Thursday's illustrated op-ed is all about making arguments about warriors calibrated to sway peaceniks. Author Robert Kaplan enumerates the ways that the war on terrorism and humanitarian missions are mutually reinforcing activities for the Navy and the Marines, who are simultaneously getting better at killing and at saving lives. Illustrator George Bates reflects this argument marvelously, through a sort of detournement of iconography associated with the peace movement. He forms a battleship out of soldiers, rendered in a neo-primitivist style and in various emblematic poses, some warlike and some peaceful. In the gaps between the figures, he draws symbols of the abundant food, water and supplies that are central to the U.S. military's public image as well as its functioning. The focal point of the image, though, is a giant, up-armored hand reaching out from the ship where the big gun should be. That hand references other helping hands on a million '60s peace posters, as well as, less directly, the icon of the flower in the gun barrel. Completing the picture is the smaller hand of a drowning person/community, shooting out of the water in a desperate gesture that looks absurdly like an attempted shake. The whole image telegraphs what I reluctantly find to be the best argument for continuing present levels of defense funding: guided by policies I hate, the troops are doing some right things and some things that must be done. One of the best illos I've blogged so far.