian mission), Bosnia or Kosovo (under Clinton).
post #22 of 29
It's interesting, of the 77 Time 'Person of the Year' selections,
29 have been non-Americans, or shared a cover with an American. (There were only a few of the latter.) In 4 decades, non-Americans were featured in at least half of the choices. Given that most American presidents got picked at least once,except for poor Gerald Ford, the non-American representation seems pretty high, despite it being an American publication. One year, Hungarian Freedom Fighters were selected.


(I'm not making any point here, lol.)

To whomever mentioned that 'soldier' equates in most people's mind to the Army, as a civilian with no military connections whatsoever, to me 'soldier' encompasses all of the armed forces.

I remember that in 2000, A&E had a countdown of the most influential person of the Millenium. I was very pleased with myself: I decided it had to be Johannes Gutenberg, as the person attributed to have invented the moveable type press (although there is some controversy over that fact), although I was worried that they might select Hitler. Once they passed him (somewhere in the top 5 I think) I knew my man was going to make it lol.
post #23 of 29
I remember the show with the selection of Gutenberg as person of the millenium. Very nicely done, and I do agree with that selection. As for the controversy, while the Chinese technically did invent movable type printing press, it had never progressed to the point it was either practical or usable. Gutenberg's press was both and was a quantum leap forward from anything that was created before him.

George
post #24 of 29
I question the "blind obedience" comment. Actually, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a soldier is not supposed to obey an order, that he knows is illegal. For instance, if he/she was ordered to shoot an unarmed POW, the soldier would be obligated to respectfully refuse to obey.

It must be pointed out, that the military is not a democracy. It could not operate properly, if it had to stop and take a vote or a poll, before every operation. Soldiers and Marines gripe about close-order drill but, it trains them to obey an order, with split-second timing. In a combat situation, this very well could save your life and/or that of your buddies.

A lot of times, they don't know all of the reasons WHY they're being ordered to do something but they are willing to accept that there IS a good reason and carry out those orders.

One other thing to remember, about our military: every one of them is there, because he/she wants to be. Unlike most of the forces, that we've fought against, in recent years, ours is an all-volonteer military. No one has a gun pointed at our forces BACKS, forcing them into battle and none of them are young children, kidnapped and turned into killers.

All of us here should be mighty grateful, that someone is willing to go out and do the dirty work, for us so that we CAN sit in front of computers and speak our minds freely.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by CharmsDad
I remember the show with the selection of Gutenberg as person of the millenium. Very nicely done, and I do agree with that selection. As for the controversy, while the Chinese technically did invent movable type printing press, it had never progressed to the point it was either practical or usable. Gutenberg's press was both and was a quantum leap forward from anything that was created before him.

George
Their forum posters at the time who seemed to be the most perturbed by the selection were people who kept insisting that the most influential person of the millenium was Jesus. Periodically, someone would patiently explain that the 'candidates' were people who lived during the second millenium, which Jesus did not. Curiously, I don't think they ever did a show on the most influential people of the last 2000 years.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Their forum posters at the time who seemed to be the most perturbed by the selection were people who kept insisting that the most influential person of the millenium was Jesus.
When I started watching the show my first gut reaction was they would pick Jesus, then it quickly dawned on me that, as you mentioned, he didn't live in the last millenium and I felt quite silly for even thinking it.

I had picked two of the top five right from the start (Martin Luther and Isaac Newton) but had not actually though of Gutenberg until they were in the top 10 and I realized he hadn't been mentioned. While the order of many of their selections seemed rather odd to me, in hindsight I believe he is the obvious choice for the number one slot.

George
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by CharmsDad
When I started watching the show my first gut reaction was they would pick Jesus, then it quickly dawned on me that, as you mentioned, he didn't live in the last millenium and I felt quite silly for even thinking it.

George
They probably didn't do a person of the 2000 years (give or take a few calender adjustments) because I think it would have to have been
Jesus Christ, & perhaps they didn't want to get into it. (Although A&E and Biography have produced several programs about Jesus from different perspectives that managed to be dignified and quite interesting.) Then there would have been an argument on the part of some as to whether Jesus was a person or deity. I can see this discussion enfolding in the A&E editorial boardroom, and ending pretty quickly lol.
post #28 of 29
Well it was the start of a new millenium, and looking back on the last one seems a rather natural thing to do.

A look back to select the top 100 people of all times might bring up some interesting views. A good argument could made for quite a few individuals to be the number one selection, though I'm sure personal political or religious views would weight quite heavily in anyone's selections.

George
post #29 of 29
If not for Gutenberg and the wide-spread dissemination of printed materiel, very few people would have heard of the other people on the list. Prior to Gutenberg, books were too expensive for most people to afford. A quicker, cheaper method of printing paved the way for more people to learn to read.
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