Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 13, 2008

Above All

Air Force is 'Above All'

The Air Force has a new advertising campaign to recruit the next generation of Airmen as well as better inform people about the Air Force mission:

"Above All."

To me it seems like the design and slogan were stolen from this:

Germany Above All
On meaning and becoming of the German people's hymn

Heinrich Gerstenberg
Munich, German Empire, 1933

Posted by b on March 13, 2008 at 14:22 UTC | Permalink


I tell all my right-leaning acquaintances that military pilots are natural "carpetbaggers" and destined to ignore and cannibalize their own country too if they are ever in charge. I tell them you can't trust a pilot even to understand war, much less governing, and that McCain is an airman, and you can't trust him.

Amazingly, this seems to affect these 'people of the right' more strongly than anything else I say.

"Above all"...

It reeks of genocide.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 13 2008 14:48 utc | 1

I went to the link to make a comment, and read this:

The Air Force News staff publishes comments and letters based on their appeal to Air Force Link visitors. The opinions expressed in the comments or letters do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Air Force. Submit your comment or letter by completing this online form. Due to the number, not all submissions can be published. They may be edited for grammar and length. Submissions must be accompanied by a valid name, location and e-mail address (e-mails are not included in the published comment or letter).

Uber alles indeed.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 13 2008 16:39 utc | 2

Great catch b!

Posted by: beq | Mar 13 2008 16:47 utc | 3

criminals. cretins. charlatans

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 13 2008 17:41 utc | 4

Great catch and a chilling reminder. But, of course, it's a perfect slogan for these times. The war against Iran will be fought, "above all," from the air (too bad the Air Force also has to cut the Navy flyboys and cruise missile jockeys in on the action).

Come late September, the temptation to bomb Iran will become well-neigh irresistible. The attendant cheerleading from the military-industrial-neocon-media complex will spike public opinion in McCain's favor (sure buyer's remorse will set in, but only after the election). The Bush administration will -- briefly -- be seen as fighting for national security and lower oil prices. The Democrats will be in disarray, since they've never forthrightly challenged the propaganda that Iran is a rogue state and threat to our national security. And the neocons will even feel confident of success. After all, didn't Bill Clinton prove in Serbia that you could force regime change through bombing alone? And if success doesn't come fast enough, they can always amp it up and start throwing around those nuclear bunker busters. Frightening.

Posted by: Madison Guy | Mar 13 2008 17:53 utc | 5

Yes, such a motto is disgusting.

And the words below, AIR - SPACE - CYBERSPACE have implications beyond what one normally thinks of from an "airforce". These words do not relate to national borders. Very troubling.

Posted by: Rick | Mar 13 2008 18:24 utc | 6

and above all else, they are truly mad. full spectrum dimwits.

Posted by: b real | Mar 13 2008 18:39 utc | 7

The similarities seem inevitable: overtones of the Great Male Sky God cults that have plagued us since the invention of hierarchy and corvee labour; iconification of (poorly understood) charismatic predators (like hawks and eagles, wolves and tigers) as emblems of masculinist ego and righteous "natural" violence and domination; fantasies of "ultimate" power and control, of "superiority" and therefore a "right" to power and control, hence justifying the brutal violence needed to make the (always unsuccessful) bid for totalitarian control aka full-spectrum dominance. And always the fantasy of being the Chosen ones, the destined dominators, the Ultimate Empire at the end of history, Above All. Eagles, swords, clumsy phallic symbology, the whole boring nine yards.

It seems ultimately pathetic that this fantasy of Chosen-ness and Ultimate-ness, of being so totally special that it gives us the right to kill as many people as we want in order to force the world to acknowledge us as demigods and conquerors... is a fantasy so common (and sordid) -- it flourishes and fails over and over again throughout human history, leaving piles of corpses, plagues and salted fields in its wake. We are so bloody Special and Exceptional, eh? so bloody exceptional that we replicate the same damn pathologies as every other global-imperial wannabe in recorded history. It's almost Lake Wobegon stuff -- "where all of our Empires are Above All."

Dumb as yeast, that's us.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 13 2008 19:20 utc | 8

and to all the innocent third world people ripped to shreds from a safe distance by these bloody murderers, they'd just like to say in advance - "oops".

Posted by: ran | Mar 13 2008 19:53 utc | 9

De, I knew the above post was you as soon as I read the first few lines.

I'm not schooled enough in design to say much more except that the new logo kinda looks like a paper airplane, or corporal stripes (two stripes), or maybe like some kind of boy scout neckerchief with a hint of iron-cross-below-the-adam's-apple.

Anyone else have any ideas?

"Dumb as yeast!"

Posted by: jonku | Mar 13 2008 19:59 utc | 10

Wir fliegen gegen England!

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2008 20:57 utc | 11

citizen, you are right on about pilots. for them it is all about flying the airplane and hitting the target. they really don't think about what happens once the 2000 lb bomb blows up in an appartment building. Some of them openly enjoy killing and others simply don't long as they still get to feel like brave knights riding their multimillion dollar horses into battle.

for the symbol, it is not new, been around since 2000 and is a stylized version of the orignal star with wings.

as for the motto, creepy is the only word I can think of to describe it. I suppose some will try to believe it simply means that the Air Force is above all in terms of capability and skill. I reckon still others will be quite content believing that their Air Force is the biggest and baddest in the world. after all, who admires losers?

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 13 2008 21:42 utc | 12

I used to be proud of my USAF service days.
Guess I'm starting to get why pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

Posted by: Juannie | Mar 13 2008 23:04 utc | 13

I grew up on USAF bases, even had an appointment to the Academy. Explains in part why I've been in Canada for the last 40 years.

They have allegiance and emotional attachment only to their big Tonka toys. They are medically doped up in order to fly very long missions. Hence the need for aerial refueling, and consequently, the all too common mis-programming of smart bombs; weddings, allied forces, etc.

Motto of Strategic Air Command was "Peace is our Profession" - had better PR writers and graphic designers then. Agree, this logo looks very like a folded paper airplane. Maybe they'll run their ads on the cartoon channel. Some people have too much time on their hands.

Posted by: Allen/Vancouver | Mar 14 2008 3:14 utc | 14

I grew up on USAF bases, even had an appointment to the Academy. Explains in part why I've been in Canada for the last 40 years.

They have allegiance and emotional attachment only to their big Tonka toys. They are medically doped up in order to fly very long missions. Hence the need for aerial refueling, and consequently, the all too common mis-programming of smart bombs; weddings, allied forces, etc.

Motto of Strategic Air Command was "Peace is our Profession" - had better PR writers and graphic designers then. Agree, this logo looks very like a folded paper airplane. Maybe they'll run their ads on the cartoon channel. Some people have too much time on their hands.

Posted by: Allen/Vancouver | Mar 14 2008 3:52 utc | 15

Sent your blog-post to my mil contractor buddies.
Here's their epistle in reply:

"If anyone is offended by our great US Air Force,
then get out, and go back to where you came from.
There is nothing making you stay here - buy a one-
way ticket and leave. If you were born here and
dont like it - then find somewhere you like better.
If you werent born here, you don't belong here.
God Bless America."

Anyway, to honor the "Fighting 484th" spirit, here,
this battle-ready graphic for Iran carpet-bombing:
"Unsere Schwanstücke ist Grösser als Alles Gotts"

Soon our Air Force will have hypersonic cruise
missiles, able to deliver a nuke bunker buster
anywhere on the globe within 18 minutes to GZ,
and because these missiles fly in a thin band
of radar-opaque high-altitude, nobody will be
able to say whose glowing mushrooms they were.

Deniability Uber Alles

Posted by: Arnold Carlyle | Mar 14 2008 4:11 utc | 16

Heilige fliegende Kinderscheisse, Fledermausman!

@DeA--but yeast, at least, yields occasional good (what beings will get drunk on our poisons, after we hit that ethanol inhibition limit in our growth curve?):

Let's drink a toast, all those that are present, (stir the wort, and now boil it down) To the billion farting yeasties that make it effervescent!

-The Brewin' Song

Posted by: catlady | Mar 14 2008 5:45 utc | 17

That slogan will piss of the rest of the military. I have no doubt that it really means "Above All the other branches"

America's greatest protection against military coup is all the most fascist, nutcase right-wing officers are in the air force and the Air Force can't pull off a coup because F-22's and stealth bombers are about as good for doing that as they are at counter-insurgency.

I have a theory that the nutcase element of the Air Force comes from an unconcious acknowledgement that when you get right down to it the role of an Air Force officer is one of the most cowardly in human history. Of all the men and women in an Air Force only the tiniest fraction, just the pilots, are ever in actual physical danger. And in modern war even these are almost as safe as someone catching a train home at night. The epitamy of the air force today is to joy ride around in a toy that is so expensive its pilot will never be put in harms way and drop bomb's on people who can't shoot back. The machismo of the air force is a massive over compensation for fact that they know not one of them can hold a candle to the lowliest Marine or Army soldier at showing real physical courage.

Posted by: swio | Mar 14 2008 6:49 utc | 18

AC, I've heard this too, as you say your contractor friends say: "If you weren't born here, you don't belong here."

My version was that if I wasn't grateful for taking advantage of the mighty US economy I might as well get the hell out. So I did.

After the fact response is that if the US had enough people who could do what I do, why did they hire me!

I brought something to the joint, paid my taxes, saved my money and left.

Posted by: jonku | Mar 14 2008 8:03 utc | 19

Okay, now the logo looks like a mean-eyed fox or animal face. The colors blue and silver are natural military colors, blue steel.

My overall impression is that this is not a strong logo, it's too symmetrical, too spread out. I've seen many eagles and this doesn't remind me of them at all.

I am seriously interested if anyone else can comment on the graphic design.

The book cover that Bernhard posted as a comparison also seems weak to me. The original stuff was more powerful I think, not that I'm really one to judge.

Contrast these to the circular blue and white UN logo, with leaves around the globe, or for that matter heraldry that says something about the country or mission such as sheaves of wheat, ocean waves, lions rampant.

The USAF logo has only a five-pointed star and stylized wings. The pentagram has been its symbol on airplanes for decades ... I always preferred the UK's concentric circle target logo myself.

And none of these are a patch on the spray-painted graphics of the NYC art collective Guerrilla Girls, Lincoln Clarkes' continent-wide alley wall tags of broken M16s or the ubiquitous upraised fist.

Or even the four syncopated black bars of the Black Flag logo.

Posted by: jonku | Mar 14 2008 8:22 utc | 20

Nice one Bernhard, "ueber alles auf der Welt" indeed. Nazis the lot of them. To me the logo looks like a missile head with a sheriff star on it, expressing exactly their convictions, thinking they are the fuckin law authorised to bomb the unwashed masses into oblivion. The USAF's perceived relation to cyberspace escapes me tho.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 14 2008 10:12 utc | 21

"If you werent born here, you don't belong here."

So true.

Posted by: beq | Mar 14 2008 11:37 utc | 22

beq: I'm eagerly awaiting the Serb and Russian support for their independance. It would be interesting.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 14 2008 12:24 utc | 23

What does "Above All" mean?

"What brings me here," Yanar says, "it is that everybody that I love, all the people that I love have been crushed."

Posted by: citizen | Mar 14 2008 16:52 utc | 24

One of the "Above All" videos issued by the air force.

Posted by: b | Mar 14 2008 20:12 utc | 25

Alert: much boring detail. (I was compelled to look this up.)

On the US air force *recruiting site*, the emblem hovers above an earth globe, of which about an upper third is shown, featuring the US. The text below says: In a changing world, it takes Air Force dominance of air, space and cyber space to defend our nation. This is explained in vid: ...the globe spins, and the first spoken sentence is “the cold war has given way to the cyber war”...>link

The official US air force site shows the logo in abbreviated form at right. The Academy, not at all, and the Headquarters of US air force shows the airforce SEAL prominently at left, and only the shape of the ‘new’ logo at right (without text.) The air force reserves show only the shape, at left, with ‘air force reserves’ next to it. (No seal to my surprise.) Ambivalence, resistance?

-- One thing to understand is that in such emblems /symbols what is to the right side for the viewer is ‘sinister’ and what is to the left is ‘dexter’ - the emblem is traditionally constructed from the pov. of the wearer, with the symbol on the breast. This one is symmetrical so avoids all that, certainly deliberately, but the websites introduce it again, confusedly, or unintentionally, or following other conventions...

This symbol is a trademark, a registered one, see here for variants,>link- but just for the shape and not the text.

Other text is however forbidden, for those permitted to use the icon. (Compare with traditional seals, emblems, flags where text and other material are one.)

It’s iconic symbolism is a confused mish-mash. The intention is laid out by the airforce. Wings, traditional (see eagle); sphere (that is the globe earth); the 5 pointed star - turned into “our active duty, civilians, Guard, Reserve and retirees.”; and its star like quality, in space, dominating; the 3 diamonds represent ‘core values’ - integrity, service, excellence.

To sum up, the visual or iconic aspects are muted, weak, clumsy, meaningless today - the airforce intentions are not visible, only the wings, hardly glorious ones, and possibly a ‘star’ or a ‘5 pointed star’ will be perceived; the colors are traditional and not set - it can appear in black, etc.

Overall, it resembles, in its planning, its graphics, its branding, its flexible rendition, its lack of icon/text relation, a very poor corporate logo. The kind designed by an overpaid in-house committee.

The semantic component. The AF’s Above is explicilty related to space, or spatial dimensions (in the sky, above the earth, wide / distant / global view-point) and control, action, domination from that position. The references are material, direct, pragmatic. It bears no or few traces of nationalism, of ideology, politics. In short, it is a PNAC logo, yet constructed to be acceptable to all.

see also:>af mil heraldry

Posted by: Tangerine | Mar 17 2008 13:13 utc | 26

swio, right about pissing off other branches.
Tangerine, right about resistance.
according to>3-30 Sunday LA Times.

Seems Air Force has no recruiting problems, and some in DC charge that the new AF uber alles recruitment drive is actually a covert lobbying campaign, which would be illegal.

... in Congress and the Pentagon, many believe that the new Air Force ads are less about recruiting and more about lobbying for extra money.

Some Pentagon officials are asking why the Air Force needs recruiting ads, since the service has no trouble meeting its recruiting goals and is supposed to be downsizing, not growing.

The slogan also puzzles some military officials. One Defense official said "Above All" evoked the phrase "uber alles" from the national anthem used by Nazi Germany...

"AF officers" provide LAT with one lovely, nonsense detail:
... Air Force officers said they brought in German language experts to make sure the "Above All" catchphrase did not evoke the words "uber alles" with German speakers.
What is a "German language expert"? Not b, evidently.

Posted by: small coke | Mar 31 2008 23:37 utc | 27

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